October 21, 2019
Loafing By Chuck Violand October 21, 2019 In the late 1800’s, a French agricultural engineer named Max Ringelmann conducted experiments to determine if people pulling on a rope pulled as hard when they pulled as a group as they did when pulling individually. To his surprise, he discovered that people pulling individually actually pulled harder than when they pulled as a group. In other words, when the group pulled together, someone in the group was loafing. This became known as the Ringelmann effect. Fast forward to more recent studies conducted by researchers at both The Ohio State University and Fordham University. The results of these studies confirmed the Ringelmann effect and led to the term “Social Loafing”—the phenomenon of people exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in groups than when they work individually. It’s one of the reasons workgroups are sometimes less productive than the combined efforts of people working on their own. I don’t think the concept of social loafing is a mystery to anyone who’s owned a business. After all, it’s probably this concept that leads to expressions like “water seeks its own level,” “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,”