Groupthink Case Study
Tom, Susie, Richard, Mark, and Betty are all part of an academic learning team at the University of Phoenix. This team is tasked with the responsibility of producing a 2,500-word paper on the topic of groupthink for their social psychology class. Tom, Susie, and Richard have been on several teams together (in previous classes), but Mark and Betty are newcomers to the group.
In the first team meeting, Tom, Susie, and Richard indicate that they have worked well together in the past and they have made A’s on all of their previous team projects. They further state that they have already (prior to the first team meeting) worked out a plan to divide the paper into various parts. They have outlined what should be included in the various sections of the team paper and they have decided who should write each section.
Mark and Betty are a bit taken back by this because they were not included in the decisions that have already been made. As Mark reviews their plan, he notices that a portion of the instructions have been overlooked. That is, the instructor mentioned in the syllabus that each team member should use at least two outside references when writing his or her section of the paper, and those references should be carefully listed in the paper. When Mark asks about this, Tom (the most powerful personality on the team) laughs a bit derisively and indicates that he has had this professor before and that despite what the syllabus says, he does not check for this kind of thing in the team papers. Mark notices that Susie and Richard openly agree with Tom’s assertion. He also notices that their body language suggests that they are frustrated with his lack of "cooperation" on this assignment. After all, he is new to the group.
In subsequent classes, the professor continues to reiterate the instructions about the team paper and the outside references mentioned in the syllabus. Mark and Betty...