How to Get Rid of a Stowaway

To overcome social loafing, leaders need to organise work better and hold everyone individually accountable for their tasks.

Miro Konkel
5 min readSep 22, 2023

--

Photo by diGital Sennin on Unsplash

Do more hands equal better work? Not necessarily. In a group, we most often give less of ourselves than we do alone. The phenomenon was first described by Maximilian Ringelmann in 1913. Maximilian Ringelmann, a French agricultural engineer who studied the behaviour of oxen. He found that when two animals pulled a cart together, they used less force than when they pulled the cart separately. The Frenchman did a similar experiment on humans and the results were the same. The power of the team pulling the rope was less than the sum of the individual efforts of its members. One person put in 100 percent of their strength, two 93 percent, three 85 percent and eight only 49 percent.

The larger the group, the lower the commitment of its members. This happens in all companies, industries and political orders. This is borne out by State Farms, which produced less than private farms. Another example is large, anonymous corporations with a dispersed structure, which in terms of productivity are no match for small businesses where everyone knows each other.

This is the so-called Ringelmann effect commonly known as social loafing. We, however, will use…

--

--

Miro Konkel

A writer. With the help of psychology, I uncover the truth about what is important in life.