Janis Groupthink

Topics: Risk, John F. Kennedy, Decision making Pages: 3 (779 words) Published: November 25, 2011
Have you ever thought about speaking up in a meeting and then decided against it because you did not want to appear unsupportive of the group's efforts? If so, you have probably been a victim of "Groupthink". Irving Lester Janis (26 May 1918 - 15 November 1990) was a research psychologist at Yale University and most famous for his theory of "groupthink" which described the systematic errors made by groups when taking collective decisions(Wikipedia).Janis described “groupthink” as “a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group.When the members’ striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action”(Janis,1972,p.8). Janis identified eight symptoms(features) of groupthink.They were- 1)Illusion of Invulnerability-This leads the group to excessive optimism, over confidence leading them to take extraordinary risks.It may also lead them to ignore clear signs of risks. 2)Collective Rationalization-Victims of groupthink construct rationalizations and discount and discredit negative feedback and advice from the oppositions. 3)Illusion of morality-Group members often tend to ignore the ethical and moral consequences of their decisions. 4)Stereotyped views of others-Victims of Groupthink have a stereotyped view towards opponents who give different opinions. They consider them to be too stupid or weak to handle the problem. 5)Pressure on Dissent-Group members apply direct pressure on anyone who opposes the idea or validity supporting a decision or opinion favored by the majority.Example-Body language,Voice tone. 6)Self-censorship-They tend to censor themselves when they have opinions opposing the majority of the group. This minimizes the members doubts and opinions to themselves and not to the group.They withhold dissenting views and counter arguments.Example-Keeping quiet and not giving an opinion due to opposing views. 7)Illusion of unanimity-Victims of groupthink have an...
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