This study was conducted for two purposes. The first was to find out trend patterns for perceived social loafing, the four types of intra-group conflict (i.e., task, relationship, logistic, and contribution), and positive vs. negative emotions, in the group's developmental process. The second was to explain how perceived social loafing was aroused based upon the knowledge of intra-group conflicts and negative emotions. Participants (n = 164) were required to report their personal perception of social loafing, intra-group conflicts, emotions (i.e., anger, fatigue, vigor, confusion, tension, depression, and friendliness), and the stage of group development, in their current small group interaction. Four major findings emerged out of the data analysis. First, perceived social loafing, relationship conflict, logistical conflict, contribution conflict, and negative emotions all followed a reversed V-shaped trend of development with their respective peaks observed at Stage 2 (i.e., Counterdependency and Fight), whereas task conflict followed a slanted, N-shaped, but relatively stable, trend over the course of group development. Second, positive emotions developed in a V-shaped trend pattern, wherein the lowest point was observed at Stage 2 and highest point at Stage 4 (i.e., Work). Third, the perception of social loafing was found to be directly and positively influenced by contribution conflict and negative emotions, while task conflict, logistical conflict, and relationship conflict did not have direct positive effects on perceived social loafing. However, task conflict was found to have a marginally significant direct suppressing effect upon perceived social loafing once the influences from logistic conflict, contribution conflict, relationship conflict and negative emotions were controlled for. Fourth, the current study also found that the perception of social loafing might not always trigger negative emotions in the group, because social compensation might offset the negative consequences that perceived social loafing was likely to bring to the group.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation Ph.D. August 2013. Major: Communication studies. Advisor: Dr. Dean E. Hewes. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 300 pages, appendices A-C.
Perception of social loafing, Conflict, and emotion in the process of group development.
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