Employers of business graduates require them to be effective communicators and team members in twenty-first century work environments. As a means of developing these skills, we believe group work is important to an undergraduate business teaching pedagogy preparing graduates for the challenges of modern workplaces. Student responses to a series of qualitative and quantitative focus group activities highlighted the ‘big issues’ encountered in group activities involving an increasingly internationalised and diverse cohort of students. These issues related mainly to communication within the group and the fear of social-loafers. These insights established the basis on which proactive strategies were introduced in a subsequent teaching period to nurture and advance the quality of the learning experience within a tertiary undergraduate business education setting. Given that reduced Government funding to Australian universities has prompted the management of institutions to look to full-fee paying international students to offset shortfalls in their operating budgets, this paper explores the particular impact of increasing numbers of English as a Second Language (ESL) students on the quality of, and student receptiveness to, group based study activities.
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