Groupthink is a situation where people a group make decisions without careful considerations of the impacts of the decisions. The takes mentality leads to deterioration of mental efficiency in each. Most decisions made under the influence of Groupthink lack reality testing and moral judgment. The people involved in the group decision making tends to ignore alternatives and make decisions that dehumanize other groups. A group is likely to be affected by Groupthink if its members are mainly drawn from the same background. When there are no clear rules for decision making and the group is insulated from outside opinions, it tends to make decisions basing on the effects of group thinking.
How Groupthink works
Groupthink simply refers to making irrational decisions in a group without taking into consideration the effects of the decision. People tend to shield in a group when making decisions because they believe the decisions will not affect them directly. There are different symptoms which you can use to tell whether you are about to make decisions in your group based on groupthink. There are also several remedies you can put in place if you like to avoid the effects of Groupthink.
Symptoms of Groupthink
“Illusion of invulnerability”
The Groupthink encourages excessive optimism which leads to taking extreme risks. It is not the best approach for you to take even if you are acting in a group, all decisions should be weighed and avoid taking excessive risk. It is okay to take some risk, but the excessive risk is not encouraged in any business settings. The groupthink mentality leads to taking excessive risks because members believe they are immune when in the group.
When members are in a group, they tend to discount warming and are unable to reconsider their assumptions. They are drawn to a conclusion even without carrying out due diligence to know whether the warnings which they have arrived at can affect their operation. When people think of a group, they tend to think collectively without involving their individual’s judgments to know whether the decisions they are about to take is right or it is too much for the business to bear.
Belief in inherent morality
When members make decisions based on groupthink, they tend to ignore ethical or moral consequences and believe in the righteousness of their cause. If you are in a group and you discover people are making decisions without taking into consideration the psychological or ethical consequences, then you should raise a red flag and know you are about to enter into group thinking which can affect your operation as a group or business enterprise.
Stereotyped views of out-groups
Other groups are seen as enemies after you start thinking in a group. It leads to lack of sufficient response to the conflict as it appears unnecessary. It is a common symptom in group thinking which can affect your organization to a big extent. Managers should treat each conflict with caution so that the business can thrive.
Direct pressure on dissenters
The members of the group become under pressure not to express alternative views against any of the views which the group take even if they are negative views. It is a factor which can lead to failure of business. Each leader of a group should be open-minded and identify such views after they set in and look for ways of getting rid of them.
If you have doubts from the perceived group consensus, then you will find it very hard to express your views or doubts. You will remain in the group but hide your opinion from the group due to fear of the group members objecting your opinion or even seeing you as a hindrance to the progress of the team.
Illusion of unanimity
The major observations and judgments are assumed to be unanimous. The group does not give a chance to different members to express their views and come to a conclusion. The decision which is made by few people in the group is considered unanimous even without giving other members opportunity to assess the decision in details so that they will know whether it is a decision worth making.
If members have information which is contradictory to the group leader decision, the members will tend to hide the information and hide it from the group members. The moderators at ‘The_Donald” on Reddit.com are a contemporary example of this. They believe the information will lead to destroying the cohesiveness and the decisions which the group has made. It is a negative symptom which can result in the group lacking the necessary information it needs to make the right decision.
Remedies for Groupthink
There are different measures which you can adopt to prevent groupthink. You can try the following measures:
- Each member should be assigned a role of critical evaluator
- For the leader to prevent groupthink from affecting his group, he should assign each member the role of being a critical evaluator. It will make it easy for each member to assess the decision and come up with the best alternatives.
- Leaders should avoid stating preferences right from the outset
- Group members will tend to have some respect for the group leader, if the leader will state preferences from the onset, then there are high chances other members of the group will support his opinion due to fear of appearing to be opposing. The leader should have an open mind to accommodate as many views as possible.
- Members to discuss group deliberations with associates of the group
- If each member discusses group discussions with an associate, it will be easy for the group members to know the reaction of other people about their deliberations from where the group will know whether a given decision they made is the best or there are other options they should have taken.
- An expert should be invited to the group to challenge their views
If you deal in a certain field of specialization, some experts are known to have a lot of knowledge about the field. You can invite such experts so that you will have an opportunity in your group to hear the views of the expert and compare them with the views you took in your group.
One of your knowledgeable members should be allowed to question your deliberations
If you have a member who is highly experienced in a certain field, then allow the member to challenge your deliberations from where you will get to know points of contention for you to correct the issue before it is too late.