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Working in a team

Economics – Free riding

My experiences of working in a team relates to the years I was still in college.

My experiences of working in a team relates to the years I was still in college. The main idea
behind working in teams is that students gain more when they work collectively as a team and
they apply different skills and learn how to apply them in the core discipline. The objective of
team work learning process has its foundation on the constructive learning concept, Verschaffel
(1995, p.156) shares that the students are mostly not passive receivers of knowledge but they
should be aided to build their own knowledge and also develop their own unique skills.
The evaluation of the teams is mostly based on the team’s overall performance. All the team
members received the same score despite the individual input. Free riders received the same
score as all the other hardworking members who sacrificed a lot of their time and energy to make
astounding contributions to the team.
Free riding is a problem where one member of a group or several members don’t perform part or
all their duties and instead wait for the rest of the team members to finish the task and reap the


same benefits of their accomplishment as they are also part of the group. (Morris and Hayes,
1997, p.3) In my group, the free riders were students who were always unprepared for the
meetings and instead depended on our research and notes to make comparisons on the research
This problem was solved by grouping students collectively with individual responsibility which
were identifiable at the end of the project. (Harkins, 1987, p.1-18) This way the problem of
demotivation of the other team members who are prepared to work hard was reduced as every
student had to make an input
Morris, R. & Hayes, C (1997). Small group work: are group assignments a legitimate
form of assessment? In: Pospisil, R. and L. Willcoxson (Eds.), Learning Through
Teaching, pp. 229-233. Proceedings of the 6th Annual Teaching Learning Forum,
Perth (Australia), Murdoch University.
Verschaffel, L. (1995). Beïnvloeden van leerprocessen [Influence on learning
processes]. In: Lowyck, J. &N. Verloop (eds.), Onderwijskunde: Een kennisbasis
voor professionals [Didactics: A knowledge base for professionals], Groningen
Harkins, S.G. (1987). Social Loafing and social facilitation. Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 23, pp.

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