Students' Perceptions of Social Loafing: Its Antecedents and Consequences in Undergraduate Business Classroom Teams

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We report the findings from a 2-stage study of student perceptions of social loafing as it occurs in undergraduate business classroom teams. Given the popularity of student teams as a teaching and learning tool in undergraduate business classrooms, as well as the near absence of research that has focused on students' definition of the problem, our purpose was to develop preliminary findings and spur new thinking about social loafing in this context. A definition of the construct was developed, and its key antecedents and consequences identified by way of exploratory analysis of student perceptions. The resulting hypotheses and conceptual model were tested using a structural equations model by way of a survey of 349 students taking classes in an undergraduate business program. Student perceptions of social loafing seem more complex than current views suggest. They point to student apathy and social disconnectedness as antecedents, and note that they take compensatory action when members of their teams social loaf. We identify issues for future research and discuss implications for instructors and program administrators.


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