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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 125-130

Social loafing among nurses and its relation with organizational justice


1 Department of Health Services Management, Health Management and Economics Research Center, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Business Management, Mobarakeh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mobarakeh, Isfahan, Iran
3 Department of Healthcare Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Social Medicine,School of Medicine, Jiroft University of Medical Sciences, Jiroft, Iran

Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Elahe Khorasani
Department of Healthcare Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.152226

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  Abstract 

Background and Aims: Social loafing refers to individuals' tendency to exert fewer efforts when they work in a group than when they work alone. Individuals who feel the injustice in an origination are likelier to tend to this phenomenon. The present study is meant to investigate social loafing and its relation with organizational justice among nurses of Tohid Hospital of Sanandaj. Materials and Methods: This study is a descriptive one. The population of this study included all nurses working in the Tohid Educational and Health Center in Sanandaj City. The instrument of collecting data was a questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 (IBM Company, New York, USA) and employing descriptive statistics techniques such as frequency, mean, standard deviation, and inferential ones such as Spearman, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Results : On the basis of the findings of the research, among the distributive, interactional, procedural and systemic organizational justice, there is a reverse correlation between distributive component and social loafing (P < 0.05). The obtained results indicate that the mean of social loafing in females is more than that of males (P < 0.05). Further, the variable of years of experience is effective on the mean scores of individuals' loafing (P < 0.05). Conclusion : The hospital should try reduce the possibility of social loafing in order to prevent the negative effects related to loafing. One-way for attaining this aim is to highlight the importance of the job in such a way that individuals take their tasks and objectives as significant and important; further the nursing role in caring patients should be considered as outstanding.

Keywords: Hospital, nurses, organizational justice, social loafing


How to cite this article:
Etemadi M, Darab MG, Khorasani E, Moradi F, Vazirinasab H. Social loafing among nurses and its relation with organizational justice. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:125-30

How to cite this URL:
Etemadi M, Darab MG, Khorasani E, Moradi F, Vazirinasab H. Social loafing among nurses and its relation with organizational justice. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2017 Nov 19];1:125-30. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/2/125/152226


  Introduction Top


Social loafing is the phenomenon of people exerting less effort to achieve a goal when they work in a group than when they work alone. [1] In fact, as soon as the size of the group started to increase, the tendency to exerting efforts increases in individuals. [2] Theoretical reasons of the phenomenon of social loafing are as follows: Justice in efforts, lack of individual accountability, lack of motivation due to the shared reward, lack of coordination. [3],[4] The results of the studies indicate that social loafing occurs when a job is considered unimportant or simple, the members of a group think that their individual efforts will not be identifiable, and the members of the group expect their colleagues' loafing. When the members of the group know that they will be evaluated, the phenomenon of social loafing will not occur. [4]

Some individuals in a group feel that other members of the group exert less efforts than they do. This issue causes that they feel that the benefit, which they get from the results of the group is not equal to all activities they do, as a result, they will have the feeling of injustice in the group. Therefore, when one judges unfairly about the cooperation of an individual in group work, the effort that he exerts for understanding fairness in work will be moderated; accordingly, he is more likely to loaf. These factors cause that individuals reduce their efforts for doing common tasks, and the group will suffer from social loafing. [5] This phenomenon has many negative consequences such as reduced performance, [6] the decrease in satisfaction and group trust, the reduction in interpersonal interactions, [7] personal and group effectiveness and consequently, the reduction in the efficacy of organizations. [7],[8]

Some previous studies indicate that the tendency to social loafing is more in males than in females [9],[10] or there is no correlation between gender and social loafing. Furthermore, there are evidences indicating that the phenomenon of social loafing is more observable in young individuals than in old ones. [11] Social dependencies and interactions based on organizational trust and justice can change the tendency of an individual for behaving according to others' interests and reduce social loafing. [12]

Organizational justice indicates staff's perception of fair behaviors at work [13] and it can be considered a part of social justice. [14] This concept is related to important organizational processes such as commitment, performance, and satisfaction of the staff. [15] Four kinds of justice in workplaces have been identified:

