Social Loafing

Due to the modern environment, organizations are adopting a structure of operations that is team based. Such a structural approach is used by various corporations to tackle the challenges and associated problems or issues therein. The success stories of the team based approach include the story of Hallmark that had a 200 percent reduction in the design time. This similarly allowed for the new introduction of 23,000 brand new card lines within a single year.  However, in emphasizing the team based approaches, there exist other important factors that can result in a positive effect for the team functions and their cohesiveness to be appropriately affected. This is called social loafing. Social loafing is a scenario where the members of a team apply little effort as compared to when they operate as single individuals.  Social loafing has commonly occurred in large teams starting from three individuals. All teams experience the elements of social loafing in one way or another and, in most instances, social loafing happens in a high functioning or dysfunctional environment. Social loafing has become a substantial issue in various organizations because members of a team tend to minimize their contributions to the work groups, so when a team member does not gain recognition in the contributions process all group members lack the motivation to satisfy their maximum capacity.

Members of a Team Tend to Minimize their Contributions to the Work Groups

Research has revealed that the combination of team performance tends to amass little effort by the individuals in comparison to when such personalities operate alone. As a result, the social loafer in the team has the capacity to obtain the profits from the work done by other members without having to input any of their potential contribution to the work success. The outcome or productivity generated by the operations of the groups as a whole irrespective of their inputs has to be equally divided among the members. This leaves the loafers and the free riders to benefit in the same measure from the group’s performance. Social loafing has become a considerable issue in various organizations because the members of a team have a feeling that their efforts would definitely go to waste anyway.


Social loafing does not assist a person inside an organization especially the workforce and the management that form such an organizational unit. The management can witness such occurrences of social loafing inside teams to be the utmost result that can be at a set substandard and would not attain its maximum capacity. If a team includes social loafers, it could lead to side effects among other group members of such a team. As a result, other issues inside the business where there is conflict among the employees can cause depressions, lack of satisfaction from the work done, and disappointments. Such outcomes will appear bad in contrast with the non-social loafers inside the team. 

Administration of small groups would similarly assist in the management of a person’s accountability through the allocation of tasks to the members by actively focusing on set due deadlines to accomplish the stipulated activities. In such occasions, the members tend to work smartly towards an aim to avoid any embarrassments or repercussions that could arise making them accountable for any poor or minimal work attained. 

Loyalty among teams can equally bring forth the success in an organization. Social loafing, however, is not witnessed in all nations. For example, China seems immune to this issue. China has what is referred to as the social striving. According to this nation, social striving is whereby the performance by the individuals can be easily improved if they enter a team structure. The team members are more concerned with the team’s success rather than the individual’s achievements. The goals of such team are properly outlined and there is team loyalty that is implemented by the individuals of various teams to achieve that desired goal. 

A Team Member Feels Inadequate to Gain Recognition in the Contributions Process

The members of a team may have a feeling that they could hang at the back or enjoy a free ride as the rest do the work for them. They, therefore, avoid the resulting consequences associated with failure to contribute to any work. In the proclamation that a team member could be left out or feel inadequate to gain the recognition in the contributions process, they would feel that their efforts are not desired and, therefore, they will not be recognized either way. 

Perceived loafing that is attributed to other members of the group could cause some individuals within the group to turn out to be loafers themselves. As a result, the members could lessen their efforts inside the group for various reasons. For instance, the members lessen the efforts when operating inside the groups because they would not like to be taken advantage of by the so called social loafers inside the teams. The members of a group may loaf if their efforts or desires to attain equity and preserve it are at stake. Such members become loafers by not having the rest of the team members to gain from their contributions without a reciprocative expenditure of the efforts from their side. 

It can be followed on to the individualism, whereby, the members of a team call to attention their own objectives and not the stipulated goals of the team. Inasmuch as the collectivists persons put themselves in a position that articulates the attainment of the group goals as a first priority to self interest, the collectivist societies feel the responsibility of the achievements by groups ahead of the self desired benefits or interests. They have the responsible feeling of burdening themselves in an effort to deliver the impeccable performance of the entire group or teams. 

