Free-riding is a serious challenge in group projects. While there are various methods to reduce free-riding, marketing educators still face a difficult task when selecting an appropriate method for their course. In this study, we propose a students’ preferences-based approach that supports marketing educators with the selection of methods to detect and handle free-riding. To measure these preferences, students completed an online survey based on a choice task about two methods to detect free-riding and a ranking task about four methods to handle free-riding (n = 254). Their answers were analyzed using chi-squared tests, Borda scores, and rank-ordered logit models. The results show that (a) neither Dutch nor international students have a clear preference for one of the two detection methods (the reporting system vs. the process evaluation system), (b) grade discussion (a possible reduction of the free-rider’s grade based on a conversation with the course coordinator about each student’s contribution) is the most preferred method to handle free-riding, and (c) international students have a stronger preference for stricter handling methods. Marketing educators can apply the proposed approach, or use our specific findings, for designing methods to reduce free-riding in their courses.

free-riding, group project, multicultural groups, social loafing, student preferences, teamwork,
Journal of Marketing Education
Department of Applied Economics

van den Herik, E.-M. (Else-Marie), & Benning, T.M. (2021). A Students’ Preferences-Based Approach to Select Methods for Detecting and Handling Free-Riding. Journal of Marketing Education. doi:10.1177/0273475321992109