Purpose Statement: The purpose of this post is to write about solutions on how to deal with Hitchhikers.
TO: Professional Writing Community
FROM: Vladimir Salas Moreno
DATE: March 10, 2021
SUBJECT: How To Deal With Hitchhikers
The reason for this memo is to inform my classmates about how to deal with Hitchhikers. In short, a Hitchhiker is someone who leeches off of the work of others while not really contributing much to the group overall. They will turn in work that was obviously made last minute, doing their best to do the least amount of work. They will not communicate effectively with the group or show up to meetings but they will get the same grade as everyone else in the group.
A Hitchhiker can ruin the dynamic of a whole group if left unchecked, the number of bad experiences with people working in groups is only increasing. When asking a class usually most of the time many people can recall experiences with bad groupmates. Usually of group members not pulling their weight in the work that they do, or not being consistent with their work, and in turn bringing everybody else down with them. What is also concerning is that the Hitchhiker most of the time receives the same grade as everyone else in the group. This can create deep resentment with the group members towards the Hitchhiker and vice versa. This would allow for harmful rumors to spread and also a toxic classroom environment.
The article attached below describes some of the solutions that can be implemented to stop a Hitchhiker in their tracks before the scenario gets too bad. A solution that works well is standing your ground from the very beginning, this means setting clear expectations for everyone in the group as well as consequences for not meeting those expectations. Consequences could include talking with the professor to kick-out the Hitchhiker or for them to personally talk to them about their actions. Another option is to set limits, do not let the Hitchhiker get away with too much at the beginning. Limits help set boundaries needed in a group, as well as keep anyone with the intention of not doing anything at bay as it is shown that it will not be tolerated.