Ryan Powers Dr. Benita Dilley CATA 235: Small Group Communication March 21, 2006 Book: Janis, Irving L. Groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982 Executive Summary: In this book Janis writes about the group phenomena known as groupthink. He breaks down the some of the reasons why groupthink occurs and gives theories, implications, and applications of groupthink. Also, he connects his findings on groupthink to political fiascoes and demonstrates that groupthink is the leading cause behind these mishaps. Some of his examples are from foreign policy fiascoes such as the The Bay of Pigs, The Korean War, Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since this presentation is very short and limited I have chosen to focus directly on the Bay of Pigs fiasco and show how Janis portrays it as a product of groupthink.
I. Introduction A. Groupthink is a quick and easy way to refer to a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action (9). B. Thesis: The Bay of Pigs is a United States foreign policy fiasco that is directly related to symptoms of groupthink. C. Forecasting of Key Points: 1. There were six major miscalculations made by the presidential advisory group. 2. There were four key factors why the plan failed according to the group after the fiasco occurred. 3. Janis counters these by proposing that the underlying reason why the plan failed was because of groupthink. II. Body A. The Bay of Pigs was bound to fail due to these six false assumptions made by the advisory committee. 1. No one will know that the United States was responsible for the invasion of Cuba. Most people will believe the CIA cover story, and skeptics can easily be refuted (19). 2. The Cuban air force is so ineffectual that it can be knocked out completely just before the invasion begins (21). 3. The fourteen hundred men in...
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