Working In Groups And Social Loafing

1951 words - 8 pages

Social loafing is the effect that people will exert less effort if they are working in a collective environment. Working in groups is an integral part of everyday life because it happens in almost every context whether it is sports teams, organizational groups, project groups and even juries. Therefore it is important to understand the underlying factors that influence this construct. The current research composed of 20 participants, investigated the social loafing effect of two working conditions: Coactive and Collective. It was hypothesized that collective groups would have significantly lower scores than coactive and the results supported this prediction strongly as there was a significant difference between the groups. These results have a strong implication that collective work teams are usually more prone to social loafing however; this could be minimized if certain factors such as interaction and complexity of the task were incorporated.

The extent to which Social Loafing occurs for participants completing a brainstorming task Coactively or Collectively
Social loafing is the effect of people exerting less effort when they are working collectively than when they are working coactively (Brickner et al., 1986). The effect of social loafing can occur in many contexts that can be reflected in tasks that require physical effort, cognitive effort and vigilance (Brickner et al., 1986). Létane (1979) suggested that social loafing is mediated by the equal distribution of effort and responsibility amongst a group task performance setting, thus participants held a mindset that they can “hide in the crowd” to avoid the blame for slacking off or even “blending in with the crowd” where they are unable to claim their credit of work. This proposal is consistent with various studies that came to similar conclusions, however it is important to note that the results may vary depending on the conditions.
Many researches on this topic have been examined to identify the factors associated with social loafing specifically in areas including sports teams, organizational committees and juries (Karau & Williams, 1993). Therefore it is important to understand the factors that motivate or demotivate individuals in those contexts in order to improve the collective outcomes that could generally be critiqued as unreliable or invalid due to the social loafing effect. Previous studies have indicated that the type of cognitive task performed mediates the effect social loafing. For example in challenging tasks that involved brainstorming or generating an ideas, the work teams had an opportunity to contribute their own unique ideas that made it more likely that they suffered consequences of social loafing (Robbins, 1995). Personal involvement has been said to mediate the effects of social loafing. This is a situation where the subjects have intrinsic value or personal meaning that play an important role in the participants lives (Brickner et al., 1986) As a...

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