What Is Social Facilitation? A Guide, Tips, & Best Practices

Social facilitation refers to a psychological concept wherein a person shows better efficiency and productivity in the presence of others. Many people show such tendencies at various set-ups. They tend to perform better and work well when others are present. 

People who have to perform familiar tasks will like to do it when audiences or competitors are around. The idea of social facilitation was first proposed in the year 1898. It was Norman Triplett who came up with this concept. Later in 1920, the idea got its name, and it was called social facilitation.

The concept looks simple, but in reality, it is quite complex. Some people also show social inhibition. It means that when people are present, they may show low efficiency and productivity. 

The opposite concept might happen if the challenge or task is new. But, it means that a familiar study might be performed more efficiently when competitors are around. But not-so-familiar tasks might be impaired when there is an audience or competitors.

Understanding theories relating to social facilitation helps to know about various factors that can enhance or reduce workplace productivity. The approach has many implications; hence, it is crucial to understand it in detail.

Social Facilitation Definition Provides An Idea About Two Phenomena.

You can observe two phenomena with the above introduction and definition of social facilitation. 

1. Co-action effect

When many people are given the same task as you, there is a feeling of competition. This phenomenon is called a co-action effect. 

When you are supposed to perform in a scene with many competitors, enhance your productivity, and show better and more efficient results, this result could be because of the co-action effect.

2. Audience effect

The audience effect is where the person is working when someone is supervising him or seeing his work. Some people feel secure when there is someone to check and manage their work. This phenomenon is the audience effect. 

Some people tend to perform better when they have people around them to supervise or see them. Some people might not be comfortable in other people’s presence, so their performance might diminish. 

Examples Of Social Facilitation

With examples, the concept will attain better clarity. Just read the models to understand the term in a better way.

  • A musician who is passionate about his work will perform better in front of an audience than playing his music alone.

  • If you want to study well, then you can go to a library and do so. You have an audience effect or co-action effect there. If you look alone at home, your motivation will be minimal.

  • There’s one more contrast example in which you must know if a singer has just started signing or has just learned to sing. If he is put among the audience, he might have social inhibition and be unable to perform up to the mark. He might get uncomfortable in the presence of an audience.

With all these examples, it is clear that the occurrence of social facilitation depends upon comfort with a person’s task in the presence of others.

The person might be motivated when around people. Some people might show social inhibition when they have to perform complex tasks in the presence of many others.

Many theories can be related to the theory of social facilitation. These are mentioned below. Understanding these concepts in relation to social facilitation will provide better clarity about various concepts.

A Few Concepts And Theories Related To Social Facilitation

1. The concept of social loafing

This concept is a group approach and mentions that the task will be done easily if there is no social pressure on the group to perform well.

Also, if no group member gets the credit for its success, the motivation to work might decrease. The group members will then perform the tasks with minimal effort and just for the sake of it. 

On the other hand, when there is someone to supervise and guide the members of the group, then there will be motivation, and the entire group will perform well.

2. Yerkes Dodson law

This law is quite crucial for the concept of social facilitation. When the person has good practice for a particular job, he will perform well when it has to be conducted among competitors or between the audience.

The performance will diminish if the person has little expertise to complete a job and is put in an audience-like setting. This law says that a person’s pressure because of non-familiarity with a task might lower performance.

3. Social orientation theory

This theory explains that social facilitation might occur because of the person’s relationship with the audience.

His performance will be better if he has a good relationship with the audience. But when the connection is negative, then this will lower the performance.

4. Activation theory

There are tasks where arousal or stimulation is needed. When the jobs are quite active, the presence of a lovely audience will arouse the person to perform better.

But, when there is a quiet task that the person should act on, then this theory might not apply because, for modest tasks, there is a need for focus and not arousal.

5. Self-presentation theory

People want to impress others, which is what self-presentation theory is based on. Social facilitation occurs when people want to perform their best among the audience or others.

They want to present themselves as experts and perfect.

6. Capacity model

The capacity model refers to the capacity to remember. It says that when the person has to perform tasks that require too much remembering, then the audience, the performance might be poor. But the functions that are not too heavy and have a few things to remember, the person may perform better when put in a crowd.

Since the theory of social facilitation is based on performance, applying it to the workplace is crucial. How it is to be used, just read on to know.

How To Apply The Theory Of Social Facilitation In The Office Or Workplace?

Suppose you want to apply the theory of social facilitation in your office. In that case, there are a few important methods that you can follow.

Analyze the type of work and the person who does that work.

Understanding the work and the person who will do it is vital. Suppose the job is simple, and the person doing it is already comfortable doing it and is familiar with it. In that case, the performance will be good enough. 

Thus, to apply the concept of social facilitation at the workplace, the first thing that you must do is take up the analysis task by task. Giving the right work to the right person helps to enhance his performance.

Provide a suitable working environment.

A suitable working environment with fewer distractions, good ergonomic seating, and a positive atmosphere will motivate the person to work better.

The theory of social facilitation will apply when the environment for work is too good.

Analyze whether having an audience will be a good thing or a bad

Depending upon the person working and the kind of work allotted, one should figure out whether it is suitable to have an audience or not. 

Some people will get positive motivation when there is an audience, but some may feel social inhibition. This alternatively means that whether to keep team supervisors or not or have team competitions might be the crucial decisions the management must take.

How To Apply The Theory Of Social Facilitation Individually?

Social facilitation is a crucial theory that has social relevance. You can apply it to the workplace. But it also works when you have to apply it individually.

If you wish to enhance your performance at the office, school, sports, or some art form, you must first practice it alone.

Once you have gained expertise in the said task, you can perform your best in front of the audience. If you want positive outcomes, you must understand the factors involved.


The theory of social facilitation is crucial because it is vital to know how a person would perform in a crowd when he is an expert in that task. The study is also crucial because if there is social inhibition, then what could be the reasons for the same? Many theories are related to the idea of social facilitation. 

The theory should be implemented on individual; grounds and at the workplace level. When you want to enhance your performance among the competitors or you as a team, you need to know what factors will work in your favor. 

In reality, social facilitation is a concept that can be applied to almost all fields. Once you know what the theory means, you can use the same at all levels. 

It is to enhance performance and understand the reasons for social inhibitions. Social facilitation can be applied to many fields, and hence it is one of the important concepts in sociology.


What Is Social Facilitation?

Social facilitation is the phenomenon where the presence of others can enhance an individual’s performance on a task.

How does social facilitation work?

Social facilitation works by increasing an individual’s arousal level and motivation to perform well in the presence of others, particularly when the task is simple or well-practiced.

What types of tasks are most affected by social facilitation?

Tasks that are simple, well-practiced, and require a high level of physical or mental energy tend to be most affected by social facilitation.

What is the difference between social facilitation and social inhibition?

Social inhibition is the phenomenon where the presence of others can hinder an individual’s performance on a task, particularly when the task is complex or unfamiliar.

Can social facilitation be negative?

Yes, social facilitation can be negative if the individual is performing a complex or unfamiliar task and feels pressure or anxiety in the presence of others.

How can social facilitation be applied in the workplace?

Social facilitation can be applied in the workplace by creating an environment that promotes positive social interactions and encourages individuals to perform at their best.

How can social facilitation be managed in group settings?

Social facilitation can be managed in group settings by ensuring that tasks are appropriately matched to individuals’ skill levels and providing clear goals and expectations for the group.

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