Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Is Loafing at Work Necessarily Detrimental? - A Study of the Relationship between Loafing, Productivity, and Satisfaction

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posted on 2021-11-15, 11:34 authored by Duhita, Satya

For decades, employees’ loafing behaviour has been a concern for employers because by taking time away from work activities it is seen as detrimental to workers’ productivity (Bennett & Robinson, 200; Dixon, 2005). Prior to the 1990s, loafing occurred when workers physically allocated time to non-work activities (e.g. chatting with colleagues or running non-work related errands during work hours), but since the development of Internet and Social Networking Sites (SNS) loafing behaviour has moved to include the virtual world ('cyber' space). As a result, loafing has likely become less visible and harder to detect. Paradoxically, though, some types of loafing have recently been found to help employees to recharge their concentration and to improve their satisfaction toward their jobs (Coker, 2013; Lim & Chen, 2012; Messarra, Karkoulian, & McCarthy, 2011).  Although the impact of cyber-loafing and SNS usage at work on employees’ productivity or satisfaction has been studied to some extent, little attention has been given to their combined effect with physical loafing. Existing studies have tended to evaluate the impact of loafing on either employees’ productivity or satisfaction, and very few examine both outcomes. Building from these empirical findings, this thesis examines the effects of three types of loafing collectively on both job productivity and job satisfaction via three distinct categorisations: 1) time spent loafing, 2) aggregated loafing activities, and 3) combinations of activities at particular times of the work day.   On average, white-collar respondents in this research spent about 4 hours per week loafing at work. This number is comparable but slightly lower than the weekly average of 4.2 hours spent on cyber-loafing in the Asia Pacific region (Zhou & Zhuoqiong, 2005). As expected, the study also found that job satisfaction relates positively to productivity. Similarly, autonomy as part of a job’s characteristic has a positive relationship with job satisfaction. Regarding the relationship between loafing behaviour and job productivity, loafing in the morning was found to affect job productivity negatively, especially if it is cyber-loafing activities (except for checking SNS). However, if the same activities are being conducted in the afternoon, it affects productivity positively. As regards to the relationship between loafing behaviour and job satisfaction, when loafing behaviour, both cyber and physical loafing, occurs in the morning, this exhibits a positive relationship with job satisfaction. Conversely, these are negatively related to job satisfaction when they are happening in the afternoon.  The findings of this study contribute to the organisational behaviour literature by considering the effects of the three types of loafing activities collectively on job satisfaction and job productivity. Furthermore, in drawing on international studies for measures of job productivity, job satisfaction, autonomy, and loafing behaviour, this study found appropriate levels of reliability and validity, which suggests that the New Zealand context is comparable to other studies using these measures internationally. This research also has implications for management practitioners in providing a better understanding of white-collar workers’ loafing behaviour, which could aid them in designing workplace policies related to loafing. It might also be used to inform employees on how particular loafing activities could in fact enhance their productivity without being detrimental to their organisations.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Management Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Commerce

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure Basic Research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Victoria Management School


Daellenbach, Urs