When teams do not function the way they ought to

Gavriel Salomon, Tamar Globerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It can be assumed that academic learning is an active, generative and effortful process, that is - a mindful activity. Cooperative student teams are expected to increase participants' mindful engagement in learning and thus to improve its outcomes. Although this is sometimes the case, there are social-psychological effects that debilitate team performance. Two illustrations from recent studies are provided. It is argued that the study of team work cannot be limited to intrapersonal cognitions and to simple interactional processes. Teams are social systems in which cognitive, motivational and behavioral processes become increasingly interdependent and these processes need to be studied. Such interdependencies give rise to negative effects some of which are discussed in this article: the "free rider", the "sucker", the "status differential", and the "ganging up" effects. The article concludes with a few speculations about possible mechanisms to overcome such effects when complex and exploratory tasks are given to student teams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgemenfs-The writing of the paper was supported by a Spencer Foundation grant given jointly to the authors. Requests for reprints should be sent to Gavriel Salomon, Department of Communication, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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