University Of Tasmania

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Social loafing in group-based learning: student-created and instructor-created group perspectives

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 14:48 authored by Rajesh RajaguruRajesh Rajaguru, Roshni NarendranRoshni Narendran, Rajesh, G

Purpose: Social loafing is a key inhibitor in group-based student learning and is a key challenge in administering group-based assessments in higher education. This study examines differences in the effects of antecedents of social loafing (disruptive behaviour, social disconnectedness and apathy) on work quality by comparing student-created and instructor-created groups. The study also investigates how group members’ efforts to “pick up the slack” of social loafers in the two kinds of groups moderate the effect of antecedents of social loafing on work quality.

Design/methodology/approach: Post-graduate students from two different sessions of the Marketing Management unit participated in the study: 95 students from session 1 and 90 students from session 2. One session represented student-created groups and the other session represented instructor-created groups. Each group consisted of five students. Partial Least Square (PLS) estimation using SmartPLS was used to assess the direct and interaction effects.

Findings: The results indicate differences in the effects of the antecedents of social loafing such as apathy and disruptive behaviour on work quality for both student-created and instructor-created groups. Social disconnectedness was found to have no significant effect on work quality. Interestingly, the study found significant differences in the effects of “pick up the slack” on the work quality of student-created and instructor-created groups. Members of student-created groups who picked up the slack of social loafers improved the work quality for unit assessment. This effect was not significant for instructor-created groups.

Originality/value: Extant literature on social loafing predominantly focusses on its effect on students’ work quality and educational achievement. This study contributes to the literature by investigating how the studentcreated and instructor-created group members’ efforts to pick up the slack of social loafers moderate the effects of the antecedents of social loafing on work quality.


Publication title

Education and Training












Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified