All entries for Wednesday 17 April 2013

April 17, 2013

RDM: Groupthink

During the RDM module, we did a worksheet on groupthink, where we had to match its symptoms (such as rationalization and belief in group morality) with the given statements. At the time, I found it slightly similar to the concept of establishing rules when brainstorming as a group. More specifically, the suggestions that ideas should not be criticized at the outset and that one person should not dominate the proceedings so much so that he/she steers the group towards his/her personal perspective.

In the post module period, I have been motivated to learn more about groupthink. For example, I have learnt that the proposition of groupthink was developed by Irving Janis in 1972. The underlying idea is that groupthink usually happens when there is an autocratic leader and when the team is restricted from accessing contrary perspectives. It can have a number of drawbacks in terms of the decision making process. For instance, the option that is favored by the majority can be accepted without a challenge, the team can suffer from overconfidence, and other more viable alternatives may be ignored all together.

These drawbacks can be avoided, however, by a few simple steps such as: ensuring everyone critically evaluates the decisions, dividing into subgroups, inviting group members to throw fresh ideas and encouraging at least one person to play the role of the devil's advocate. All of these should be important considerations for us in any next decision making process that we undertake.

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