April 30, 2011

Groupthink

Groupthink is a phenomenon that refers to the preference to follow the group consensus over the personal logic and reasoning. this can happen in any group even the good ones. there are many reasons for group thinking such as:

  • strong, persuasive group leader.
  • A high level of group cohesion.
  • Intense pressure from the outside to make a good decision.

to avoid groupthink, the team leader should understand and explain the groupthink phenomenon, build an environment of encouraging ideas and criticism, and to follow a decision making process that is clear and involves validating decision before and after they are made.

decision making tools, such as brainstorming and  risk analysis, can also help in avoiding or minimising groupthink effect.

During meeting a team leader should:

  • always look for signs of groupthink.
  • if signs are identified, the team leader should discuss the issue with members and make it clear.
  • assess all risks involved in any decision to be made. if risks are high, the leader should seek more validation for the decision.
  • can ask for external information and validation.
  • use decision making tools and techniques to avoid groupthink in the future.

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. good post…groupthink is quite important to avoid subjective decision ..especially the leader should aware that robust decision is made under conflicts rather than ‘harmony’

    01 May 2011, 00:41

  2. Also, I think group thinking is also something that can be eliminated through effective leadership. By having a leader that encourages individuality, confidence and creativity, people will not fall into the trap of groupthinking. Moreover, even diversity plays a big role in removing groupthinking. Individuals from diverse background tend to bring in their own individualtiy into the group.

    01 May 2011, 02:14

  3. I want to add on what Aditi supports that Group think is more likely to happen when there is an autocratic leader. . . .Fear always increase that phenomenon….......

    01 May 2011, 12:40

  4. I think even effective leader cannot guarantee a groupthink free decision. an effective leader should keep an eye on everybody’s behaviour and try to act once there are indications for groupthink. some people have inherited/ taught tendency to follow the group and not to share ideas. i.e. they might give opinions but not necessarly what they really believe becuase it conflicts the group opinion.

    01 May 2011, 14:49

  5. nice discussion here,
    i think to minimize groupthink, leader should assign one person to act as devil’s advocate in order to give constructive challenge to every assumption or decision that group made. thus, by having this type of person, it will encourage people within group to think critically and capture every possible gap before making final decision. as consequence, a robust decision will be made in the end.

    02 May 2011, 06:05


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