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Renee McCormick

Discussion Board:  Social Loafing

             The issue of social loafing has long been an issue from projects in  school and work.  Kugihara (1999) explains social loafing as a  phenomenon when the volume of work by a person in a group is less than  if the task were to be performed individually.  It is the reduction of  motivation and effort within collective work that may seem to be  unidentifiable making the group member’s input to be reduced and go  unnoticed.  Social Loafers are one of the four threats to creativity  within a team setting (Meredith & Shafer, 2016).  These individuals  are typically the annoyance to the productive members wanting to  accomplish the task at hand.  The lack of effort undermines the  effectiveness sought in the Six Sigma productivity and lean processes.  

The  social loafing topic for the discussion post is both an academic  interest and personal interest.  As one of the threats to team  creativity, social loafing seems to be a continuing theme from school to  work.  This phenomenon is frustrating in group settings, especially  with the online school atmosphere.  The similar frustration is currently  being experienced at my work with a coworker, who quit in the past week  during the research of this topic.  


             Social loafing is a society issue found throughout the world.   Comparison between male and female has spurred several studies.  A  Japanese study found men are more likely to be social loafers in  comparison to women through several social experiments arguing women  value collective tasks more than men and men are expected to work in  power-oriented roles (Kugihara, 1999).  Kugihara notes the comparison of  gender roles and social loafing to other nationalities with similar  results, including the United States with a greater gender difference.  

             Thompson and Thorton (2014) studied social loafing with preschoolers to  determine if gender differences could be identified as a link to the  Theory of Mind.  Their study found the three-year-olds did not have the  capacity for social loafing, yet the four to five-year-olds did.  Social  loafing at this age is argued by Thompson and Thorton to be associated  with maturity as the preschool girls were more apt than the boys,  suggesting this is tied to girls advanced language comprehension and  creative play.  

Group  work experiences different stages through the timeline.  With group  work, there are four different stages including Stage 1: Dependency and  inclusion, Stage 2: counter-dependency and fight, Stage 3: trust and  structure, and Stage 4: work and termination (Lee & Sergueeva,  2016).  It is within the second stage that social loafing is found due  to the power struggles, role confusion, and need for identification  within the group setting.  Suggestions to improve the struggles of stage  two and prevent social loafing would be confident in expressing ideas,  communication, team members adapt to the work ethics of each other,  maintain organization and cooperation between group members.  

             Moving beyond gender roles, a direct relation between social loafing  and the envy emotion was connected by Thompson, Glaso, and Martinsen in  the effort to discover the roots of social loafing (2016).  Envious  individuals found to respond negatively in situations where they cannot  influence the allocation of outcomes and chose to limit their  contribution to the group by social loafing as a dysfunctional  behavioral response.  Furthermore, the study found envious individuals  resort to coping response, like social loafing, when they perceive a  threat to oneself such as reduced self-esteem and loss of control.   These individuals will engage in counter-productive work behaviors  directed at other coworkers they perceive as a threat.  Results of the  study found when a person feels less self-worth, they are compelled to  respond like limiting their effort and are willing to sacrifice the  overall outcome of the project to create an advantage for themselves.   This is a threat to team cohesiveness, creativity, and production.  

Article Summary

             The lack of effort in a person’s work is considered an ethical  compromise in the workplace (Dobos, 2017).  Gandhi is quoted in the  article that “for every person who refuses to work someone else much  work twice as much” (p. 525).  Workloads are a balancing act on the  scales as if one chooses to use social loafing behavior, others must  pick up their slack to accomplish the task.  The article notes that the  withholding of effort and information could be considered guilty of  theft depending on what is being affected.  

Wasting  time is the theft of an employer, including doing non-work-related  tasks during work hours.  Social loafing is a time-wasting distraction  away from accomplishing the task at hand.  Dobos (2017) notes this  productivity loss equals annually an average of $5720 per employee.   Leaving work incomplete or the act of social loafing is considered the  theft against a co-worker as one is stealing time and effort they could  use on another task.  Dobos notes of research conducted by Flanagan and  Gregory showing there are times the lazy employee is motivated to find  the shortcut for work and reduce the workload, but it is the social  loafing away from supporting the group to be a different issue.   Employees with a mindset of self-entitlement thinking employers owe them  a debt of gratitude for their effort will not want to participate in  working teams as their efforts will not be acknowledged.  

Biblical Integration

             In several places, the Bible warns against being lazy.  The book of  Proverbs provides many references to this warning.  Proverbs 10:4 states  it plainly “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring  wealth” (ESV).  Additionally, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness  ends in forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24, ESV).  The final example ties to  productive work over social loafing stating “All hard work brings a  profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23, ESV).  

