Group Think

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  • Topic: Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Space Shuttle Challenger
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  • Published : July 24, 2005
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Group Think
Question #2

This type of dysfunctional operation of an organization has many ways and opportunities for failure. The basic fundamentals of this process are the beginnings of failure as groups seek conformity and unity they sacrifice everything in order to maintain peace within the group. Many times this will take the individuals creative thoughts and ability to voice the creative edge thinking away. In many organizations this is a process that is continually used. It is perceived that management wants the organizations operation or process to run without any type of question or waves. Below are listed eight of the main symptoms of group think as detailed by Janis, I. L & Manns book "Decision making" Symptoms of Groupthink are divided into three types in which they can manifest


Type I: Overestimations of the group's power and morality

Type II: Closed-mindedness

Type III: Pressure toward uniformity

When broken down the three types of groupthink can be broken farther down to

eight ways groupthink causes failure.

1.Illusion of invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risks, and are overly optimistic. 2.Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warnings contrary to group thinking. 3.Illusions of Morality: Members believe that their decisions are morally correct ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions. 4.Excessive Stereotyping: The group constructs negative stereotypes of rivals outside the group. 5.Pressure for Conformity: Members' pressure any in a group who expresses arguments against the groups' stereotypes, illusions, or commitment, viewing such opposition and disloyalty. 6.Self-censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter arguments. 7.Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group decision silence is seen as consent. 8.Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group compliance.

Personal styles are limited by the group with GROUP THINK. Most of the time the individual will not take the chance to buck the system or willing to take the chance of being discredited by the core group if they do not agree with the process and or direction that is being lead.

Decision styles are affected by Group Think by mindset of the different team members and the effect and impact depends on the pressures created by the dominate powers driving the decisions being made.

Decision making is affected by the Group Think because of the lack of openness that should be displayed and offered by everyone involved. The development of the organization is dependent on the ability of the group to make decisions that are thought through and not made solely on pressures and accepted or narrow minded ways that are not thought out.

More specifically, whenever a group making policy displays most of the symptoms of Groupthink then "we can expect to find that the group also displays symptoms of defective decision-making. Seven such examples are as Janis states:

1. Incomplete survey of alternatives.
2. Incomplete survey of objectives.
3. Failure to examine risks of preferred choice.
4. Failure to reappraise initially rejected alternative.
5. Poor information search.
6. Selective bias in processing information at hand.
7. Failure to work out contingency plans.

One of the worst Groupthink decisions ever was the decision to launch the Space shuttle Challenger. "On the morning of January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

Seventy-three seconds after the countdown clock reached zero the Challenger exploded. Immediately after the explosion President Reagan appointed a commission to find out why the Challenger exploded. "In a five-volume published report, the presidential commission identified the primary cause of the accident as a failure...
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