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When a person works in a team then the major advantages is that all the knowledge and experience from a broad level of sources can collectively contribute towards the team’s work. Through this the team can make more comprehensive decisions and achieve the goals which the individuals will not be able in achieving alone. But there is a phenomenon that can gives negative influence to the effort of an individuals and hat can be known as social loafing. According to Karau & Williams in 1993, individuals perceiving their effort as meaningless when they are working in the team, as their effort cannot be personally recognised as the results of the project is collective.
So, here Social loafing explains that the individual puts less effort after being in a group as compare to when they work individually. According to Blackburn, 2007 social loafing can be defined as the tendency to exert less effort on a task when working as part of a cooperative group than when working on one’s own.
Social loafing was termed by French agricultural engineer Maximilien Ringelmann (1861″1931).Max Ringelmann has conducted one experiments on social loafing in 1913. In his research, he has asked the students to pull rope individually as well as by being in the group. Through this experiment he has found that people makes less efforts when they perform in a group as compare to the when they have to work individually. Later in 1974 few researchers have replicated the study with few changes.Example of Social LoafingA very good example of social loafing can be extracted from our daily life is:Imagine a teacher has given a project on a particular topic to the group of 8 students.
As work has to be done in a group so due to social loafing there is a tendency that few students will put less effort in the project. Here, instead of taking their responsibility they will think that other members of group will take care of it. Or on the other hand when group thinks that someone will take care of it and at the end one student will end up doing the entire project. So here, we can see social loafing in our class.Case study of Air miss incident :On 25th November 1985, there was an Air miss incident happened at Auckland Airport, New Zealand. There Social loafing behaviour was observed where information was not passed by the operational staff. The information about circuit training did not passed from the tower controllers to the approach controllers. Here every controller thought that the others will pass the information as responsibility was shared by many people. And due to this no one has passed the information and Air miss incident has happened.CausesWe all might have faced this phenomenon of social loafing at some point of our life or on the other hand we may have performed social loafing by being in a group. But there can be few causes for social loafing and these are: Motivation: Motivation plays a very important role in social loafing. If a person is less motivated to do a task then he may be more likely to involve in social loafing when they are a part of a group. Diffusion of responsibility: When people assume that their efforts will not matter and they are not personally responsible for the group work. Due to this, they also assume that someone will do the complete work. Group size: Group size also has some impact on the social loafing. In smaller group people put more efforts as they consider their work as their responsibility while in large group many individuals will think that others can do their work. Expectations: Expectations can also have some effect on group performance. If a person expects from others that they will not put much effort to do work then the person itself will not put much effort to do work.PreventionIt is difficult to prevent Social loafing in a group but there are few ways to minimize the effects of social loafing and these can be: By creating small groups and developing standard rules, assigning responsibilities based on individuals capabilities and skills. By personalizing the group, encouraging them for being loyal and honest in the group regarding group work.Researches done and further studies that has to be done on Social loafing.Study done by Latane, Williams, and Harkins in 1979 and in 1985 by Jackson and Harkins suggested that may be it is not true that social loafing is entirely bad. Here the study has found that social loafing can help an employee to save their energy so that when they work individually they will not lose their energy. Bluhm has proposed his study in 2009 where he has said that working in a group can help an individual because there will be less stress to the employees and there will be more stress when they work individually. His paper has encouraged the future research on social loafing. As it is being mentioned in the study of Latene and William as well as in Bluhm that social loafing can be helpful for an employee but there is a need of research to be done to see social loafing as a positive behaviour and an adaptive trait in different circumstances as they have done only on employees.In 2005 one study has been done where the study has found that group performance can also be affected by group size. Here, in this study they have seen that people put much effort when they are in smaller group and when people are there in larger group they just feel pressure to look busy even when they are not doing any work. So here there is a need to research on how to prevent this behaviour to happen. Further more studies can also be done on how to make an individual feel that their work is visible to others and the concept of self- evaluation for implementation.According to the study conducted by