  • Distributive justice: The fairness of the outcomes and results which staff received
  • Procedural justice: The justice perceived from a process used for distributing rewards
  • Interactional justice: The method in which organizational justice is transferred to subordinates by supervisors
  • Systemic justice: It shows staff's perception regarding the fairness of behaviors of colleagues, supervisors, and procedures in the whole organization or workplace. This kind of justice is about an entire organization. [16]


Teamwork is considered an important element of patients' safety in hospitals and efforts for improving patients' safety via promoting teamwork is increasing day by day [17],[18],[19],[20] and among the different health care providers in hospitals, the most degree of teamwork is among nurses [21] because nurses spend the more hours of a day for caring patients and have more relationship with them than other providers do. Appropriate teamwork free from effects such as social loafing is very important for providing qualified services for patients. Regarding the fact that no similar study has been conducted in Iran regarding social loafing in nurses' teamwork and the relationship between this phenomenon with motivational organizational factors such as organizational justice as a component for reducing this phenomenon, the present study is to investigate the state of social loafing in nurses and its relation with organizational justice among the nurses of Tohid Hospital in Sanandaj [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Conceptual mode of investigating social loafing

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  Materials and Methods Top


The present study is a correlation one conducted using a descriptive method in 2012 in Sanandaj. The population of the study included all nurses working in Tohid Educational and Health Center in Sanandaj. For sampling, the census method was used, and the sample was reported as equal to the population (245 participants). After receiving introduction letter from research deputy of Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, the researchers referred to the studied center and during 2 months, questionnaires were distributed person-by-person among the nurses and necessary explanation was provided for each of them by the researchers, them the desired data were collected. After collecting questionnaires and deleting deficit ones, 230 complete and favorable questionnaires were obtained. Therefore, the return rate of questionnaires was 93.87.

Data collection instrument was a questionnaire; this questionnaire included two sections of general and specific questions. General questions consisted of gender, age, education, employment type, years of experience, and job title and specific questions included main research variables that are organizational justice and social loafing.

Regarding organizational justice, different models have been presented. Organizational Justice Questionnaire (OJQ) developed by Neihoff and Moorman, [22] Colquitt et al., [23] and Kim et al., [24] includes three dimensions of procedural justice, distributive justice, and interactional justice. In the present study, the OJQ developed by Kaneshiro [25] was adapted. This questionnaire included distributive justice (items 17-25), procedural justice (items 12-16), interactional justice (items 1-11) and systemic justice (items 26-35). In a study conducted by Yaghoubi et al., this questionnaire was translated, and its reliability was reported as 0.94 according to Cronbach's alpha, and its content validity was confirmed. [16] In addition, to investigate its construct validity, the lack of correlation between different measurements of organizational justice was calculated. According to the obtained results, the questionnaire enjoyed required validity. Considering the issue that the researchers were to apply a more complete model than organizational justice; therefore, Kenshiro's model which has a fourth dimension, that is, systemic justice was selected, and it is more complete than other mentioned models. The number of items of organizational justice in the questionnaires was 35 ones developed in the form of 5-poit Likert scale ranging from 1 (very low) to 5 (very high). The values of Cronbach's alpha of the questionnaire in distributive justice and interactional justice were 0.95, in systemic justice, the value was 0.93 and in procedural justice, it was 0.87.

In the case of social loafing, little research has been conducted in Iran. In the present study, the Questionnaire of Social Loafing developed by George [26] was used. This 10-item questionnaire was developed based on Likert scale. Its reliability was obtained as 0.85 using Cronbach's alpha. The validity of the questionnaire was determined through experts' ideas.

The collected data in the present study were analyzed using  SPSS version 20 (IBM Company, New York, USA). In the present study, the descriptive statistics of the data were reported using frequency, percentile, mean and standard deviation (SD) Further, regarding that the investigated data were not normally distributed, for analyzing them, nonparametric statistics including Spearman, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests were employed.