             The apostle Paul cautions the church in Thessalonica of social loafing  and laziness to their faith.  2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 is Paul reminding  the believers not to be idle with their work as the apostles provided a  good example for their ways.  As the group stayed with the Thessalonica  church, they did not rely on their supplies but worked harder to help  the church.  Paul recaps with the rule given to the church: “The one who  is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, ESV).  


             The application with social loafing is simple: follow the golden rule.   Be considerate to your coworkers and understanding one’s place in the  effort to accomplish the task.  Most workplaces will not tolerate social  loafing as it affects the bottom line.  Those choosing to skate through  with minimal effort are noticed by management and overlooked for career  advancement.  In the same application, one needs to give credit where  credit is due.  If the individuals feel their work is not being  adequately acknowledged by the team leader, they are more likely to  reduce their efforts.  The team lead has the responsibility to the group  for admitting efforts of individuals.  Thompson, Glaso, and Martinsen  (2016) recommends supervisors involve employees more in the decision  making roles to create unity within the group and reducing the envious  behavior that leads to social loafing.  

Annotated Bibliography

Dobos, N. (2017). What’s so deviant about Production Deviance? The ethics of “Withholding Effort” in the workplace. Social Theory & Practice, 43(3), 519. doi:https://doi.org/10.5840/soctheorpract20178112

             Dobos (2017) questions if employees are required to perform to their  best ability and why those that seem to underperform are labeled as  “production deviants” (p. 519).  The article argues employees have the  ethical-moral obligation to work as hard as they reasonably and  sustainably are able.  The concern of social loafing is identified as  theft to the employer through either wasting time, withholding  information from coworkers, and a self-entitled attitude towards the  company.  It comes down to the extrinsic and intrinsic motivators of  each employee to maintain their work productivity.  If the employee is  tasked with a production number, they will meet that amount and choose  not to exceed if they do not have the right motivation.  

Kugihara, N. (1999). Gender and Social Loafing in Japan. Journal of Social Psychology, 139(4), 516. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/00224549909598410

             Recognizing the age of the article, it was selected as the historical  details provided by Kugihara (1999) are important to note showing the  comparison of social loafing on an international scale.  The article  notes the study was originally conducted in Japan showing men are more  likely to participate in social loafing than women.  Kugihara compares  the study results to the cultures of other countries drawing comparisons  to the United States and China.  Overall, the results are consistent  with showing only 20% of the men made group effort whereas 60% of the  women continued choosing not to socially loaf in the study.  

Lee,  S. H., & Sergueeva, K. (2016). What do students think about group  work in business education? An investigation into the benefits,  challenges, and student-suggested solutions. Journal of Education for Business, 91(7), 380. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2016.1237933

             Studying the stages of group work, Lee and Sergueeva (2016) broke down  each stage within a study with students to find the benefits and  challenges of group work.  The students provided their perspective of  success and frustrations at each stage along with their suggestions to  improve productivity.  Social loafing is found within the second stage  of group development as this is where power struggles affect the student  roles within the group.  The author assumed in stage two is where most  of the conflicts lay, yet the study results found more conflicts and  challenges within the third stage of trust and structure.  

Meredith, J. R., & Shafer, S. M. (2016). Operations and Supply Chain Management for MBAs (6th ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

The  course textbook reviews several aspects of business operations and  supply chain management (Meredith & Shafer, 2016).  Instruction in  the book includes competitive strategy, project management, supply chain  processes, and process improvement.  Specific to this discussion board  forum, social loafing is discussed as a threat to team creativity in  brainstorming within the analyze phase of DMAIC for Six Sigma process  improvement.

Thompson, G., Glaso, L., & Martinsen, O. (2016). Antecedents and Consequences of Envy. Journal of Social Psychology, 156(2), 139-153. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2015.1047439

Through  a study focusing on envy, Thompson, Glaso, and Martinsen (2016) found a  direct link of the negative emotion to social loafing.  The social  loafing is a coping behavioral response to the reduced self-esteem and  lack of control the individual is feeling.  The negative impact on a  person’s perception will only increase the negativity towards others and  the refusal to accomplish work.  If the envy is left to grow, it will  impact the group teamwork and work behavior towards one another.   Results show managers there is a strong need for good managerial styles  within the workforce to reduce the feelings of envy between coworkers to  help alleviate possible social loafing.  

