How can a manager keep social loafing within a team(s) from being a problem?
Teams have a lot of problems developing and staying together. Social loafing is a very important aspect of teams and team behavior – not to mention a major problem. Companies have to deal with this issue in most, if not all, teams.
It is difficult to find the balance of work and "play" in a group, to be sure. However, this is easily addressed in a few ways. First, a group must have clear deadlines. So no matter how much social activity is going on within the group, its members understand the need to complete various goals on time. Second, the goals must be clearly outlined. There should never be any confusion about what the group is expected to accomplish. Third, there should be a requirement and mechanism for progress reports from the group, for short-term and mid-term goals in particular to be accounted for. This helps to keep a group on track and on schedule, and it also acts as an early warning system for management.