Social Loafing

Social Loafing

Working in groups is common. We need to work in groups at each step of organisational functioning. Working in groups helps us to achieve organisational goals. But does each member contribute equally in achieving the common goals?

We can very commonly associate with scenarios where not all the members have equal contribution in achieving the goals that are set out. This leads to a bit of discontent within the groups. It also creates more work pressure on certain members and the others having nil handout. The above scenario at the organisational level is known as Social Loafing. Social loafing gives way to indignation and the feeling of acrimony. However, social loafing is not just about putting in less effort in a task compared to other group members. It is more about putting in less efforts while working in a group as compared to working alone. Social loafing is a negative concept and reduces the productivity of a group. May be, all the members working together would have yielded better productivity. This leads to the creation of in-groups and out-groups within the group. The members participating actively in the group task make an in group whereas the less active members make an out group. It builds an emotional tension in place of group cohesiveness. Members start experiencing a disparity of efforts within the group. 

At the organisational, another problem that we regularly experience is cyber loafing. Employees pretend to use the internet for official work in disguise of their personal work. Employees use it as a means to shun their responsibilities while pretending to work. 

I, as a PGDM student of Calcutta Business School, can suggest the following points with regard to Loafing through my academic learning:

  • Low level of motivation: When members in a group are not equally motivated, it results in polarity of efforts and thereby directly affect productivity. This may also happen due to preferences over certain individuals.
  • Group Size: A multitude is difficult to manage. In a large group, loafing can easily be done due to low levels of motivation.
  • Lowered sense of potency: When members in a group feel that their contribution is of not much relevance and not appreciated often, their offerings reduce.
  • Tasks assignment: When tasks in a group are not assigned in an organised and specific manner, loafing starts taking place.
  • Sense of inferiority: When individuals in a group have a lowered sense of self-esteem, the productivity of the group is likely to fall due to dallying.

I think, social loafing does not always occur. It happens in certain circumstances, which can definitely be controlled and thus facilitate the smooth functioning of organizations.

Kanchan Sharma

 PGDM Batch 2019-21

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