What is the Ringelmann Effect

In 1913, the French professor Max Ringelma set up a series of very interesting experiments, in practice proving a decrease in the productivity of individuals as the group in which they function grows. In simple terms, according to the Ringelmann effect, the larger the group, the lower its productivity.

The experiments were as follows. They took the most ordinary people and asked them to lift weights. For each - recorded the maximum weight that he "pulled". After that, people were united into groups, first - in two, then - four people, eight.

The expectations were clear: if one person can lift - conventionally - 100 kg, then two people should lift together either 200, or even more. After all, the mythical idea that group work allows you to achieve more, that its result exceeds the sum of the individual results of group members, already existed. And it still exists and is actively supported.

But - alas! Two people raised only 93% of the sum of their individual indicators. And eight are already only 49%.

We checked the results on other tasks. For example - on a tug of war. And again - the same result. The number of groups was increased - the percentage only dropped.

The reason is clear. When I rely on myself, I do my best. And in a group, you can save energy: no one will notice, as in the story of the villagers who decided to pour themselves a barrel of vodka for a holiday. From each yard - a bucket. When spilled, it was discovered that the barrel was full of the purest water: each brought a bucket of water, hoping that his cunning would not be noticed in the total mass of vodka.

What does passivity have to do with it? And despite the fact that when I act, I willy-nilly remember and record my efforts for myself. In the future, I apply exactly that much or even less. Forming a passive attitude to business, in which he is involved with others himself.

Accordingly, in the case of social passivity, we can say that we perfectly understand its origin and the fact that it ultimately leads to a drop in results to zero. Not right away - inertia is a great thing. But still.

It must be said right away: no social technologies have yet made it possible to overcome the Ringelman effect. You can read the spells from the "teamwork guru", but the larger the group, the more passiveness it is typical for a person to show.