SOCIAL LOAFING
Social loafing is an important phenomenon in social psychology.  What is social loafing?  Below is a definition of social loafing:

Social Loafing Definition

ocial loafing is the phenomenon in which people exert less effort when working collectively on a task.

Social Loafing Examples

There are many possible examples of social loafing.  Below are two social loafing examples:

Some students have the task of working collectively on a paper for a course.  They will receive one grade for the paper.  Some students in the class do not make much of an effort working on the group paper even though they made an effort on other assignments in which they worked alone.

Employees of a company are part of a committee to write a new employee manual.  During a committee meeting, some of the employees did not make much of an effort and had few suggestions.  These employees had made a much greater effort on other tasks in which they worked alone.

Social Loafing Does Not Always Occur
It is important to keep in mind that social loafing does not always occur.  For example, Karau and Williams (1997) found that social loafing did not occur for a cohesive group.  Moreover, the findings of their second study suggest that people may actually make a greater effort when working with coworkers who are low in ability (a social compensation effect).


Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1997).  The effects of group
     cohesiveness on social loafing and social compensation.
Group Dynamics:  Theory, Research, and Practice, 1,