Social loafing behaviors of university students in group works: The reasons and possible solutions

Büyükgöze H., Demirkasimoğlu N.

ICEA 2017 (12th International Congress on Educational Administration), Ankara, Turkey, 11 - 13 May 2017

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ankara
  • Country: Turkey
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Group works provide a highly convenient learning and development setting for university students as it helps them to develop innovative solutions by utilizing multiple perspectives and orientations, and deriving integrated insights. However, some reasons such as group size, task meaningfulness, the belief that one's contribution will not make much of a difference, and group members with diverse backgrounds/experiences may lead group members to lower their physical or cognitive effort and/or trigger them to loaf. The behaviors, identified as 'social loafing' in behavioral sciences literature and arise in the forms of slowdowns, carelessness , putting forth less effort, neglecting, withdrawal, inattention and self-limiting, may have direct effect on the group and its members' performance. Regarding this, the aim of the current study was to investigate the opinions of university students on social loafing behaviors observed and experienced in group works. The Survey of Social Loafing in Classroom Teams of Jassawalla, Malshe and Sashittal (2008), consisting of three scales and three questionnaires, was utilized as the data collection tool after Turkish validity and reliability studies were conducted. A total of 374 university students from seven faculties and 26 different programs of a public university participated to the study. Results of the study indicated that being mostly silent during group meetings and not participating in group's final presentation were the most disruptive loafing behaviors; those behaviors mostly wasted other group members' time and caused them to do more than their share of work; group members mostly tried indirect ways of letting social loafer that they did not approve of his/her behavior, and university students wished faculty members to evaluate individual effort on groups in more ways like making the group report mid-semester on 'who is doing what'.