A Business Encyclopedia

Social Loafing

Definition: The Social Loafing is the tendency of an individual to put less effort into the job when he is a part of the group, as compared to when he is working alone.

The concept of social loafing can be further comprehended through a “free rider effect” and the “sucker effect”. The former effect is based on an individual’s assumption that, if he does not perform his task, any other member will cover that loss on his behalf. Whereas, the sucker effect asserts that the members who are giving their 100% would reduce their efforts, due to the attitude of the free riders in the group.

Generally, the groups are formed to capitalize the skills and experience of all the members, which may help in the accomplishment of a task more effectively. But, some members do not participate effectively and thinks that their efforts will not matter to the group, and hence exert less effort in the task.

Ringelmann’s Rope Pulling experiment is the best example to explain the concept of social loafing more precisely. In his experiment, he asked participants to pull the rope, both individually and in a group. He observed that more efforts were exerted by an individual when he was pulling the rope individually, as compared to when the rope was pulled in a group.

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