Journal: Group Think Assignment

Journal: Group Think Assignment

Journal: Group Think Assignment

Review the resource on groupthink located in the module reading and resources section.

Would groupthink be considered a supported or unsupported strategy for resolving ethical conflicts? Explain why or why not.


For additional details, please refer to the Journal Guidelines and Rubric PDF document. PLEASE SEE THE ARTICLE ATTACHED TO COMPLETE THE ASSIGNMENT.

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    The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2nd edition


    Contributors: Author:Simon Taggar

    Edited by: Steven G. Rogelberg

    Book Title: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2nd edition

    Chapter Title: “Groupthink”

    Pub. Date: 2017

    Access Date: June 9, 2021

    Publishing Company: SAGE Publications, Inc

    City: Thousand Oaks

    Print ISBN: 9781483386898

    Online ISBN: 9781483386874


    Print pages: 587-589

    © 2017 SAGE Publications, Inc All Rights Reserved.

    This PDF has been generated from SAGE Knowledge. Please note that the pagination of the online

    version will vary from the pagination of the print book.



    Groupthink describes a premature consensus-seeking tendency among group members that interferes with collective decision-making processes and leads to poor decisions. Irving Janis, in his initial research, characterized it as deterioration in group member mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgments. When experiencing groupthink, members tend to make simplistic statements about the issues and more positive in-group references than those in nongroupthink cases. Journal: Group Think Assignment

    Groupthink theory has become an influential framework for understanding the origins of group decision- making fiascos and has been widely cited in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, business, political science, and communication. The appeal of the concept is evidenced by the ease with which it can be applied to numerous group decisions and the potential for groupthink to occur in various work situations.

    Groupthink is likely when members

    • are in a highly cohesive group; • perceive a stressful situational context such as time pressure; • perceive the task to be important, difficult, and involving; and • are striving for unanimity rather than evaluating alternative courses of action.

    Group cohesion may be a function of mutual attraction, comradeship, enthusiasm, and devotion to a common course; desire to belong to the group; or loyalty to a leader. Other antecedents of groupthink may be structural and procedural faults of the group, including insulation, promotional (or directive) leadership, lack of norms requiring methodological procedures, and homogeneity of members’ social backgrounds and ideology.

    Groupthink theory identifies specific symptoms of defective decision making and prescribes a number of concrete and useful remedies for avoiding them. The original symptoms of groupthink identified by Janis are as follows:

    • Illusion of invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

    • Collective rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warnings contrary to group thinking. • Illusion of morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical

    consequences of their decisions. • Excessive stereotyping: The group constructs negative stereotypes of rivals outside the group. • Direct pressure for conformity on dissidents: Peers pressure members of the group who express

    arguments against the prevailing group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

    • Self-censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counterarguments. • Illusion of unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s

    decision—silence is considered consent. • Reliance on self-appointed mind guards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting

    the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

    Research suggests that additional symptoms may include the following:

    • Group insulation: Failure to initiate or maintain contact with an opposition group and lack of coordination with third-party mediators.

    • Creation of time pressure: Failure to extend the time period for reaching a decision. • Lack of impartial leadership: Less available information is used and few solutions are suggested

    when leaders are directive. • Decision making: Lack of methodical decision-making procedures.

    By facilitating the development of shared illusions and related norms, these symptoms are used by groups to maintain esprit de corps during difficult times. The major thrust of groupthink theory is that the presence of a number of the previous symptoms increases the probability that a group will elicit groupthink. That is, the more symptoms of groupthink, the more unfavorable the outcomes. Journal: Group Think Assignment

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    Groupthink may be avoided if the group does the following:

    • Understands groupthink: The group is made aware of the causes and consequences of groupthink. • Has an open climate: The leader is neutral when assigning a decision-making task to a group, initially

    withholding all preferences and expectations. This practice can be especially effective if the leaders consistently encourage an atmosphere of open inquiry with free discussion, nonjudgmental attitudes, and acceptance of divergent thinking. The leader gives high priority to airing objections and doubts, and is accepting of criticism. Groups are divided into two or more separate deliberative bodies as feasibilities and are evaluated.

    • Avoids being too directive: The leader exercises the leadership role by avoiding being too directive. It is important that the leader avoid exerting undue influence on other group members.

