Two Free-Rider-Accepting Methods of Organizing Groups for a Business Game


  • Precha Thavikulwat
  • Jimmy Chang


Based upon the proposition that free riding should be ac- cepted amorally as a law of nature to which participants of a business game ought to be attuned, we devised two meth- ods of organizing groups for a business game. One method initially assigns participants to single-person groups; the other method initially assigns them to an all-inclusive group. Both methods include unlimited opportunities for any participant to switch to any group whose membership is below the smallest preferred size of its members. We involved 60 participants in a design-science study of the two methods to test workability. For both methods, we found that 40% of the participants switched groups and that the participants behaved rationally by taking group size into account in their group-membership decisions. Neither method is favored over the other. Random assign- ment to both methods is suggested to raise the proportion of participants who will be presented with the free-rider issue and simultaneously empowered to resolve it. Amoral treatment of free-riding may suggest networking principles that have application beyond business games.