College Student Journal, June 2009 By: Scott A. Meyer, Nicole A. Smith, Mary A. Eidsness, Leah M. Bogdan, Brooke A. Zackery, Michelle R. Thompson, Meghan R. Thompson, Meghan E. Schoo, Angela N. Johnson Dealing with Slackers in College Classroom Work Groups
Purpose The purpose of this study was to explore the presence of slackers in a college classroom work group. Also, how students react to slackers, and the recommendations students would make for working with slackers in future group projects.
Slacker A group member who fails to contribute equally or equitably to a group task. Considered to be a deviant group members, the presence of slackers can be harmful to a group.
Method: Focus Groups 37 Students recruited from an introductory communication’s course 5 one hour groups Each group was a team of 3 or 4 members Voluntary and Confidential
Research Questions What do group members find frustrating about working with slackers? How do group members deal with slackers? What recommendations would group members make for dealing with slackers?
Frustration with Slackers Besides the general lack of participation from slacker, most participants believe that slackers are full aware of their dysfunctional behavior. Participants reported was that slackers make excuses for their behavior. When slackers failed to do their share of work, their lack of motivation affected the group in a negative manner.
Dealing with Slackers Ignore The only option is to do the work for them Put their name on the group project, because it’s a hassle to deal with Include Assign them minor task Keep them updated with group progress
Recommendation to deal with Slackers Clear and direct communications Address potential slackers early in the project Give some type of initial warning
Effectiveness Focus Groups Purpose is to “listen, gather information and understand how people feel or think about an issue, product, service or idea. Individuals participating in focus groups are valuable sources of firsthand information.
Conclusion College students working in classroom work groups report working with slackers to be frustrating due to lack of indifference on the slackers part. Deal with slackers by either ignoring them or include them in group task. Confront slackers in future group projects.