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Abstract

Social loafing (SL) is a counterintuitive phenomenon that describes a decrease of efficiency observed in both small groups and large organizations. Research over the past century has increased our understanding of SL and identified antecedent factors that appear to reduce or exacerbate its effect. Subsequent organizational models have beenconceived and evolved, starting with organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), which led toward contextualperformance (CP), and recently to contextual and citizenship performance (CCP). Each type of model can provide valuable insight explaining employee behavior and under which contexts SL occurs. Research shows that OCB has improves organizational productivity and competitiveness, due to organizational management fostering an environment where employees can exceed workplace expectations by volunteering and improving workercooperation. Similarly, research on CP models focus on the voluntary aspects of employee’s prosocial behaviors that improve the organization’s social and psychological core. CCP, the most recent model, combines both OCB and CP to form a more comprehensive and flexible model that can be leveraged by those in leadership positions who epitomize specific characteristics to be exemplified by employees for optimal job performance.

There are several confounding factors involved in attempting to reduce SL: the bystander effect; deindividuation; and ineffective performance appraisals. Organizational leaders interested in optimizing job performance must be aware of these factors as well as the use of citizenship models, being willing to modify their communication styles, and investigating the use of a modified motivational reward system. The idea of replacing monetary goals with psychological ones have been shown to be effective countermeasures that can be implemented in largerorganizations to enhance effectiveness. Last, the United States Air Force is explored as a case study that has implemented many of these concepts, exemplifying methods leaders can apply to influence worker efficiency and job satisfaction.