    • Has coping mechanisms: Groups should be provided with some means of coping with decision- making stress.

    • Avoids isolation: Outside experts should be included in vital decision making to provide critical reaction to the group’s assumptions. Tentative decisions should be discussed with trusted colleagues from outside the decision-making group. In this way the group avoids isolation with limited data and few perceived choices. The organization should routinely follow the administrative practice of establishing several independent decision-making groups to work on the same critical issue or policy.

    • Assigns members the role of critical evaluator: Each group member should be a critical evaluator, with the role of devil’s advocate assigned to several strong members of the group. After reaching a preliminary consensus on a decision, all residual doubts should be expressed and the matter reconsidered. The group should be forced to reexamine its assumptions and rationalizations and to consider unpopular alternatives. A sizable amount of time should be allocated specifically to surveying all warning signals from rival groups and organizations.

    Research Support

    Janis applied groupthink through qualitative analyses of defective decision-making cases such as the appeasement of Nazi Germany, the Bay of Pigs, Pearl Harbor, the North Korean invasion, the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the Watergate cover-up. He compared the decision-making processes involved in these fiascoes with those cases in which there was more effective decision making, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Marshall Plan. Groupthink has now become part of modern vernacular and continues to be used to explain perceived decision making failures (e.g., the United States’ decision to invade Iraq in 2003, the cover-up of child sexual abuse at Penn State involving football coach Joe Paterno in 2012).

    Studies directly testing the groupthink model use one or a combination of three methods: case study, laboratory experiment, and content analysis. Although most studies have examined the antecedents of groupthink and defective decision making, researchers have attempted to expand on the model and provide the underlying psychological mechanisms producing groupthink, such as social categorization, compliance and internalization, and group polarization. Overall, the validity of the groupthink model remains questionable.

    Laboratory experimental studies usually select subjects (often students) and assign them to groups of three to six members to complete a 20- to 40-minute decision-making task. They have mainly focused on the antecedent conditions of groupthink, including leadership, group cohesiveness, external threat, and so on. These studies have demonstrated that a directive leadership style with more mind-guarding and more self-censorship is predictive of groupthink. In addition, there is general support that lack of decision- making procedures increases groupthink; and external threats, particularly time pressure, appear to promote symptoms of groupthink and defective decision making. However, contrary to Janis’s predictions, laboratory studies have found little or no support for group cohesion as a predictor of groupthink. However, these studies have been criticized for using various operationalizations of cohesion and for operationalizing groupthink poorly or inappropriately because individuals may not have perceived themselves as group members. Moreover, although isolated groups do seem to consider fewer alternatives and make poorer decisions, they do not have an illusion of invulnerability and do not consult with experts less often than do less insulated groups. Journal: Group Think Assignment

    Overall, results of experimental studies provide only partial support for the groupthink model, and there are

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    no firm conclusions regarding its antecedents. Researchers have attributed null or contradictory results of the experimental studies of groupthink to

    • testing the model partially by including only a subset of antecedent conditions, • failure to fully capture the original meanings of the antecedent conditions, • failure to include all symptoms of groupthink and defective decision making, and • failure to use a decision-making task on which solution quality ranges from very poor to very good.

    In practical terms, research has applied the groupthink model to various managerial domains, such as decision making, leadership, and the management of organizational teams. In these domains groupthink has been regarded as a detrimental group process and, as a result, many training programs addressing leadership and team performance have incorporated various strategies to avoid groupthink in the workplace. There has been little empirical work conducted to demonstrate groupthink’s negative implications in organizations. However, the few studies that have been conducted provide evidence that groupthink hinders the effectiveness of work teams. Journal: Group Think Assignment

    Most recent research references to groupthink have been in regard to group creativity, because groupthink hinders considering new pathways of thought, using a broad pool of task-relevant resources, and fully considering all alternatives. Group input research suggests that groupthink may be mitigated, and creativity improved, by factors such as group diversity (e.g., demographic, goal, and information), transformational leadership, and shared mental models. Group process research suggests that ways to increase creativity, and avoid groupthink, include reflective reframing (group members make new sense of existing knowledge by mindfully listening to and building on the ideas of others), use of two or more knowledge-based subgroups, after event reviews with team leaders (learning procedure that gives learners an opportunity to systematically analyze their behavior and to be able to evaluate the contribution of its components to performance outcomes), building collective team identification, and group reflexivity. However, these studies remain largely equivocal on how best to improve the exchange, discussion, and integration of task-relevant information and perspectives in groups. Journal: Group Think Assignment

