Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley Huitema

Second Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Third Advisor

Dr. John Austin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Joseph McKean

Abstract

Social loafing refers to the decrease in individual performance output that occurs when individuals perform a task in groups in which the output is pooled. Pooled output refers to the performance of all group members added together to get a total group output. Therefore, because all group members contribute to a single group outcome, individual performance output is obscured. This study examined the following questions. First, what are the effects of the method of pooling the output (additive vs. disjunctive) on individuals who work on a concurrent task in small groups? Second, what are the effects of group target based plus piece rate monetary incentives on individual performance in pooled output groups? And finally, what are the effects on within session performance when switching from working individually to working in pooled output groups in the presence and absence of group monetary incentives? Eight undergraduate student volunteers enrolled in Psychology courses at Western Michigan University participated in the study. Participants worked at computers on a task called SYNWORK1. The results provided evidence of social loafing for the additive task, but not the two types of disjunctive tasks. There was an increase in performance observed in the pooled output for the disjunctive-low task. Group target monetary incentives significantly improved performance for the additive and disjunctive-high tasks.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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