Avoiding Group Think

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Week 5 Case Study

Avoiding Group Think

Ross Buscemi


The case study called for us to determine how a Team and Project Manager can to avoid the threat of Groupthink.

The case study we are addressing this week involves how a team and Project Manager avoid Groupthink and its pitfalls. In order to understand what group think is you have to refer to Irving Janus who coined the phrase back in 1972. He related that Group Think is when a group makes a decision based on group pressure; it can lead to faulty decisions. (Janus, 1972) Some of the symptoms that Irving Janus documented of group think are Illusion of invulnerability, Collective rationalization, Belief in inherent morality, Stereotyped views of out-groups, Direct pressure on dissenters, Self-censorship, Illusion of unanimity, and Self-appointed ‘mind guards’. (Janus, 1972) In our book, Making the Team: A Guide for Managers states that there are three (3) key symptoms that take root and they are Over Estimation of the Group, Closed Mindedness and Pressure towards Uniformity. These will be the 3 areas I am going to focus on. Over Estimation of the Group Now that we know what group think is we can move on to how a team and Project Manager might avoid the mistakes and downfalls of Group Think situations. (Thompson, 2008) When a team is falling into a group think methodology a Project Manager must be able to recognize the signs before any decisions are made and set in motion. If the group is making statements that start with we feel, we think, or we suspect it is a good indicator that they just don’t know or are just following along with the consensus of the group. Group think can cause problems when everyone goes with the flow especially on a wrong decision. In using group think methodology management has to weigh the pros and cons of the group’s decision from all sides. Sometimes a little more research prior to implementing a...
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