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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Social Loafing in Japan Revisited

Social Loafing in Japan Revisited by timtak
Social Loafing in Japan Revisited, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
Nakano, one of my seminar students, did a replication of the classic experiment on social loafing (Ringleman, 1913; see Kravitz & Martin, 1986), using a chocolate grabbing task. Earlier replications of this experiment have shown mixed results. In a shouting task, Latane, Williams, & Harkins (1979) found social loafing present pan-culturally, even among subjects from Malaysia, Thailand and Japan. In a similar task Shirakashi (1984) found no social loafing among Japanese. Furthermore two studies (Gabrenya, Wang, & Latane, 1985; Matsui, Kakuyama, & Onglatco, 1987) found the reverse effect, social labouring or social effort in counting tasks among Taiwanese and Japanese Children. Early (1989,1993) found in a tendency towards social labouring among Hong Kong Adults, and Karau & Williams (1993) in a review of social loafing research in the West and Asia found an overall tendency for Westerners to loaf and for Asians to labour with greater effort. Kugihara (1999) found that Japanese females do not loaf but that Japanese men do, and that the tendency to loaf was related to the tendency to have an interdependent self concept (Markus and Kitayama) which is itself decreasing in Japan.

In Nakano's experiment, seminar students were asked to grab as many "BIS" chocolates as they could from a bag under two conditions
1) Being told that they would receive an equal share of the chocolates grabbed by the group as a whole
2) Being told that they would receive all the chocolates that they themselves grabbed.
The results were as shown above, with average number of chocolates grabbed were greater in the individual condition (9.45) than the group condition (7.27) indicating the existence of social loafing in Japan, with statistically significant tendency (p<0 .1=".1" despite="despite" n="11).<!--0--" sample="sample" size="size" small="small" the="the">

Fan as I am of the Koushien Baseball Tournament I was hoping my students to "become one circle," and try harder in the group condition but the conditions for Japanese social effort, did not seem to have been met. Only one student grabbed more chocolates in the group condition. The order of the grabbing and the degree of encouragement received from the experimenter (who was not blind to the experimental conditions, had been persuaded by social loafing research) may have affected the result.

Dick, R. van, Tissington, P. A., & Hertel, G. (2009). Do many hands make light work?: How to overcome social loafing and gain motivation in work teams. European Business Review, 21(3), 233–245. doi:10.1108/09555340910956621
Earley, P. C. (1993). East meets West meets Mideast: Further explorations of collectivistic and individualistic work groups. Academy of management journal, 319–348. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/256525
Gabrenya, W. K., Wang, Y.-E., & Latane, B. (1985). Social Loafing on an Optimizing Task Cross-Cultural Differences among Chinese and Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 16(2), 223–242. doi:10.1177/0022002185016002006
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1993). Social loafing: A meta-analytic review and theoretical integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(4), 681–706. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.65.4.681
Kravitz, D. A., & Martin, B. (1986). Ringelmann rediscovered: The original article. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(5), 936–941. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.5.936
Kugihara, N. (1999). Gender and social loafing in Japan. The Journal of social psychology, 139(4), 516–526. Retrieved from http://heldref-publications.metapress.com/index/3978hl6682r10877.pdf
Latane, B., Williams, K., & Harkins, S. (1979). Many hands make light the work: The causes and consequences of social loafing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(6), 822. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/37/6/822/
Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review; Psychological Review, 98(2), 224. Retrieved from http://www.biu.ac.il/PS/docs/diesendruck/2.pdf
Matsui, T., Kakuyama, T., & Onglatco, M. U. (1987). Effects of goals and feedback on performance in groups. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3), 407. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/72/3/407/
Shirakashi, S. (1984). Social loafing of Japanese students. Hiroshima Forum for Psychology, 10, 35–40.

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