Thompson,  R. B., & Thornton, B. (2014). Gender and theory of mind in  preschoolers’ group effort: Evidence for timing differences behind  children’s earliest social loafing. Journal of Social Psychology, 154(6), 475. doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2014.933763

             Thompson and Thornton (2014) conducted a development study on preschool  children to find the theory of mind and the possible beginning of  social loafing.  The three-year-old children tested did not show signs,  yet the four and five-year-old test subjects did show early and  established signs of social loafing.  Of the children studied, Thompson  and Thornton found girls are more capable of the social loafing  characteristics than the boy test subjects.  The authors argue this may  be due to children’s language ability and comprehension which is  typically more advanced in girls than boys at the preschool age level.  


 Kayla Hurst                       

Key Concept Explanation

Modern-day  organizations consistently look for ways to improve their business  practices to improve both their products and operational impacts on the  environment through continuous improvement programs. The International  Standards Organization (ISO) serves as the creator of the ISO 9000 and  ISO 14000 certifications of business practices.  ISO 9000 was created to  serve as a checklist of good business practices that can be employed by  an organization so that they can ensure that they are providing quality  services and or products consistently (Terziovski  & Guerrero, 2014). ISO 14000, on the other hand, is a certification  that focuses more on the systematic daily operations of operations and  the impact that these operations have on the environment (Sebastianelli,  Tamimi, & Iacocca, 2015). Although both ISO 9000 and 14000 have  different uses for organizations, they both have their place within  business operations. 


The  textbook serves to provide a general introduction to the ISO 9000 and  ISO 14000 standards whereas further research helps to provide more  detail analysis of the ISO standards and their applications.  The  current ISO 9000 the standard serves as an outline of the general  specifics of quality management systems of companies that need to  provide consistency in their products and services to meet the governing  guidelines as well as increase customer satisfaction through process  improvement (Terziovski & Guerrero, 2014).  This differs from the goals of the ISO 14000 standards. In  more recent years ISO 14000 has become more common with industries and  organizations because of the growing concern that the public has with  environmental issues such as climate change and environmental  preservation (Sebastianelli, Tamimi, & Iacocca, 2015).  This public scrutiny has served as external pressure to hold  organizations responsible regarding their environmental impacts.  The  ISO 14000 standard serves as an industry answer to this external  pressure due to its goal of optimizing environmental performance through  the control of documents, records, operations, statistical techniques,  corrective actions, preventative actions, and training methods (Meredith  & Shafer, 2016). The ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certifications have  become important signals to customers that signify organizations are  meeting specific standards. 

Article Summary

The  article by Ueki seeks to investigate how the pressure to implement the  ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 standards from customers can have an overall  impact on both the customer-supplier relationships and process  enhancements (2016). The article discusses how the globalization of  manufacturing allows organizations to conduct business in countries with  emerging economies. The downside to this relationship is that those  organizations can often find it difficult to meet the same standards  that the customers want those international organizations are capable of  meeting. While the outcome of the adaptation of ISO standards is  generally seen as positive for an organization, the implementation can  be dangerous given the fact that the actual adaptation process can be  pricey. If an organization is not aware of this and careful of its  implementation, this could be detrimental to the organization.  “Therefore, if the adaptation of ISO standards facilitate  customer-supplier collaboration, then more firms in developing countries  will consider adopting ISO standards or equivalent management methods  worthy of investment” (Ueki, 2016, p. 2234). These findings suggest that  pressure put on suppliers results in collective relationships, that  effective communication with customers and suppliers improve quality  control, and that the improvement of quality control is not dependent on  customer pressure and relationships. 

Biblical Integration

As  Christians we should seek to do the best for those around us even when  practicing business. Although this may be the more costly path for  organizations when organizations take on these attributes it is noted by  customers. Colossians 3:23-24 states, “Whatever you do, work heartily,  as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will  receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”  (ESV). This highlights the importance of seeking to serve the Lord  first when making decisions. The bible also talks about how we should  thrive to take care of our environments. In Genesis 1:26-28 God gives us  dominion on the earth and everything in it. Jeremiah 2:7 states, “And I  brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good  things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage  an abomination” (ESV). As faithful servants, it is our responsibility to  take care of what he has given us by keeping our environment healthy. 


             The goal of every organization is to maximize the return for their  stakeholders. In today’s fast-paced society many organizations turn to  continuous improvement methods to ensure that they are maximizing their  profits through the ability to offer products and services with minimal  defects and variations. Most of these continuous improvement efforts aim  to do this through the implementation of standards. The ISO 9000 and  ISO 14000 standards allow organizations to maintain operational  standards that allow them to increase sales and profit margins. This is  why more organizations continue to align their operations with the  pursuit of ISO 9000 and ISO 1400 certifications.