  Results Top


The findings of the research indicate that 17.4% of participants were male, and 82.6% of them were female. Most of them (37.4) had between 5 and 10 years of experiences. BA was the most percentage (87.4) among other educational level and in case of, most of the participant had been employed on the basis of contracts of employment (40.9%).

[Table 1] displays the mean and SD of the criterion of social loafing, organizational justice, and its components. The findings indicate that among the components of organizational justice, the most mean is related to the component of organizational justice (3.39 ± 0.086) and the mean score of social loafing is higher than that of organizational justice.
Table 1: Mean and SD of social loafing and justice and its components

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Regarding the results of [Table 2], it can state that all components of organizational justice have reverse correlations with social loafing, but this reverse correlation is statistically significant only in the distributive component of organizational justice (P < 0.05).
Table 2: The relationship of social loafing with organizational justice and its components

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The results of [Table 3] indicate the correlation between social loafing and demographic variable. Based on the results of Mann-Whitney test, social loafing has a significant correlation with gender (P < 0.05) and based on Kruskal-Wallis test, social loafing has a significant correlation only with years of experience (P < 0.05).
Table 3: The relationship of social loafing and demographic variables

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  Discussion Top


The findings of the present study indicated that among the components of organizational justice, the highest mean score was for interactional competent and the lowest mean score was for distributive component. In the research of Mortazavi et al. conducted among the nurses of the hospital, interactional justice had higher mean score than those of other dimensions. [7] In the study of Yaghubi and Javadi, which was conducted in state-run and private hospitals, interactional justice had the most share of justice and distributive justice had the least share of justice (16, 18, and 20). This issue indicates that there is a positive and supportive interactional space among nurses because interactional justice refers to interpersonal aspects; when individuals feel that they are treated honestly and respectfully, they perceive a high level of interactional justice. [7] Distributive justice is more related to outcomes and rewards resulting from work, [8] to increase justice mean score in this dimension, the rewards obtained by nurses should be fair.

The findings of the present study indicated that social loafing had a higher mean score than organizational justice, but the correlation between these two variables was not significant. The higher mean score of social loafing than that of organizational justice indicates this issue that social loafing had a more significant role among nurses, and they perceived this issue more that some individuals might exert less effort than them in groups and work shifts. Therefore, this issue causes that they feel that the benefits given to them from the results of the group are not equal to what they have done and consequently, this issue results in the feeling of injustice in the group. [5] Further, when employees observe that their colleagues refuse to effort, they may perceive it as a form of injustice in the organization. [19] After that employees compare their shares with the shares of those who loaf, their motivations for making effort increase, or tend to convenience to moderate the perceived injustice. [27]

Some other parts of the findings of the present research indicated that the organizational justice and its components have reverse correlations with social loafing, and only the component of distributive justice is significantly correlated with social loafing. However, the procedural component of organizational justice is close to a significant correlation, and the selection of a bigger population may show this significant correlation.

In a study of Cohen-Charash conducted on the interactional component of organizational justice perceived by deviational and retaliatory behaviors (such as loafing), the existence of a negative correlation was reported. [28] Kuhn, in a meta-analysis study, obtained negative correlations of antiproductive behaviors with distributive justice and procedural justice. [29]

Liden argues that when individuals feel that they have not received fair rewards compared with their inputs, their efforts decrease. Therefore, fairness in distributing rewards and consequently individuals' perception of distributive justice have a negative correlation with staff's loafing in group activities. [8] A lot of studies confirmed the negative correlation of social loafing and procedural justice; for example George found out that conducting disciplinary actions before announcing the performance expectation of subordinates have a positive correlation with loafing and a negative one with contingent rewards. [26],[30] The results of Mortazavi's study indicated that social loafing in knowledge sharing has negative significant correlation with procedural justice and distributive justice. [7]

Lim, in investigating the effect of organizational justice on internet loafing concluded that when an employee considers unfair his organizational behaviors in terms of distribution of resources and rewards (distributive justice), organizational procedures (procedural justice), and interactions among individuals inside organizations (interactional justice), he/she has more tendency to loafing. [31] The results of a study conducted by Moshabaki indicate that internet loafing has negative significant correlation with distributive justice and procedural justice. [32] The results of the study done by Lim indicate that the correlation between distributive justice and internet loafing is a negative significant one. The feeling of dissatisfaction with allowances and salaries occurs when an individual feels inequality in the social comparison of his perception with those of others. [31]

