Groupthink  

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Groupthink is a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. It is a second potential negative consequence of group cohesion.

Irving Janis studied a number of American Foreign policy 'disasters' such as failure to anticipate the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1941); the Bay of Pigs fiasco (1961) when the US adminstration sought to overthrow Cuban Government of Fidel Castro; and the prosecution of the Vietnam War (1964-67) by President Lyndon Johnson. Studying these events that it was the cohesive nature of these important committees which made these decisions and which prevented contradictory views being expressed. As defined by Janis, “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”.

Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages of reasonable balance in choice and thought that might normally be obtained by making decisions as a group. During groupthink, members of the group avoid promoting viewpoints outside the comfort zone of consensus thinking. A variety of motives for this may exist such as a desire to avoid being seen as foolish, or a desire to avoid embarrassing or angering other members of the group. Groupthink may cause groups to make hasty, irrational decisions, where individual doubts are set aside, for fear of upsetting the group’s balance. The term is frequently used pejoratively, in hindsight. Additionally, it is difficult to assess the quality of decision making in terms of outcomes all the time, but one can almost always evaluate the quality of the decision-making process.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Groupthink" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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