Factors Affecting Free Riding On Teams: Implications For Engineering Education
Teamwork is increasingly promoted as a teaching-learning modality in engineering education at the tertiary level, due to its often being required in formal accreditation, ubiquity in professional engineering practice, and leveraging of successful cooperative learning methods from primary and secondary education. Despite its promise, it frequently suffers from the problem of free riding, where group members do not carry out a fair share of work. Although virtually unreferenced in the engineering education literature, a large research base exists in the social and behavioral sciences for understanding the causes of free riding in collective action settings. The purpose of this paper is to summarize some of the key results from this research, to provide an index into it for readers who may wish to delve deeper into this literature, and to discuss concrete implications for structuring engineering education research and practice related to teamwork. The summarized results include the importance of social norms, particularly of fairness and reciprocity, norm enforcement and internalization, making explicit commitments, the repeated interactions required to develop trust, and the role that reputation plays for individuals within information-sharing networks.
International Journal of Engineering Education
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Open Access Status
Tenenberg, J. (2019). Factors Affecting Free Riding On Teams: Implications For Engineering Education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 35(6A), 1703–1724.