In addition, Liden indicated that perceived loafing has a reverse significant correlation with procedural justice at the personal level. Since an organization is considered as a source of distributive and procedural justices, employees may respond to the injustice present in the organization with reducing their participation in organizational activities or doing unfavorable behaviors such as avoidance or delay. [8] In the present study, procedural justice has a reverse correlation with social loafing, but this reverse correlation is not significant.

Regarding the lack of studies don on loafing among nurses, to confirm the accuracy of the findings of the present study, one can refer to researches, which investigated the relationship of justice with positive dimensions of organizational behaviors such as organizational citizenship behavior, citizenship behavior, organizational commitment and etc., in the nursing society. In case that the positive and significant correlation has been obtained between them, it can be stated that there is a negative correlation between social loafing with justice that is a negative organizational behavior. Chu et al. in a research conducted on nurses concluded that job satisfaction, supervisors' supports, and procedural justice have significant effects on nurses' organizational behaviors. [33] Colquitt et al., by conducting a meta-analysis research regarding organizational justice, stated that there is a unique correlation between the dimensions of justice and organizational outcomes such as job performance. [23] Park, in investigating the role of organizational citizenship behaviors and organizational efficacy of nurses concluded that different dimensions of justice have positive and direct effects on organizational commitment in line with organizational efficacy. [34]

Kim et al. in investigating the effect of organizational justice on the customer citizenship behavior, found out that distributive justice is effective on the customer extra-role behaviors, and procedural justice has no effect on this variable. [24] Ali et al. founded a positive significant correlation of distributive justice and procedural justice with citizenship behavior. [35] Kumar et al. introduced distributive justice and procedural justice as factors affecting job satisfaction and organizational commitment. [36] The results of the study done by Hung et al. indicated that there is a positive correlation between perceived loafing and counterproductive work behaviors in organizations and among colleagues. [37]

Finally, the results of the present study indicated that social loafing has significant correlations with gender and years of experience. It may be guessed that females tend less to social loafing than males do because in general, they are more interested in relational social aspects of group situations than males. However, in activities requiring physical efforts, females tend to social loafing more than males do. [38]


  Conclusion Top


It can be said that distributive justice has much sensitivity for staff and managers should make more efforts to create this feeling that the distribution of resources in organizations is fair. The lack of negative significant correlation between interactional justice and loafing may be due to the fact that in Iranian organizations, the most degree of sensitivity is toward the mode of providing organizational rewards and also the procedures of promotion in organizations, while the issue of interactions with managers and matrons is in the next rank.

When an individual's coordination in teamwork is judged unfairly, the effort exerted for perceiving fairness gets moderated; therefore, that person gain more readiness for loafing. These factors cause that this individual reduces his efforts for doing common tasks and the group suffers from social loafing. This phenomenon has many negative consequences such as the decrease in group satisfaction and trust, the decrease in interpersonal interactions, the reduction in performance and personal as well as group efficacy, and consequently, the decrease in performance, efficacy and efficiency of originations. Hospitals should make efforts to reduce the possibility of social loafing to prevent the negative effects related to social loafing. One-way for attaining this objective is to highlight the importance of nursing as a job in such a way that individuals consider their tasks as significant and important and their role as nurses in caring patients is considered to be significant.

Suggestions and limitations of the study

To do the present study, one of the limitations was to attract the coordination of nurses to participate in the study. Due to the critical subject of social loafing, it was necessary to attract their trust; therefore, they were assured of complete confidentiality. By considering the obtained results, it is suggested that hospitals pay particular attentions to the reverse correlation of social loafing and the dimensions of organizational justice particularly distributive justice. They should reduce social loafing among nurses by promoting and improving organizational justice. For future research, it is suggested that the issue of loafing and its relationship with other organizational variables in the nursing society should be investigated more.

 
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