Group Thinking

Topics: Steve Ballmer, Decision making, Member of Parliament Pages: 5 (927 words) Published: January 22, 2013
HARISH D P-101202080
VARUN NADIG-101202049

 Groupthink is a phenomenon in which the norm for consensus overrides the realistic appraisal of alternative course of action.
 The case seeks to explain how group harmony overrides the importance of making good decisions.
 Groupthink adversely affects many groups and can dramatically hinder their performance.

 This case deals with a civilian worker at a large air-force base who was working as a member of a process improvement team and how groupthink hinders her team s decision making ability.
 It took almost a month to come up with a plan
 It was initially 8 steps but after the team finished its plan were 19 steps.  The new plan slowed down the process by 2 weeks.

 Even though the team members knew that this system was worse than its predecessor, no one wanted to question the team s cohesion.
 The problem lasted an entire year until the General who formed the team complained about it.
 Virginia Turezyn, the managing director of Infinity Capital was skeptical about the Dot-Com boom of the late 1990.
 But after reading up of its success, she decided to invest.  She invested millions in several Dot-Coms, including I-drive, a company that was giving away storage for free. Which was the cause of loss of money for the company.

 When Virginia spoke up at a board meeting saying that they were spending too much money, the executives shook their heads and said that if they started charging for storage then they would lose their customers.  Later I-drive filed for bankruptcy.

 Steve Blank, an entrepreneur, is a member of advisory boards of many Internet start-ups.

 During a board meeting he tried to persuade his fellow board members to change the business model. Blank wanted to spend the money that was raised to acquire more customers.
 The reply that the CEO gave Steve to his suggestion was Steve, you just don t get it- all the rules have changed .

 The team didn t take the advice and ended up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Q1. What are some reasons that lead to groupthink in the cases described here? What can teams do to attempt to prevent
groupthink from occurring?
Factors that lead to group think in the above cases are:

Members mostly homogeneous (similar).

No procedural norms for decision making.

Dominated by a respected/credible leader.

Failure to examine risks of preferred choice.

Failure to re-evaluate previously rejected alternatives.

Steps that the teams can take in preventing the
groupthink are :
 Leaders should assign each member the role of critical evaluator . This allows each member to freely air objections and doubts.
 Higher-ups should not express an opinion when assigning a task to a group.  The organization should set up several independent groups, working on the same problem.

 All effective alternatives should be examined.
 Each member should discuss the group's ideas with trusted people outside of the group.
 The group should invite outside experts into meetings. Group members should be allowed to discuss with and question the outside experts.  At least one group member should be assigned the role of Devil's advocate. This should be a different person for each meeting.

Q2. How would differences in status among the group
members contribute to groupthink? in a group is one with more  It is obvious that a person who has a high status
power than the other group members.

 When a person has a higher status than others within a group, the other group members hesitate to confront, question and argue with that person.

 Thus, even when called upon to make a contribution to the discussion, a person would hesitate to say anything against the general view of the people of higher status.

 If at all he does say anything, it would usually be in accordance with the...
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