Human resource in an organization is a key factor and has a significant role as for as the development and success of an organization is concerned. The level of performance of the employees of an organization has always been a great concern of the management. It has been observed that the human resource performance fluctuates and depends upon the motivation strategies the company adopts. The low performance is due to motivational problem.
Motivation is one of the psychological features that stimulate one to work to get a preferred goal or objective. The motivation is considered a compelling force and psychological drive which reinforces the individual for an action to achieve the desired goal. For instance, the appetite is a motivational factor which brings out a want to eat. It may also be originated from other physical needs like, resting or sleeping and the sex. Motivation has also been exposed to have the roots in behavioral, physiological, social, and cognitive, areas.
It has also been proved that the individual perform excellent while working individually, but their performance reduces when the work in a group. In groups’ social psychology, there is a phenomenon called as social loafing in which the people tend to exert very less effort in order to achieve an objective when working in groups as compared to the work done alone. This is, therefore, seen as a main reason that the groups are occasionally less productive as compared to the joint performance of the members working as the individuals.
Studies on Social Loafing
Many researches and studies have been made regarding social loafing; and are named as under ;
- The experiments on Rope-pulling
- The experiments on shouting and Clapping
- The study Meta of analysis and the Collective Effort Model (CEM)
- Dispersed versus collocated groups
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow, in a paper presented by him in the year 1943 described a theory called Maslow's hierarchy theory of needs. This theory is based on the psychology and subjected as "A Human Motivation Theory ". Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. Maslow in his theory used different terms which are given as under ;
- Belongingness and Love
- Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence
Social loafing falls under the first two needs mentioned in the above hierarchy of needs. Since social loafing is adopted by employees due to first two needs which have higher priority than other three needs so employees are found more inclined towards social loafing. The first two needs are described in further details below while presenting the link between these needs and social loafing.
Physiological needs can be termed as physical requirements of the employees’ survival. These requirements are crucial and if not met, than the body of human cannot properly function, and ultimately will fail. The Physiological needs of the human being are considered the most significant and must be fulfilled first. Water, air, and food are the metabolic need for survival for humans being. Shelter and Clothing is the necessary protection for the human from the external elements. In case of social loafing employees try to satisfy their physiological needs through means of keeping themselves on rest through avoiding the hard work. Through avoiding hard work employees keep their metabolism regulated.
When the physiological or physical needs of the human being are relatively fulfilled, the safety needs of the individual take priority to be fulfilled; for instance the war, natural disaster, childhood abuse and family violence, etc. It has been observed that in absence of the safety needs the people may experience the stress disorder related to post-traumatic. In the deficiency of economic safety, for example because of economic crisis or due to lack of job opportunities, these manifest the individuals in many ways like preference for security of job, savings accounts, injustice from independent authority, insurance policies, reasonable accommodations for disability, etc. Security and Safety needs include:
- Financial security
- Personal security
- Well-being and Health
- Safety against the accidents and illness
In case of social loafing the employees keep themselves safe from any potential risks that may arise in case of doing all the work. So by avoiding the work they tend to keep themselves safe from taking risks at individual level and letting other people in the group fall into the risk.
Solution to Address Social Loafing
The ‘X’ and ‘Y’ theories are human motivation theories which were developed by a well renowned professor of Management named Douglas McGregor. In the ‘X’ theory, which was proven counter effective through studies in modern practice, the management assumes that employees are basically lazy so they will avoid their work through maximum possible means as they dislike their work. In this theory the management considers close supervision of employees and put in strong controlling tools in order to ensure that employees do not avoid their work. A very narrow control span is applied in this theory which guarantees the close supervision. This theory perfectly describes the social loafing and presents a strong solution to the problem .
On the other hand theory ‘Y’ states employees are self-motivated and ambitious and they exercise full self-control. In this theory, it is considered that all the employees enjoy physical and mental work on their jobs. According to this theory working is an enjoyable as playing games. This theory however on contrary to theory ‘X’ do not consider that people may indulge into social loafing hence this theory does not offer any good solution to address the issue of social loafing .
The individual’s performance is quite better when he performs individually rather in a group. When he performs individually, he think about self-actualization and think that due to his good work he would be respected by others and it would be honor for him. On the other hand, in a group he is reluctant and does not take sense of responsibility and hence the productivity of the individual reduces. Moreover, in order to enhance the productivity level of the individual, either working individually or in a group, the different levels of hierarchy needs of Maslow would be fulfilled. Accordingly to Maslow’s theory, the needs of the individual at different level must be fulfilled in order to get prospective results right from physiological needs to self-actualization. After carefully studying the theory ‘X’ and theory ‘Y’ it becomes quite evident that theory ‘X’ is found suitable to address the problem of social loafing due to the fact that this theory considers employees as lazy and having tendency to avoid work.
Forsyth, D. R. (2009). Group Dynamics. Stamford: Cengage Learning.
Koontz, H., & Weihrich, H. (2006). Essentials Of Management. Noida (UP): Tata McGraw-Hill Education.
Schermerhorn, J. R. (2011). Management. Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley & Sons.
Source Wikipedia, Books Llc. (2010). Motivational Theories: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Cognitive Dissonance, Need for Power, Self-Determination Theory, Frederick Winslow Taylor. Memphis: General Books.