Annotated Bibliography

El Mokadem, M. (2016). ISO 9000 moderation role over supply chain alignment in manufacturing context. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management27(3), 338-363. 

             The article explains how ISO 9000 aligns supply chain activities.  Supply management emphasizes the importance of aligning activities that  will produce value for customers and better performance across the  supply chain to attain higher levels of customer service and  cost-effectiveness. To collect the data the author used the cluster  analysis method and then a limited regression analysis.  The research  found that when IOS 9000 is implemented it led to higher levels of  alignment in customer needs and supplier criteria. The research provided  insights on understanding the role that ISO 9000 plays in best business  practices and not just a conformance standard.

Lakhal, L. (2014). The relationship between ISO 9000 certification, TQM practices, and organizational performance. The Quality Management Journal21(3), 38-48. 

             This article discussed the correlation between ISO 9000 certification  and Total Quality Management practices (TQM).  Most research that has  been done on these quality control practices have been conflicting. The  author asks three questions 1) Is ISO 9000 a beginning point for TQM? 2)  How does ISO 9000 affect organizational performance? 3) What is the  effect of TQM practices on organizational performance?  From the  research of the 176 Tunisian companies, the article provides proof that  the two approaches are directly related. The suggestion is that when ISO  is implemented first and then TQM it is better organizational  performance.

Terziovski, M., & Guerrero, J-L. (2014). ISO 9000 quality system certification and its impact on product and process innovation performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 158, 197-207. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2014.08.011.

The  articles state that although many organizations are beginning to adopt  the ISO 9000 standards there is not a lot of studies that prove the  relationship between ISO 9000 certification and innovation performance.  The authors examine how ISO 9000 certification has impacted the product  and processes of 220 companies in Australia. They concluded that the ISO  9000 certification does not have a significant impact on product  innovation, but instead, it highlights differences in increasing  activities that will affect the company’s ability in being innovative.  The article suggests that companies that apply ISO 9000 standards are  most likely to add restructuring by including internal customer concepts  within the company to improve collaboration and create a more  streamlined structure for process improvement.

Sebastianelli, R., Tamimi, N., & Iacocca, K. (2015) Improving the quality of environmental management: impact on shareholder valueInternational Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 32(1), 53-80. 

The  purpose of this article is to demonstrate a link between improved  environmental performance and increased market value in organizations  that are traded publicly. More companies are looking to provide quality  environmental performance because of the increasing demands of  shareholders and customers wanting more eco-friendly products. People  are becoming more concern with certain environmental issues that affect  our communities such as climate change, energy, conservation, and  pollution. The article suggests that environmental sustainability will  help transform the way companies conduct business. The question is asked  if the benefits of improving an organization’s environmental  performance such as decreasing costs or preserving energy will improve  its profits.

Ueki, Y. (2016). Customer pressure, customer–manufacturer–supplier relationships, and quality control performance. Journal of Business Research, 69(6), 2233-2238.

This  the article discusses the driving forces that foster information  sharing and relationships among customers and suppliers. The  relationship can be beneficial if the supplier can learn from the  customer and provide the customer with better quality and production  control. This may motivate the suppliers to embrace quality management  methods like the ISO 9000 and 14000 standards. The article also focuses  on the supplier’s assertiveness toward embracing ISO standards. The  study hypothesizes that the attitudes toward adopting these standards  and comparable standards can affect customer relationships and even  quality control performance. The author investigates how customer  pressure is conveyed through a three-party chain of the focal firm,  customer and supplier, unlike other studies that have investigated a  two-party link.


El Mokadem, M. (2016). ISO 9000 moderation role over supply chain alignment in manufacturing context. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management27(3), 338-363. 

Lakhal, L. (2014). The relationship between ISO 9000 certification, TQM practices, and organizational performance. The Quality Management Journal21(3), 38-48. 

Terziovski, M., & Guerrero, J-L. (2014). ISO 9000 quality system certification and its impact on product and process innovation performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 158, 197-207. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2014.08.011.

Sebastianelli, R., Tamimi, N., & Iacocca, K. (2015) Improving the quality of environmental management: impact on shareholder valueInternational Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 32(1), 53-80. 

Ueki, Y. (2016). Customer pressure, customer–manufacturer–supplier relationships, and quality control performance. Journal of Business Research, 69(6), 2233-2238.

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