One instance of teamwork that illustrates the issue of the free-rider problem is a project for a managerial class that required groups to prepare presentations. It was a complicated tax that required analysis of complex concepts and input from all team members. The team was evaluated positively for this task. However, the experience of managing free-riders provides implications for understanding the impact of this problem on the outcomes of work.
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At the beginning of the project, the group selected a leader who would manage all aspects of the work. When it became evident that one of the participants did not complete his part in time, the leader addressed the problem by offering an option similar to the exclusive territories contract described by Brickley, Smith, and Zimmerman (2016), while Ark (2017) refers to this as the assignment of unique responsibilities. The idea was to allow the free-rider to present a separate segment, more extensive than that of other group members, without additional support from others. The incentive with this strategy was in the fact that the individual would be fully responsible for his presentation of the project, thus, the inability to prepare can result in adverse outcomes.
The issue in question is common not only in teamwork but in other areas as well, for instance, manufacturing. According to Brickley et al. (2016), the free-rider problem is typical for businesses with independent distributors wanting to use a brand name for their benefit. Overall, one strategy that can be used to address the free-rider problem is an exclusive territory, in which a company is fully responsible for operations in specific areas or segments.
Brickley, J. A., Smith, C. W., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2016). Managerial economics and organizational architecture (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Ark, T. W. (2016). How to avoid the free rider problem in teams. Web.