Purpose This study seeks to fill a gap by investigating the moderating effects of LOC on each model path across internals and externals. Design/methodology/approach The sample comprised 242 professional staff across a wide range of departments of a large organization in metropolitan Taipei, Taiwan. Following data collection, structural equation modeling is applied to conduct data analysis for confirmatory factor analysis. Findings Test results indicate that global job satisfaction influences turnover intentions and organizational commitment is more for internals than externals. Organizational commitment influences turnover intentions similarly for both internals and externals. Furthermore, the influence of perceived job stress on job satisfaction and organizational commitment is stronger for externals than internals. Finally, leadership support influences job satisfaction more for internals than externals. Practical implications Support for the proposed model provides encouragement for health care leaders interested in creating stable and low turnover environments that benefit both employees and organizations. Creating enhanced work environments that strengthen leadership support for employees acting on their own expert judgment and relieving job stress are essential for fostering job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Moreover, boosting job satisfaction and organizational commitment will ultimately lead to reduced turnover intentions. Originality/value This study suggests that employees differ in terms of their locus of control, and that the differences are manifested in perceptions of job stress and leadership support.