Getting Colleagues to Carry Their Weight

July 15th, 2013 / No Comments »

By Adam Grant

When people come together in groups, there’s usually at least one member who slacks off. Whether you call it shirking or social loafing, it’s a major source of misery, and it prevents teams from achieving their potential.

It turns out that the worst offenders are American men. When psychologists Steven Karau and Kipling Williams carefully analyzed 78 different studies of free riding in groups, they found that it was more common among men than women, and in Western than Eastern countries. (On average, American men tend to be more individualistic and less group-oriented than women and non-Americans.)

When you’re stuck working with free riders, how can you motivate them to step up to the plate? Karau and Williams identified a series of factors that encourage people to contribute their fair share…….