Teachers love to emphasise the importance of teamwork and motivation during group tasks, but what happens when neither are present? The project group of International Business freshman Julia’s got into big trouble with one of the students of the group. ‘Working with him was an absolute nightmare!’
‘When we prepared the final presentation, he didn’t do anything, so we decided to not give him any parts of our presentation.’ Problem solved? Not at all. IBS-student Julia can still hardly believe what happened that day. ‘Five minutes before our presentation, he showed up in the group chat and during our presentation he started taking over other people’s parts. Our entire presentation was one big mess!’ A fellow group member confirms Julia’s story. ‘He didn’t know what he was talking about and took the pieces of others, which confused everyone. This affected our grades and mood in a really, really negative way.’
Our entire presentation was one big mess!
During these unprecedented times, effectively performing group assignments is almost impossible. Everything is online, which, according to Julia, makes it even easier to slack off. ‘He almost never attended our meetings or responded to our text messages.’ In this case, the student also had his own business and insisted that that was much more important than his study. The teacher quickly caught on, and after a few ‘discussions’ he ultimately decided to quit the study right after the final presentation was finished, or, according to his ex-groupmates, ‘totally ruined’.
The student who ‘ruined’ the project and presentation had a different opinion on how things happened. ‘Attending meetings as much as they desired simply isn’t possible in my book.’, the ex-IBS student claimed. ‘Having your own business takes up a lot of your time, which they clearly didn’t understand. I think I did the right thing when I quit the study, and I’m sure they all agree.’ Case closed? That might be too easy. Problems with group work occur quite often, so this probably won’t be the last time Julia and her group will experience this.
We gave him way too many opportunities to better himself, and our consequences were not strict enough
So, what should you do when your project partner isn’t doing the work they should be doing? According to Thomas Frank, a productivity YouTuber, there are a few tricks for dealing with a group member that isn’t contributing to the group project. Firstly, it is important to note that the blame may lie within the system. ‘Inefficiencies in communication’ are a stark factor for failed group assignments. Make sure to take stock of everything that needs to be done, divvy up all the work and assign everything. Consequently, using a tool specifically designed for group projects, such as Google Docs or Dropbox, could help you come a long way. Lastly, give warnings when the deadlines aren’t met. Remember, you have a lecturer and student advisor to help you with the assignment, so don’t be afraid to inform them of the wrongdoings of any slacking member. Make sure you do this early on in the project to avoid future mishaps. For more tips, check out Thomas Frank’s YouTube channel.
With every group of people you meet, you will have people that you don’t like or that don’t participate
‘Looking back, I think it would’ve been better if we had kicked him out of the group immediately at the beginning. We gave him way too many opportunities to better himself, and our consequences were not strict enough.’, says Julia. ‘I’ve realised that with every group of people you meet, you will have people that you don’t like or that don’t participate. Just try to take the lead and make sure that they get put in their place when necessary!’