Freeloaders/Freeloading (Social loafing, hitchhiking, free riding) is a common problem that often arises in team work. Free riding occurs when one or more team members fail to contribute fairly towards the team’s goals. Whilst poor motivation is one cause, other causes include laziness and alienation because they don’t feel their contribution will be accepted by the group (Turner et al, 2011).
A team’s leader can avoid freeloading through assigning every team member meaningful tasks from the beginning of the team’s work together. The leader should regularly check on progress, and support team members who are experiencing difficulties.
The teacher can apply formative and summative teammate peer assessment during the progress of the teamwork. Through formative peer assessment, the teacher – and team – can intervene proactively to guide an at risk team member towards more productive contributions to the team.
Related Glossary Terms: Dysfunctional behavior, Teammate peer assessment, Teammate peer feedback