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Effects of Social Loafing and How To Prevent It

By working together with others, rather than just on a task, people are more likely to “social loaf” or put in less effort overall. Because of everyone’s unique skills, experiences, and dedication to the task, group projects are often seen as the most efficient means of achieving positive outcomes (Gabelica et al., 2022). The rebellious nature of the social loafing phenomena may harm team performance. The group’s potential productivity influences its actual productivity as members coordinate their efforts and eliminate roadblocks to the project’s completion. Some of the various reasons for social loafing are examined in this study. We may attribute social loafing mainly to a lack of drive, a lack of a shared sense of duty, and a large group size. Whenever an issue arises, someone has thought of a way to resolve it. Therefore, strategies are available for reducing the impact of social loafing.

In social loafing, people do not care enough about a job to do it. Social scientists have discovered that an individual’s drive to participate in activity affects their actions while interacting with others in a group. Those with less drive are more inclined to waste time socializing with others. According to research, a person’s expectations about accomplishing the objective and the perceived worth of the goal are essential elements in determining motivation and, by extension, whether or not an individual would turn to social loafing vs. social facilitation (Supardi & Rosiana, 2021). In contrast, when the objective is seen as doable, motivation is at its strongest; when it is seen as impossible, motivation is at its lowest. Motivating a team is as simple as rewarding its members for outstanding performance. If people work for a common goal and know that they will be rewarded for their efforts, both collectively and individually, they will exert more effort to reach that goal.

The lack of a strong feeling of personal accountability is another factor that contributes to social loafing within a group. Without individual responsibility, group members may lose faith in their ability to affect results. Every group of more than four individuals has this issue at some point. There is always the risk that a teammate may fail to put forth his or her total effort because he or she believes that his or her role is less critical than that of another member of the group or that a teammate would leave him or her to carry the bulk of the load while he or she takes all the credit (Gabelica et al., 2022). That person made fewer attempts to complete the assignment, so they would not have to do as much labor. The easiest method to avoid this is to assign specific responsibilities within the team and ensure that everyone takes personal responsibility for their work because everyone’s contribution is vital to the success of the team as a whole. Each member of the team, not just the whole, has to be assessed on their performance to guarantee that they are giving 100%.

Social loafing is facilitated by larger group sizes because there are more people to laze about with. Compared to working alone or in a smaller group, people tend to feel more responsible for their actions and put out more effort while working on more significant projects with fewer people. Individuals in bigger teams may worry that their input will be lost in the shuffle and that their efforts will not amount to much in the grand scheme. People’s sense of self begins to fade as the group size increases (Hamamoto et al., 2020). People may be less motivated to put out their best effort when they believe it will be lost in a vast group. To escape the negative consequences of not trying, such a line of thinking might induce individuals to “slide back” or “hide.” Smaller groups avoid this problem by making everyone feel like they are contributing. Teams that have fun together and can effectively communicate to accomplish their goals are more likely to succeed. Gather a cast that covers a wide range of experience and talent. That is why everyone on the team has to be given a role that’s as hard as the others.

In conclusion, in order to achieve better outcomes in a given endeavor, groups often work together to pool their resources and expertise. Assuming the team members love working together and can overcome any issue, working together may boost the project’s productivity (Mihelic & Culiberg, 2018). Individuals who want to improve their team’s productivity should avoid encouraging social loafing. Rules, guidelines, clarity of function, and duties are essential, as are manageable group size, specific roles, and tasks for each team member, regular performance reviews, and clear communication.


Gabelica, C., De Maeyer, S., & Schippers, M, C., (2022). Taking a Free Ride: How Team Learning Affects Social Loafing. American Psychological Association.

Hamamoto, H., Mizobata, R., Ishakawa, M., & Itakura, S., (2020). Examining the social influence of reputation for partner productivity level on the collaborative task performance of young children. Wiley. DOI: 10.1002/icd2213.

Lount Jr, R. B., & Wilk, S. L., (2022). Working Harder or Hardly Working? Posting Performance Eliminates Social Loafing and Promotes Social Laboring in Workgroups. Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science (INFORMS).

Mihelic, K. K. & Culiberg., (2018). Reaping the Fruits of Another’s Labor: The Role of Moral Meaningfulness, Mindfulness, and Motivation in Social Loafing. Journal of Business Ethics.

Supardi, S. H., & Rosiana, A. (2021). Descriptive Review of Positive and Negative Antecedent Social Loafing During Pandemic COVID-19. International Journal of Current Research and Review13, 177-183.


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