Groupthink

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Does Groupthink Result in Poor Decision Making?
Timothy Spencer

Report submitted in partial fulfilment of the examination requirements for the award of BA (Hons) Tourism and Business Management. Awarded by the University of Hull.

5th May 2009

Abstract

This report aimed to answer ‘Does Groupthink Result in Poor Decision Making?’ In order to do this research was carried out using the following methods: books, websites, journals and case studies (secondary sources); focus groups, team building exercises, and a recreation of Solomon Asch’s line experiments (primary sources).

The review of literature provided an insight and an understanding of the eight symptoms of groupthink. After reviewing information from secondary sources, it was realised that conformity was one of the eight symptoms. To fully comprehend how much conformity played a part in groupthink, Solomon Asch’s experiments were recreated. Before these experiments were carried out a hypothesis was made regarding conformity and age. In order to either prove or disprove the hypothesis the experiment were split into three age groups: 11-14, 16-18 and 20-25 year olds. After completing these experiments, the hypothesis was proven that conformity decreases with age. The results showed that the younger the group members are the more likely conformity will occur.

Other findings has enabled the report to come to the following conclusions that rationality does not fully exist and that people can only either think irrationally or partially rational. This is because it is impossible to think rationally because every consequence needs to be considered and it is impossible to see or predict everything which may happen. The final outcome of the report is that groupthink does not result in poor decision making, it is the combination of the underlying factors of the level of irrationality, leadership style, conformity and pure luck involved in the entire decisional process. Table of Contents

List of Tables........................................................................................................................v List of Figures.....................................................................................................................vi 1. Introduction...................................................................................................................1 1.1. Study Background..................................................................................................2 1.2. Study Area..............................................................................................................2 1.3. Aims and Objectives...............................................................................................3 2. Methodology..................................................................................................................4 2.1. Introduction............................................................................................................5 2.2. Philosophy...............................................................................................................5 2.3. Approach.................................................................................................................6 2.4. Strategies.................................................................................................................7 3. Literature Review.........................................................................................................10 3.1. Introduction...........................................................................................................11 3.2. Limitations............................................................................................................12 3.3. Models of Decision Making..................................................................................15

3.3.1. Classical Decision...
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