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GROUPTHINK THEORY

Based on the research of Irving Janis

Groupthink Theory

Highly cohesive groups frequently fail to9 consider alternatives to their course of action. When group members think similarly and do not entertain contrary views, they are also unlikely to share unpopular/dissimilar ideas with others. Groupthink suggests that these groups make premature decisions, some of which have lasting and tragic consequences.

Assumptions of Groupthink
Groupthink is a theory associated with small group communication. Three critical assumptions that guide the theory: - Conditions in group promote high cohesiveness. - Group problem solving is primarily a unified process. - Groups and group decision making are frequently complex.

What Comes Before: Antecedent Conditions of Groupthink

Three conditions that promote groupthink: -High cohesiveness of the decision-making group. -Specific structural characteristics of the environment in w/c the group functions. -Stressful internal and external characteristics of the situation.

Symptoms of Groupthink

Pre-existing conditions lead groups to concurrence seeking. Concurrence seeking occurs when groups try to reach consensus in their final decision. Janis (1982) observes three categories of symptoms of groupthink: overestimation of the group, closemindedness, and pressures toward uniformity.

Antecedent Conditions

Symptoms of Groupthink

Decision Makers Constitute a Cohesive Group Structural Faults of the Organization - insulation of the group -lack of tradition of impartial leadreship -lack of norms requiring methodical procedures -homogeniety of members social background and ideology

Stressful Characteristics

Overestimation of the Group -illusion of invulnerability -belief in inherent morality of the group Closed-Mindedness -stereotypes of out-groups -collective rationalization Pressures Toward Uniformity -self-censorship -illusion of unanimity -self-appointed mindguards -direct pressure on dissenters

Antecedent Condition and Symptoms of Groupthink

Think Before You Act: Ways to Prevent Groupthink


RECOMMENDATI ON Require oversight control Embrace whistleblowing Allow for Objection Balance Consensus and Majority Rule ACTION Establish a parliamentary committee. Voice doubts. Protect conscientious objectors. Alter rules governing choice.

Critique and Closing

Groupthink is a theory dedicated to understanding the decision-making process in small groups. The application of groupthink terminology resonates in many other decisionmaking groups. Among the criteria for evaluating a theory, four are especially relevant for discussion; heurism, scope, testability, and test of time.

HEURISM- Groupthink theory is a heuristic undertaking. The theory has generated number of assumptions about group behavior, and Groupthink remains an important part of the literature on group decision making. SCOPE- The scope of the theory could be defined as narrow. TESTABILITY- A theory should be a logical progression of ideas, not a grab-bag of phenomena that were correlated with each other in a sample of six cases. TEST OF TIME- Given that government policy decisions will always exist, the likelihood of future instances of groupthink is rather high.

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Presented by: Loria, Remie Jienne L. BAMC 3-1