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Ringelmann Effect

Definition

The Ringelmann effect refers to individuals expending less individual effort on a task when working as part of a group than when working alone.

Background and History

Max Ringelmann was a French agricultural engineer who was interested in examining various aspects related to agricultural efficiency. He was primarily interested in conditions under which draft animals such as horses and oxen—and men—are more or less efficient in their work performance. Ringelmann's research represents some of the earliest systematic social psychological research. Because he was also interested in the process by which animals and men could be more efficient, his research also represents some of the earliest known human factors research. Actually, the human factors aspect of his research represented the primary focus of his research, whereas comparisons of ...

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