Many hands make light the work: The causes and consequences of social loafing

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As reported in summary form by W. Moede (1927), an unpublished study found that in a rope-pulling task, while collective group performance increased somewhat with group size, it was less than the sum of the individual efforts (IE). IE decreased as group size increased. The present 2 experiments with 84 undergraduates investigated this effect using clapping and shouting tasks. Results replicate the earlier findings. The decrease in IE, which is here called social loafing, is in addition to losses due to faulty coordination of group efforts. The experimental generality, theoretical importance, widespread occurrence, and negative social consequences of social loafing are examined, along with ways of minimizing it. (26 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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