Friday, March 12, 2010

Social Loafing

Social loafing is a factor that is apparent in many group projects. Social loafing is when an individual chooses to put forth less effort as the group size increases. Social loafing can affect group effectiveness and synergy. Laboratory studies show theories of why social loafing is present in group environments. The three theories is that “the task is perceived to be unimportant, simple, or not interesting, group members thought their individual output was not identifiable, and that group members expected their coworkers to loaf.” Management techniques can avoid social loafing to be present within a group. In addition, the stepladder technique can rid social loafing by increasing each individual’s personal effort and their accountability.

In the article, “Social Loafing” provides additional ways to prevent social loafing in groups. In addition to increasing accountability, peer evaluation or writing a team contract will allow team members to put forth effort. It is important to identify who will implement these measures for the group. “A functional manager will not have sufficient authority due to the fact that team members can be from different departments.” Using a project manager or team leader will allow this approach to be efficient because they will have basic knowledge of organizational behavior. What I learned from this article is that the key to avoid social loafing is not to develop a sense of community in the group, but to define individual tasks.

Kreitner, Robert. Organizational Behavior. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership E-zine. 2 Sept. 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. .


  1. This can happen in any and all groups. Often people will not speak up in fear of being wrong even though the real answer is apparent. Many do not realize how much Society encourages social loafing. The media tries to make you believe that if you get their product or use this service it will make you a better, cooler, well-liked person.

  2. I agree with Derica in many senses. Having been a part of groups where social loafing was common, I know how frustrating it can be. I believe having well-communicating group is a great counter to social loafing. Especially a strong leader who can keep each member doing their part. Although sometimes, like Derica said, a member may not contribute as much because they are discouraged by their team, especially when the team is growing in size. People just need to support their team and make a not of it to push everyone to contribute.