The main difference between social facilitation and social loafing is that social facilitation refers to a scenario where the presence of others positively affects or facilitates individual performance, while social loafing highlights a condition where an individual exerts less effort to achieve a goal when he or she works in a group than when working alone, believing that his/her absence will not make much difference in the outcome.
Social facilitation and social loafing are two social phenomena that describe individuals’ behavior with others in society. We can describe them as a part of group behavior.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Social Facilitation
– Definition, Features, Examples
2. What is Social Loafing
– Definition, Features, Examples
3. Similarities Between Social Facilitation and Social Loafing
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Social Facilitation and Social Loafing
– Comparison of Key Differences
Social Facilitation, Social Loafing
What is Social Facilitation
Social facilitation is a concept proposed by the American psychologist Norman Triplett in 1898. This concept of social facilitation describes that being in the presence of others can improve individual task performance.
The fact whether social facilitation actually occurs or not depends on the type of task the people engage in. For instance, if a person or a group of people engages in a task that is quite familiar to them and straightforward, he or they may get the feeling of social facilitation. In contrast, if he is doing a task he is less familiar with, there is a high chance for his performance to decrease in the presence of others. We call this decrease in performance social inhibition and it is the opposite term of social facilitation.
For instance, imagine how the presence of an audience can have an impact on the performance of a dancer. A talented dancer with years of practice and experience in public performance may get energized and motivated by the presence of a large audience and will perform better in a live show compared to a dancer with less experience and training. Unlike a well-trained dancer, a new dancer can be stressed or distracted by the tension of performing in front of a larger crowd, which would eventually decrease his or her quality of performance.
What is Social Loafing
Social loafing is a concept that describes people are inclined to contribute less effort when they are working collectively as part of a team compared to their effort when they are performing a task on their own. Moreover, this concept of social loafing is more visible in tasks where the contribution of an individual team member is merged into a group outcome and where it is difficult to differentiate and identify the individual contribution of each group member.
Social loafing can be a significant factor that has an impact on the productivity of the overall functioning of any workplace; in other words, if a worker does not put forward his full effort thinking it won’t be an issue as he is a part of a group, this can directly lead to reduce the productivity of the process. Therefore, factors like expectations of co-worker performance, working environment, culture, and meaningfulness of the task affect social loafing.
Similarities Between Social Facilitation and Social Loafing
- Both social facilitation and social loafing depend on the impact of others’ presence in our performance.
- Therefore, both social loafing and social facilitation can be considered a part of group behavior.
Difference Between Social Facilitation and Social Loafing
Social facilitation involves a social phenomenon where the presence of others affects or facilitates our individual performance in a positive way. On the other hand, social loafing involves a phenomenon where an individual exerts less effort to achieve a goal when he or she works in a group than when working alone.
Social facilitation has a positive impact on a performance or engagement in a particular task, whereas the impact of social loafing on a task usually takes a negative approach.
Factors like expectations of co-worker performance, working environment and culture, and meaningfulness of the task affect social loafing, whereas a person’s familiarity with a particular task directly affects social facilitation.
The main difference between social facilitation and social loafing is that social facilitation refers to a scenario where the presence of others positively affects or facilitates individual performance, while social loafing highlights a condition where an individual exerts less effort to achieve a goal when he or she works in a group than when working alone.