Member Reactions to Social Loafers When Doing Group-Based Assignments: A Group Processes Perspective
Keywords:group assignment, higher education, member reactions, social loafing, social exchange theory
Understanding how student teachers undertake their group work may provide solid foundation for developing essential skills required for the 21st Century teachers, and subsequently help improve group-based assessment in higher education. However, social loafing has been found to interfere with this assessment mode. This article reports on undergraduate student teachers’ reactions to social loafers when working on group assignments as part of their continuous assessment. It focuses on how they go about doing their group work and react to the social loafers. The data were collected using face-to-face semi-structured interviews from 18 purposefully and conveniently selected participants. The findings have indicated procedures that students observe in doing their group assignments such as formulation of own group norms and rules, and holding of meetings for the work being determined by the nature of the assignments, and their submission deadlines. Additionally, it has been found that group members employ humanitarian, punitive and threatening approaches as they react to social loafers. The article concludes that proper planning for students’ group assignments is important and; both instructors and students should play their roles accordingly to overcome the problem of social loafing when the use of group-based assessments is indispensable within higher education contexts.
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