Liden et al in 2004 says that if the size of the group increases then the cohesiveness of the group decreases and social loafing increases. They also mentioned in their study that social loafing will happens where there is low intrinsic motivation. Some other interesting facts mentioned by Karau and Williams (1993) are such as social loafing is more common among men and more likely to occur in groups with participants from individualist-Western cultures than for participants from collectivist-Eastern or oriental cultures. So, Here to generalise the findings few more researches to be done on larger scale among different cultures as they have only focused only on 2 cultures.Study done by Alnuaimi, Robert, and Maruping in 2010 shows that Technology has changed the dynamic of working in groups at workplace. They have focused on technology-supported teams and social loafing. They have said that there are three primarily causes for social loafing and these can be diffusion of responsibility, attribution of blame, and dehumanization. The findings also support this statement and based on their findings they hoped that their study will be encouraged by other researchers to look into this study for more closely related further studies by making some changes accordingly. As many international companies have increased their usage of technology in order to support team to work on a particular or special projects, or even for day to day activities. So, because of the changing in business environment, there is a need of further studies in social loafing in these specialised groups and it can also be studied in further studies that how technology can affect social loafing for different individuals among different cultures. In 1983, Kerr Gender has done studies on the roles of gender in social loafing. He has found that male participants loaf more as compare to the female participants. Their findings were supported by Kugihara (1999) by showing that females loafed less than males. Study done by Stark, Shaw, and Duff in 2007 has found different levels of loafing in genders. In some researches like done by Jackson & Harkins in 1985 they have only used one gender. So here there is a need of additional research and propositions on genders regarding social loafing and how different genders try to minimize the social loafing.CONCLUSION When a person works in a group then there are chances for him to work hard as well as there are chances of him not doing any work and just assuming that others will do his/her work. So here it can be known as social loafing. And it can be seen that social loafing has been evolved over many years as first researchers only wanted to prove that social loafing behaviour exist in some particular type of activities. Later based on the findings they started focusing on other behaviours also by saying that social loafing does not occur only for physical activity like rope pulling but it can also be seen during clapping, cheering, it can also be seen in cognitive group tasks, like writing and editing a poem. After this, researchers has focused on different factors that can cause social loafing like group size, fatigue, task difficulty and etc. There are few studies that showed the social loafing as positive as well as negative and a kind of social disease according to Latane in 1979. Other than this there are so many researches that have been done on social loafing but there are many things which are still unanswered and should be studied further like how social loafing can be seen as positive behaviour and adaptive trait in different circumstances, doing few more researches on how social loafing can be seen among different cultures. It can also be focused in further studies that how technology plays a role in social loafing and one more thing that should be studied in further researches is to find that teams that use only email and chat to communicate with others are more to loaf or the employees who use video conferencing or Skype are tend to loaf more. Other than this some additional researches should be done on social loafing among gender differences at larger scale and age can also be considered as a factor to research on social loafing. And others than the furthers researches to be done, in my opinion social loafing should be minimised through different ways like loafing will be less if a person is aware that his output can be measured by the person in charge, or if a person feels that their work can be seen and appreciated by others and by looking at their teammates doing their work sincerely can also help an individual to do his work as his responsibility. Other than this if we form smaller group instead of larger ones than there is a possibility of less social loafing to occur. So, social loafing can be seen as positive as well as negative according to various studies that has been conducted but there is a need of further more researches in order to explore more about social loafing and it will be better to find different ways to reduce the occurring of social loafing at different situations.REFERENCES Alnuaimi, O. A., Robert, L. P., & Maruping, L. M. (2010). Team Size, Dispersion, and Social Loafing in Technology-Supported Teams: A Perspective on the Theory of Moral Disengagement. Journal of Management Information Systems, 27(1), 203-230. BLACKBURN, S. (Ed.) (2007) The oxford dictionary of philosophy. Oxford University Press (New York, USA), 2007 Bluhm, D. J. (2009). Adaptive Consequences of Social Loafing. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 1-6.The Ringelmann Effect: Studies of Group Size and Group Performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 10(4), 371-384.
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