Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 537–561 | Cite as

Withholding Effort in Organizations: Toward Development and Validation of a Measure



Field research into the topic of withholding effort and its variants (shirking, loafing, free riding, and job neglect) has been limited due to a lack of measures that are applicable to organizational settings. This study used a multi-phase process to ascertain a measure of withholding effort that can be used in organizational settings. Items were generated through literature review and discussions with practitioners; culled by the authors; and tested in a field study in multiple, diverse organizations. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses found the construct of withholding effort to be multidimensional, but not necessarily as previous theoretical work in the area would suggest. Correlations of the various dimensions of withholding effort scales with existing scales tapping a wide range of employee attitudes were consistent with a priori expectations. Implications for the use of these scales in future workplace research and their practical application in organizations are discussed.

withholding effort social loafing shirking neglect free riding 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Commerce, College of BusinessNiagara UniversityNiagara University
  2. 2.Niagara UniversityUSA

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