Groupthink: The Desperate Drive for Consensus at Any Cost Irving L. Janis Kayla Conklin October 13, 2012 Overview o Groupthink defined o Janis’ 8 Symptoms of Groupthink o Products, Support, & Pride o Remedies What is Groupthink? “A mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action” (Janis, 1971). Jonestown Massacre Janis’ 8 Symptoms of Groupthink Invulnerability Pressure Rationale Self-Censorship Morality Unanimity Stereotypes Mindguards Products, Support, & Pride Products a. Narrow-minded. b. Fail to re-examine the course of action when they learn of draw-backs or risks. c. Little to no time discussing gains and costs. d. Do not seek expert advice. e. Only show interest in facts or opinions that support their goal. Support a. Groupthink happens to maintain group self esteem. a. Provides social support to each other. b. Strive to reach unanimity to boost the morale. Products, Support, & Pride Pride a. Illusions of invulnerability leads to more risk taking. b. Members rationalize risks to decrease severity & anxiety. c. Negative stereotypes held by members give a sense of moral righteousness & pride. Remedies o Encourage members to object when they don’t agree. Needs to be reinforced by group leader. o Leaders should remain neutral instead of stating preferences. o Avoid “in-group” isolation by having outside policy & evaluation groups. o Invite 1 or more outside experts periodically to challenge views. o At least 1 member should act as a devil’s advocate during deliberation meetings. o Large group should break into smaller sub-groups & then come back together to work out differences. o “Second change meeting” Criticisms o Encouraging objections – prolonged & costly debates. o Could cause rejection, depression, and anger. o Power struggles between leaders & members. o Outside evaluation groups could cause security leak. References Janis, I. L. (1971). Groupthink: The desperate drive for consensus at any cost. Psychology Today: Reprinted by Sussex Publishers Inc. Ott, J. S., Parkes, S. J., & Simpson, R. B. (2008). Classic readings in organizational behavior. (4 ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Rosenberg, J. (n.d.). The jonestown massacre. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/1970s /p/jonestown.htm.