Groupthink: The Desperate Drive for Consensus at Any Cost Irving L

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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.

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