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What Is Groupthink In Psychology

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What Are The Effects Of Groupthink

Groupthink – A short introduction

Therefore, the impact of groupthink includes the following: Lack of creativity. Over reliance on groupthink has a negative impact on an organizations bottom line. Optimal solutions to problems can be overlooked. Lack of feedback on decisions and therefore poor decision making.

What can you do to avoid groupthink?

Better Decision Making: 5 Ways to Avoid Groupthink

  • Build a diverse team. Avoiding groupthink starts with hiring and promotions.
  • Structure meetings intentionally.
  • Expect even encourage conflict.
  • Letterman Or Leno: A Groupthink Analysis Of Successive Decisions Made By Nbc

    In the first decision, all the antecedents of Janis groupthink model were present. The decision-making group, led by Bob Wright , was cohesive, insulated from outside opinion, homogeneous and under stress to make the right decision. Wrights view was that Leno would be a better host and he actively voiced his opinion at the outset, NBC had established over 30 years an audience that expected certain things, and Jay Leno looked like the perfect successor to that, while David Letterman remained the ideal performer for the 12:30 show. No one in the group challenged the leaders view and NBC chose Leno over Letterman. This decision proved disastrous for NBC as Letterman accepted a contract with CBS for his Late Show and competed head to head with Lenos show and won the competition in both ratings and advertising dollars.

    The second decision was regarding what to do with Letterman since they chose Leno for the Tonight Show. In this case all the antecedents of groupthink were present except two: leader preference for a certain outcome and group insulation. Bob Wright maintained a neutral position and encouraged all the members to speak up and the presence of experts checked the insulation problem. This led to a thorough evaluation of a wide range of criteria and careful weighing of associated costs and risks. Analysis of the second decision yields information that proved that groupthink decision-making defects did not occur, despite the presence of some antecedents .

    Social Psychology In The Public Interest

    Although many countries rely on the decisions of judges in civil and criminal trials, the jury is the foundation of the legal system in many other nations. The notion of a trial by ones peers is based on the assumption that average individuals can make informed and fair decisions when they work together in groups. But given all the problems facing groups, social psychologists and others frequently wonder whether juries are really the best way to make these important decisions and whether the particular composition of a jury influences the likely outcome of its deliberation .

    Perhaps the strongest evidence for the importance of member characteristics in the decision-making process concerns the selection of death-qualified juries in trials in which a potential sentence includes the death penalty. In order to be selected for such a jury, the potential members must indicate that they would, in principle, be willing to recommend the death penalty as a punishment. In some countries, potential jurors who indicate being opposed to the death penalty cannot serve on these juries. However, this selection process creates a potential bias because the individuals who say that they would not under any condition vote for the death penalty are also more likely to be rigid and punitive and thus more likely to find defendants guilty, a situation that increases the chances of a conviction for defendants .

    Key Takeaways

    Exercises and Critical Thinking

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    What Is The Definition Of Groupthink In Psychology

    Groupthink occurs when a group with a particular agenda makes irrational or problematic decisions because its members value harmony and consistency rather than precise analysis and critical evaluation. Individual members of the group are strongly discouraged from any disagreement with the consensus and put aside their own thoughts

    Cognitive Process Losses: Ineffective Brainstorming

    8 Reasons to Wipe Groupthink Off the Face of the Earth

    One technique that is frequently used to produce creative decisions in working groups is known as brainstorming. The technique was first developed by Osborn in an attempt to increase the effectiveness of group sessions at his advertising agency. Osborn had the idea that people might be able to effectively use their brains to storm a problem by sharing ideas with each other in groups. Osborn felt that creative solutions would be increased when the group members generated a lot of ideas and when judgments about the quality of those ideas were initially deferred and only later evaluated. Thus brainstorming was based on the following rules:

    • Each group member was to create as many ideas as possible, no matter how silly, unimportant, or unworkable they were thought to be.
    • As many ideas as possible were to be generated by the group.
    • No one was allowed to offer opinions about the quality of an idea .
    • The group members were encouraged and expected to modify and expand upon others ideas.

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    Can Groupthink Ever Be Positive

    Groupthink, by definition, results in a decision that is irrational or dangerous. It is possible, however, for teams to make decisions harmoniously and with little disagreement, in ways that are not necessarily indicative of groupthink. While well-functioning teams can have some conflict, debate is antithetical to groupthink.

    As A Group Leader Keep Your Ideas To Yourself

    Whether you’re the host of the meeting or one of the more senior team members in the room, you can have a huge influence on the decision-making process.

    Dialpad tip:

    One tip that Janis offers is to have a “mindguard” in your group. The mindguard’s job is to withhold certain information to prevent overthinking and doubt in the group. Janis suggests that this can help everyone focus and minimize information overloadbut that lack of information can hurt your decision-making, so use this strategy with caution.

    If you’re in one of these influential roles, one simple way to do this when you have a hybrid or remote team is to just put yourself on mute when you’re getting the team to have a group discussion without your influence.

