Social Loafing

Topics: Psychology, Sociology, Social loafing Pages: 2 (683 words) Published: September 22, 2013
There is an old proverb that everybody's business is nobody's business. It describes a story about three monks. A young monk lives in a simple life in a temple on the top of a hill. He has one daily task of hauling two buckets of water up the hill. He tries to share the job with another monk, but the carry pole is only long enough for one bucket. The arrival of a third monk prompts everyone to expect that someone else will take on the chore. However, when the old monk of the temple make a decision which indicates that they need take turn to do the chore, all of them have the excuse for not haul the water. Consequently, no one fetches water though everybody is thirsty. The phenomenon of the story is an extreme example of social loafing. Social loafing is the tendency for people to exert less effort when they pool their efforts toward a common goal than when they are individually accountable (Myers, 2013). There are two reasons that cause social loafing. One is the sense of unfairness. People like to chase a balance between give and take. Employees seek to maintain equity between the inputs that they bring to a job and the outcomes that they receive from it against the perceived inputs and outcomes of others (Adams, 1965). If they feel unfair they will be more likely to be less motivated and exert less effort. The second reason is diffusion of responsibility. When people cooperate with others, they will feel less responsibility and have the tendency to let others complete the task especially when the group is large. As a result, people will make less effort. Social loafing will reduce productivity and affect the motivation of the employees; therefore, how to avoid social loafing has become a big issue in the organization. There are some suggestions. Firstly, make people know they are evaluated individually and their reward is related to their own performance, which can reduce the sense of unfairness in some way. Secondly, People in groups loaf less when the task...

References: Adams, J.S. (1965). Inequity in social exchange. Adv. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 62:335-343.
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1997). The effects of group cohesiveness on social loafing and compensation. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 1, 156–168.
Myers, D. G. (2013). Social Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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