About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 6758-6761
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

ENHANCING STUDENT PERFORMANCE VIA "LOAFING" ATTENUATION: THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF SOCIAL LOAFING SAFEGUARDS

M. Casa de Calvo

Texas A&M University-Kingsville (UNITED STATES)
Learning to work collaboratively is highly beneficial for both students and future professionals. Group work can teach students problem-solving and critical-thinking skills (Jackson, & Williams, 1985). Group work can even improve peer relations, group cohesion, and leadership skills (Sorrentino & Sheppard, 1978). However, collaborative work may also lead to potential pitfalls. For example, social loafing refers to a tendency to exert less task-related effort within a group context than within an individual context (Latané, 1981; Jackson & Harkins, 1985). Consequently, students often report feeling cheated by members who fail to contribute to collective group tasks, and tend to exhibit less motivation in the presence of social-loafers (Shepperd, 1993). Therefore, it is imperative to establish a fair means of evaluation within a collaborative context, so that deleterious motivational consequences may be avoided.

The current research incorporated social loafing safeguards within group activities, so that individual levels of motivation could be sustained throughout the collaborative process. In the experimental condition (i.e., with social loafing safeguards), 10 groups (each consisting of 3 members) were instructed to complete a group research project. Students were informed that upon project completion each group member would evaluate (in grade form) his/her personal contribution (i.e., personal evaluation), and the contribution of each group member (i.e., peer evaluation). Students were then informed that each group would also receive a grade based on the instructor’s evaluation, and that the final group grade would be based on an average of self, peer, and instructor ratings. In the control condition (i.e., no social loafing safeguards), 10 groups (each consisting of 3 members) were also instructed to complete a group research project. However, students in this condition were only informed that each group would receive a grade based on the instructor’s evaluation of the overall project. Results showed that students in the experimental (i.e., “Safeguarded”) condition performed significantly better on the project than those students in the control condition.

This research holds myriad promising implications for the education literature. Firstly, performance rating systems should ideally involve both personal and peer evaluations. This provides each member with an opportunity to voice concerns about potential loafers. Additionally, when conducting group work it is suggested to assign an overall group grade based on the instructor’s evaluation, and an average of self/peer-ratings. Students often complain about inequities of effort within group work settings. This grading system deters potential social-loafers, and encourages other group members to expend full effort under the premise that those efforts will be rewarded accordingly. Finally, by making it known to students beforehand that each evaluation (i.e., self, peer, and instructor) will be weighted and documented, each group member knows that his/her individual efforts will be assessed. Clearly identifying the unique contributions of each member may increase student incentive to produce higher quality work at the project onset (Williams, Harkins, & Latané, 1981; Williams, Nida, Baca, & Latané, 1989).
@InProceedings{CASADECALVO2009ENH,
author = {Casa de Calvo, M.},
title = {ENHANCING STUDENT PERFORMANCE VIA "LOAFING" ATTENUATION: THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF SOCIAL LOAFING SAFEGUARDS},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {6758-6761}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Casa de Calvo
TI - ENHANCING STUDENT PERFORMANCE VIA "LOAFING" ATTENUATION: THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF SOCIAL LOAFING SAFEGUARDS
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 6758
EP - 6761
ER -
M. Casa de Calvo (2009) ENHANCING STUDENT PERFORMANCE VIA "LOAFING" ATTENUATION: THE MOTIVATING EFFECT OF SOCIAL LOAFING SAFEGUARDS, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 6758-6761.
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