Essay on Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams

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Essay on Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams

 

Introduction

The common perception is that two heads are better than one. Nonetheless, sometimes working with groups may be counter-productive. Group assignments are crucial in higher education as they contribute to the final score of students in universities. Be that as it may, not all students take such assignments seriously thereby inconveniencing some of the other student in the group. Some of these hardworking students end up attaining lower grades due to shoddy work done by other group members. The article “Coping with Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams” provides an elaborate hypothetical situation on how some group members can take advantage of others in a team. The article highlights two types of group members; the hitchhiker and the couch potato. The hitchhiker is described as that type of group member who willfully absconds doing group assignments and passes of as though he or she has contributed constructively to the work while the couch potato is that member who barely pulls their weight. The article also provides for ways to deal with these kinds of group members.

In my experience, hitchhikers and couch potatoes are a common feature in most teams. Nonetheless, most active members in groups end up carrying the burden of doing double the work that they would have done. These kind of group members end up frustrating the other group members as the other group members end up putting in more time to cover topics that would have been shared. The hitchhikers in groups have certain common characteristics. Hitchhikers show minimal interest in the assignments and would rather do other things other than the work assigned to the group. These members do not attend group meetings and do not reply to texts or calls. These members also give false promises and do not meet any group expectations set by the group. These evasive tactics are a common characteristic of all hitchhikers.Essay on Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams

On the other hand, couch potatoes are described as those group members who are willing do some work but barely put in work. They show minimal interest in the work they do and produce sub-standard work. They are passive in group discussion and barely contribute to the final work. Team leaders who do not like telling people what to do normally have a hard time with these kinds of group members and unknowingly end up doing more work than they bargained for. The article states that in order to deal with such group members, team leaders should not fear confrontation and should be firm. Team leaders should also set standards and minimum requirements that all group members should meet failure to which such members will be reported to the professor.Essay on Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams

There are several reasons that enable such group members to survive in groups and not face the consequences of their actions. Most team leaders end up doing the work that these members would have done. The article describes this practice as absorbing these members. Absorbing these members allows them to form a habit of not doing their part and yet thinking that it is alright not to do their part. Team leaders should flush out such members by reporting them to the professor. Team leaders should also be stern in enforcing group rules. By dealing with hitchhikers and couch potatoes in groups, teams avoid a situation where some group members do all the work while others ride on their wave. Nonetheless, hitchhikers and couch potatoes will be present later on in career life. Therefore, it is important to understand how to identify such members and the best ways to deal with such members.