    In Dialpad, we can easily do this just by hitting the mic button to mute and unmute ourselves from the call screenalong with other security controls:

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    General Faqs On Groupthink

    What is the groupthink theory?

    Groupthink is the tendency for individuals to agree with each other in a group setting in order to conform and keep harmony. This can contribute to inefficient decision making as ideas and thoughts go unchallenged in favour of cohesion. In other words, individuals in the group wont disagree because they may fear social isolation.

    What causes groupthink?

    Consider An Outsiders Opinion

    Conformity and groupthink | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

    Sometimes, an outside expert can help clarify ideas and pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of ideas.

    The advantage of an outside expert is that they aren’t a part of your group dynamic and aren’t prone to the types of rationalizations that may become second nature to an in-house team. Ultimately, the value in having these agencies lies in their willingnessand really, it’s their responsibilityto express alternative or unpopular viewpoints.

    Honestly, this is probably also why contrarians tend to get so much engagement on LinkedInregardless of whether they’re legit. But that’s another blog for another day…

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    What Can Leaders Do To Mitigate Groupthink

    A leader has to maintain a healthy atmosphere of divergent thinking that steers the team away from premature convergence . In addition to creating an environment of trust and openness, in which team members are encouraged to speak up and critique ideas and opinions without fear of being reprimanded, a leader could make use of the following best practices in order to mitigate groupthink.

    Use of Devil’s Advocate role: Studies have proved that groups using the Devils Advocacy approach significantly outperformed those that didnt . The Devil’s Advocate role is that of a person who takes a position for the sake of fostering argument and conflict and is one of the oldest tools that can be used to mitigate the groupthink bias.

    Encourage authentic dissent: Conflict in teams is not always a bad thing, especially task and process conflict . Minority dissent / minority influence often stimulates the consideration of more options . By encouraging authentic minority dissent in teams, leaders can actuate a search for more information on all sides of the issue leading to the detection of issues that would have otherwise gone unnoticed . The downside of this is that dissenters are disliked and treated unfairly . So team leaders should establish procedures to protect these alternative viewpoints and protect minority dissenters from backlash and being relegated to outgroup status.

    When Are Groups At Risk Of Groupthink

    Groups may be more likely to experience groupthink when particular conditions are met. In particular, highly cohesive groups may be at higher risk. For example, if the group members are close to each other they may be hesitant to speak up and question their fellow group members ideas. Groupthink is also thought to be more likely when groups dont seek out other perspectives .

    The leader of a group can also create groupthink situations. For example, if a leader makes his or her preferences and opinions known, group members may be hesitant to publicly question the leaders opinion. Another risk factor for groupthink occurs when groups are making stressful or high-stakes decisions in these situations, going with the group may be a safer choice than voicing a potentially controversial opinion.

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    How Does Groupthink Lead To A Sense Of Rightness

    Groupthink also tends to cause group members to perceive the group as inherently moral or just. Stereotypical beliefs about other groups can contribute to this biased sense of rightness. It is important to note that while groupthink and conformity are similar and related concepts, there are important distinctions between the two.

    Why are some people more prone to groupthink?

    Groups that prioritize their group identity and behave coldly towards outsiders may be more susceptible to groupthink. Organizations in which dissent is discouraged or overtly punished are also likely to engage in groupthink when making decisions. High stress is another root cause, as is time pressure that demands a quick decision.

    Process Losses Due To Group Conformity Pressures: Groupthink

    Groupthink: Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence ...

    Groups can make effective decisions only when they are able to make use of the advantages outlined above that come with group membership. However, these conditions are not always met in real groups. As we saw in the chapter opener, one example of a group process that can lead to very poor group decisions is groupthink. Groupthink occurs when a group that is made up of members who may actually be very competent and thus quite capable of making excellent decisions nevertheless ends up making a poor one as a result of a flawed group process and strong conformity pressures .

    Groupthink is more likely to occur in groups in which the members are feeling strong social identityfor instance, when there is a powerful and directive leader who creates a positive group feeling, and in times of stress and crisis when the group needs to rise to the occasion and make an important decision. The problem is that groups suffering from groupthink become unwilling to seek out or discuss discrepant or unsettling information about the topic at hand, and the group members do not express contradictory opinions. Because the group members are afraid to express ideas that contradict those of the leader or to bring in outsiders who have other information, the group is prevented from making a fully informed decision. Figure 10.9, Antecedents and Outcomes of Groupthink, summarizes the basic causes and outcomes of groupthink.

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    Why Is Groupthink Often Bad

    Groupthink causes people to ignore or silence opposing viewpoints, creating the illusion that members of the group are in agreement. This may cause them to ignore potential dangers or take excessive risks. In military or political situations, groupthink can sometimes result in disasters or unethical actions because there is high pressure to agree with the group’s consensus.

