Understanding individual personalities can help students (and faculty) handle unproductive situations within group work.  Elearners identify five personalities that can cause distribution to group dynamics and provides suggestions for working with those personalities within a group.

Students can complete a Team Style Inventory to find out their dominate and preferred personality when in a team or group setting.

One common problem groups experience among team members is the  “free-rider” or social-loafing team member.  Wikibooks identifies several causes of social loafing.  Some things faculty can do to reduce social loafing from occurring within a group include:

  • Create appropriate group sizes for the project.
  • Make individual contributions meaningful; create task interdependence among group members.
  • Promote the use of tools that capture individual contributions to make each student’s contributions more visible (e.g., wiki, Google Docs)
  • Encourage groups to have a progress-checker, to hold members accountable for contributions and to remind them of deadlines and expectations. 

Another problem experienced by groups is a dominating group member.  The following site provides a useful table of Assertive vs. passive vs. aggressive behavior .