Structuring and institution of teams should be selected carefully. The members of various groups that have been selected must be in a position to bring to a table something of importance. This could be the designated skills, the knowledge, or the work ethic that is majorly needed to improve the entire contribution of the team and the associating tasks that is ahead. The personalities of the members of a team are very critical in the complementary and support of the rest of the group individuals. Careful selection of team members can equally result in the elimination of major conflicts that could possibly jeopardize the entire satisfaction and the final outcome of the assigned task. 

A team that can create and operate a relationship that is professional will indeed bring forth the energy that can propel other members of the group to learn about each other. They could similarly create an opportunity upon which other groups can gain and develop the sense of trust among the different members of a group. It is the foundation based on relationships that can mainly assist the members of a team to operate more effectively and to deliver a substantial outcome that is desirable.

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Group Members Lack the Motivation to Satisfy their Maximum Capacity

In a team setting, the individual group members would lack the motivation to satisfy their maximum capacity, because they do not have an internal or external evaluation for the reinstated contributions. Such individuals have to depend on others. The social loafers have to impose less work towards any stipulated task because the real and final evaluation of their efforts will be the joint contributions of the entire team and not just the individuals, thus, leading to little self awareness or recognition of the individuals’ personal efforts. A perfect example of the above evaluation is the sales team at Nokia. The team would like to meet a certain level of expectations for a stipulated monthly sale. However, the evaluation of such desired figures of sale are to be assessed on a team basis and not as single individuals. Social loafers in this scenario will surely fail to work towards achieving the stated or expected figures of sales on the belief that the rest of the team members will do the remaining work to achieve the desired figures. The entire performance inside the organization will therefore become affected in terms of productivity because of the negative morale at the workplace. Since all these side issues occur because of the social loafers, the world competitors are quickly driving forward in the market environment and leaving behind any corporation that is masked with such issues.

An organization can prevent social loafing occurrences by minimizing the teams as much as possible whenever they can. Where there are lesser individuals to spread responsibility over, social loafing can be easily eliminated. Through minimization of teams, the management can develop an individual evaluation inside the teams, thereby, making the members of such a team work harder and achieve the desired outcomes of the final evaluation. 

To attack social loafing, a calculated communication approach should be used with the social loafers. This can entail a private chat where the selected leader or member of the group takes the courage to approach the loafer in a face to face conversation. The matter of discussion can be formal to assist in driving the main issue to be discussed.  The matter of discussion should concern the behaviors and the formulas that can be used by loafers to overcome the bad trend. Group confrontations can be administered when the matter extends to the team levels and all other methods have been brought to table. Individuals can, therefore, raise their stipulated concerns, conflicts, or expectations. 

In the event direct communication with the loafer becomes unsuccessful, the team has to seek advice from their superior, be it the manager, the boss, or the teacher. The administrator can, thereby, use the circumvention process to re-organize various tasks and responsibilities in a way that assists the social loafer to be an active part of the team and similarly contribute their skills and knowledge to the teams. In case of failure, the best action is to investigate various options like replacing the loafer or eliminating them from the team. 


It has been evidenced that social loafing has contributed significant implications to the organization today. The members of groups administer little efforts towards the projects given in groups. These is because such members feel that their efforts will be shared within the groups, so they can enjoy the back seat ride as the rest of the team members handle the projects. Social loafing is evidenced in organizations by how the team members feel inadequate to contribute to the teams. Such members imagine that their efforts will go to waste, as no one will recognize them. Organizations experience social loafing when the members of a group lack motivation to attain their maximum capacity towards the production process in various groups. This will lead to the negative implications arising from the overall success by various groups. Social loafing can be combated in an organization, so that corporations can hasten their competitive edge and challenge the associated rivals at a global stage.

Oct 12, 2020 in Research
Social Media, The Internet And Marketing In Chinese And Western Context

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