By An Anonymous Contributor
What is Groupthink? (Sandage, 2020)
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals strive for consensus without critical analysis of the decisions being made. They try to reach a decision acceptable to all without evaluating the consequences, rather than discussing alternatives or new ideas. The term “Groupthink” was first given by Irving Janis in 1972, who was a social psychologist.
Causes (Kenton, 2022)
Causes of groupthink are not restricted to, but majorly include:
· Members of highly cohesive groups usually avoid speaking against each other. This suppresses their point of view and causes confusion.
· In certain groups, the leaders control the discussions, allowing only certain types of questions and ideas. This close-styled leadership leads to groupthink.
· Individuals in groups try to exaggerate the positive consequences and minimize the negative consequences to reduce stress. Groups that are under high stress opt for the decision without proper discussion on the topic.
Effects of Groupthink (Forbes Coaches Council, 2016)
Groupthink develops overconfidence in individuals. Whenever someone presents something, no one is there to oppose or criticize the idea. This unwanted acceptance introduces overconfidence in individuals. This negatively impacts the profitability of the organization.
· Lack of opposition
Groupthink basically refers to the lack of opposition to any decision or idea presented in the group. This lack of opposition, due to respect for the other individual or other reasons, leads to acceptance of the idea without evaluating its consequences.
· Lack of creativity
Since everyone believes and accepts one decision without discussing it properly, this leads to a lack of creativity. Not many of the individuals in the group try to come up with something new or creative, but rather prefer to just agree with the presented idea.
· Suppression of individual opinions
In groups with a lack of impartial leadership, individuals are suppressed of their right to give opinions. Some leaders just want the discussion to be structured in such a way that their desired decision is achieved automatically.
· Blindness to negative consequences
Groups that are asked to make decisions in very little time have a lot of stress on them. In this case, they act to be blind towards the negative consequences and hide them by exaggerating the positive consequences too much.
· Resistance to new information
Some groups just want to work traditionally with the information they have, rather than searching for something new. They just try to resist the new information, ignoring the consequences. These decisions cause them a huge loss in the future.
To reduce groupthink, we must deploy some checks in the decision-making process and take some precautionary measures. Some precautionary measures include:
· Exploring alternative plans
· Encouraging new ideas
· Constructively Criticizing
· Exploring risks
We can conclude that when people make decisions as a group, they might not think critically, leading to groupthink. As a result, the incorrect decisions or plans are put into action. To reduce the occurrence of groupthink, we should aim to put check and balances into the decision-making process.
Forbes Coaches Council, 2016. 10 Effects Of Groupthink And How To Avoid Them. [Online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/11/04/10-effect-of-groupthink-and-how-to-avoid-them/?sh=66df07c14cef [Accessed 15 October 2023].
Kenton, W., 2022. What Is Groupthink? Definition, Characteristics, and Causes. [Online] Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/groupthink.asp#toc-why-is-groupthink-dangerous [Accessed 15 October 2023].
Sandage, E., 2020. What Is GroupThink & Why It’s Bad For Business. [Online] Available at: https://arcoro.com/blog/groupthink-bad-business/ [Accessed 15 October 2023].