Come on and take a free ride: Contributing to public goods in native and foreign language settings

D. Urbig, S. Terjesen, V. Procher, K.S. Muhlfeld, A. van Witteloostuijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Business schools around the world must prepare their students for two realities: operating in an English-speaking business world and working in teams. As yet, there is limited understanding of how operating in a native or a foreign language impacts students' propensity to free ride in group settings. Building on general dual process theory of higher cognition and using a unique dataset of 276 Dutch business school students, we find that students are more inclined to free ride in a foreign language setting than in a native language setting. A student's conscientiousness attenuates this relationship such that this effect is stronger for students who are less conscientious, and weaker and almost absent for those who are more conscientious. After a student decides not to not free ride but to positively contribute to the group, the specific level of contribution is not affected by foreign language. We discuss implications for practice, policy, theory, and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-286
JournalAcademy of Management Learning & Education
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • foreign language
  • cooperation
  • cross-cultural issues in management education
  • decision making
  • group dynamics
  • social behavior


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