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date: 25 March 2023

Task Performance in Groupslocked

Task Performance in Groupslocked

  • Christine SmithChristine SmithGrand Valley State University


When individuals decide to work together to complete a task, they often do so in the belief that the product of their collective effort will exceed that which could be accomplished alone. Task-performing groups are resource-rich entities in that members have access to one another’s uniquely possessed knowledge, skills, and abilities and can, in many instances, reduce each individual’s workload by dividing the labor among themselves. However, faulty interaction processes often hinder a group’s ability to utilize maximally the resources available to them, resulting in a performance that falls short of the group’s potential. For example, coordination loss occurs when group members fail to combine their efforts in an optimal manner. This type of loss is especially likely when the group task requires a high level of precision or has heavy cognitive demands. For example, coordination loss is especially problematic in the context of brainstorming groups, because group members are often asked to interact with one another while simultaneously generating ideas and processing the ideas generated by others. Motivation loss occurs when individual group members fail to give their best effort to the group’s endeavor. This type of loss, called social loafing, is especially likely to occur when individual group members believe that their contributions cannot be identified or evaluated. Alternatively, free-riding occurs when group members believe that their contributions to the group product are ultimately dispensable. Finally, group interaction can result in a performance that exceeds what is expected from a simple pooling of individual group members’ efforts, although instances of such are less frequently addressed and documented within the group performance literature. Synergistic or assembly bonus effects are likely when collective work conditions emphasize strong associations between individual effort and highly desirable outcomes, as in the case of Köhler motivation gains. Furthermore, synergistic effects have been documented in instances where groups have used their increased capacity to process information to identify patterns or draw conclusions that individuals alone would find challenging.


  • Individual Differences

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