    Whats The Best Way To Avoid Groupthink

    Since groupthink often occurs because group members fear disagreeing with the leader, it can be beneficial for the leader to temporarily step back and allow members to debate the issue themselves. One member of the team can be appointed as devils advocate, who will argue against the consensus to highlight potential flaws.

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    How To Overcome Groupthink

    However, if Groupthink does set in, it’s important that you recognize and acknowledge it quickly, so that you can overcome it and quickly get back to functioning effectively.

    Follow these steps to do this:

  • Even with good group decision-making processes in place, be on the lookout for signs of Groupthink, so you can deal with them swiftly.
  • If there are signs of Groupthink, discuss these in the group. Once acknowledged, the group as a whole can consciously free up its decision making.
  • Assess the immediate risks of any decision, and the consequences for the group and its customers. If risks are high , make sure you take steps to fully validate any decision before it is ratified.
  • If appropriate, seek external validation, get more information from outside, and test assumptions. Use the bullets above as a starting point in diagnosing things that needs to change.
  • Introduce formal group techniques and decision-making tools, such as the ones listed above, to avoid Groupthink in the future.
  • Key Points

    Groupthink can severely undermine the value of a group’s work and, at its worst, it can cost people their lives.

    On a lesser scale, it can stifle teamwork, and leave all but the most vocal team members disillusioned and dissatisfied. If you’re on a team that makes a decision you don’t really support but you feel you can’t say or do anything about it, your enthusiasm will quickly fade.

    Group techniques such as Brainstorming

    What Is Groupthink Theory

    Groupthink | Sociology | Chegg Tutors

    Groupthink theory finds its origins in George Orwells ground-breaking novel Nineteen Eight-Four about a dystopian society controlled by an unseen and unknown power.

    The term groupthink means that the majority always controls the outcomes, and often overlooks and ignores opposing opinions and voices of an individual or a few people to ensure harmony and unity in a group. But this is a distortedand often harmfulstrategy that doesnt reflect well on any organization.

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    Bay Of Pigs Groupthink

    In 1961, President John F Kennedy assisted Cuban exiles in launching an invasion to overthrown Cuban President Fidel Castro. It was a massive failure and led to a decline in relations between the US, Cuba, and the Soviet Union.

    In fact, Groupthink theory originated as a result of the failed invasion. In 1973, Yale psychologist Irving Janis began examining the theory of groupthink. He concluded that the Bay of Pigs was a clear example as it showed President Kennedy had a vision of overthrowing Fidel Castro. However, his subordinates failed to challenge his plans, instead only acting in a way to facilitate them instead.

    As JFK was only recently elected before the invasion, it was only understandable that his sub-ordinates were keen to impress. It is for that reason that groupthink occurred and resulted in one of the most dis-organized invasions in US history.

    Include Members Of Other Departments

    For instance, government officials often make changes to the school curriculum. However, they are completely illogical to teachers. They are made from a government officials perspective and not from that of a teacher. The same can be said of in the workplace where processes are put in place that make no sense to those who have to implement it.

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    How Can Organizations Encourage Critical Thinking

    Organizations that want to support critical thinking, creativity, and innovation should first foster a culture where dissent is allowed and encouraged. They should reward risk-taking, be open to ideas from all group membersregardless of their experience or positionand create regular opportunities for individuals to share their ideas, big and small.

    Avoiding Groupthink With Assumption Based Communication Dynamics

    8 Reasons to Wipe Groupthink Off the Face of the Earth ~ Creative ...

    Assumption Based Communication Dynamics is a risk management technique originally developed in 1992 to address many of the problems encountered with traditional risk management techniques. There are several methods to tackle groupthink, group consensus and defective group decision making in general, including:

    We will never know if the ABCD method would have prevented the Challenger space shuttle disaster. But the rigorous structure that ABCD imposes would certainly have made sure that all the assumptions were evaluated appropriately for risk before the launch was allowed to go ahead.

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    Lack Of Psychological Safety

    Psychological safety is a relatively new concept, but it’s vital in a workplace. This is the knowledge that you won’t be reprimanded or punished for expressing a concerns or making a mistake. Without psychological safety, members of a groupespecially more junior folkswon’t speak up because of social pressure.

    As leaders and managers, it’s our responsibility to cultivate an environment that’s conducive to healthy group cohesion and creative problem solving.

    How Is Group Thinking Reinforced

    Group thinking is reinforced if a series of conditions are met:

    • That the group is highly cohesive.
    • That you are deprived of other alternative sources of information.
    • That the leader supports a certain option.

    Thus, these conditions promote a scenario where group discussions are characterized by attempts to rationalize among all actions that are consistent with the option are taken, while discordant information is ignored or disqualified.

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    The Definition Of Groupthink

    Groupthink is a phenomenon where decision-making depends on general consensus. It tends to ignore individual voices that may present a different point of view for a solution. This can substantially affect the decision-making process and, in some cases, may even lead to negative consequences.

    Lets explore groupthink meaning and groupthink theory to better understand this complex term.

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