Thursday, April 1, 2010


Groupthink is a concept that was identified by Irving Janis9 that refers to faulty decision-making in a group. Groups experiencing groupthink do not consider all alternatives and they desire unanimity at the expense of quality decisions. Learn more about groupthink and then complete the interactive exercise at the end of the discussion.
Conditions Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure to make a quality decision.
Negative outcomes Some negative outcomes of groupthink include:
  • Examining few alternatives
  • Not being critical of each other's ideas
  • Not examining early alternatives
  • Not seeking expert opinion
  • Being highly selective in gathering information
  • Not having contingency plans
Symptoms Some symptoms of groupthink are:
  • Having an illusion of invulnerability
  • Rationalizing poor decisions
  • Believing in the group's morality
  • Sharing stereotypes which guide the decision
  • Exercising direct pressure on others
  • Not expressing your true feelings
  • Maintaining an illusion of unanimity
  • Using mindguards to protect the group from negative information
Solutions Some solutions include:
  • Using a policy-forming group which reports to the larger group
  • Having leaders remain impartial
  • Using different policy groups for different tasks
  • Dividing into groups and then discuss differences
  • Discussing within sub-groups and then report back
  • Using outside experts
  • Using a Devil's advocate to question all the group's ideas
  • Holding a "second-chance meeting" to offer one last opportunity to choose another course of action

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