    Simon Taggar

    See alsoGroup Cohesiveness; Group Decision-Making Quality and Performance; Group Decision-Making Techniques; Social Norms and Conformity

    Further Readings

    Baron, R. S. (2005). So right it’s wrong: Groupthink and the ubiquitous nature of polarized group decision making. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 219–253. doi:10.1016/S0065-2601(05)37004-3

    Choi, J. N. (1999). The organizational application of groupthink and its limitations in organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 297–306. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.84.2.297

    Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes. Oxford, UK: Houghton Mifflin.

    McCauley, C. (1989). The nature of social influence in groupthink: Compliance and internalization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 250–260. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.57.2.250

    Packer, D. J. (2009). Avoiding groupthink: Whereas weakly identified members remain silent, strongly identified members dissent about collective problems. Psychological Science, 20, 546–548. doi:10.1111/ j.1467-9280.2009.02333.x

    Park, W. W. (2000). A comprehensive empirical investigation of the relationship among variables of the groupthink model. Journal of Organization Behavior, 21, 873–887. doi:10.1002/ 1099-1379(200012)21:8<873::AID-JOB56>3.0.CO;2-8

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    Tetlock, P. E. (1979). Identifying victims of groupthink from public statements of decision makers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1314–1324. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.37.8.1314

    Turner, M. E., Pratkanis, A. R., Probasco, P., & Leve, C. (1992). Threat, cohesion, and group effectiveness: Testing a social identity maintenance perspective on groupthink. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 781–796. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.63.5.781

    Whyte, G. (1989). Groupthink reconsidered. Academy of Management Review, 14, 40–56. doi:10.2307/ 258190

    Whyte, G. (1998). Recasting Janis’s groupthink model: The key role of collective efficacy in decision fiascos. Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73, 185–209. doi:10.1006/obhd.1998.2761

    • groupthink • group decision making • antecedents • decision making • experimental studies • cohesion • social psychology

    Simon Taggar 10.4135/9781483386874.n202

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    • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2nd edition
      • Groupthink
        • Research Support
        • Further Readings
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    PSY 570 Journal Guidelines and Rubric

    Overview: Journal activities in this course are an opportunity to share personal examples and reflect on the course content in a safe and private environment. Because of nature of the information posted, only the instructor can view and comment on your assignment. Journal assignments should be 300 words or less. Each journal is graded individually. Guidelines for Submission: Submit assignment as a Word document with double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Journal: Group Think Assignment

    Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (90%) Needs Improvement (70%) Not Evident (0%) Value

    Personal Reflection on

    Ethical Content

    Student provides a sincere and comprehensive personal reflection of the ethical course content

    Student provides a sincere individual reflection of the ethical course content

    Student provides a reaction to the ethical course content, but does not provide a personal reflection of the ethical course content

    No content of the journal is supported with a personal reflection of the ethical course content


    Depth of Knowledge

    The journal demonstrates excellent depth of knowledge of the module content and exhibits careful consideration of the topic

    Most of the journal demonstrates good depth of knowledge of the module content and reveals that the student has read the module content

    The journal shows limited depth of knowledge, indicating that the student may have reviewed the module content but needs to explore further

    The journal does not address the journal prompts and reflects that the student has not read the module content


    Organization/ Style

    The journal is written in a style that is appealing and appropriate for the intended audience and presented in a clearly organized manner

    Most of the journal is written in a style that is generally appropriate for the intended audience and is mostly clear; organization does not interfere with communication

    The journal is written in a style that considers the audience, but is difficult to understand in parts

    The journal is written in a style that does not attempt to consider the audience, and the content is not clearly communicated/is difficult to understand


    Writing Almost all of the journal is free of errors in grammar

    A majority of the journal is free of errors of grammar; errors are marginal and rarely interrupt the flow

    The journal contains some errors of grammar, but these are limited enough so that assignments can be mostly understood

    The journal contains errors of grammar that make the journal difficult to understand


    Earned Total 100%