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Social Psychology Chapter 9

Key Concepts:

Terms in this set (38)

A tendency to exert less effort when performing as part of a collective or group than when performing as an individual.

The biggest reason that people slack off in groups is that they feel less accountable for their efforts. When you are solely responsible for a project, you put forth more effort than when you know your individual contribution to a group outcome will not be recognized.

In addition to feeling less accountable in a group, people also seem to hold back effort because they believe others will do the same.

A third reason for social loafing is that people in a group can feel that their own efforts are not that important to the group outcome (Kerr & Bruun, 1983). For example, many people don't vote in elections because they feel that their one individual vote will not have much impact.
In some kinds of tasks, called disjunctive tasks, the most skilled members of the group determine the outcome. Imagine a team quiz show or a debate team in which one genius can lead to group success. On conjunctive tasks, the group will do only as well as the worst performer. For example, in mountain climbing, the team can get up the mountain only as fast as its slowest member. The research shows that when group tasks are disjunctive, the most skilled members of the group make the greatest effort, whereas the least skilled members slack off. On conjunctive tasks, the least skilled members exert the greatest effort, and the most skilled members slack off.

When the value of the group and its goals are high.