The Dangers Of Groupthink And How To Avoid Them

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Groupthink is a term that was first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving Janis. It applies to organizations where group members are so close-knit that they fail to think for themselves or act independently. In short, it's a way of thinking that leads to bad decision-making.

Groupthink can be seen as an extreme form of conformity. Still, it differs from other forms of conformity because it involves following the majority opinion and being willing to sacrifice one's own ideas and opinions. It is often associated with situations where little information is available, and people have to make decisions based on incomplete data. This may lead to poor decisions, which could potentially cause harm to others.

KEY Takeaways

  • Groupthink is a term that describes a situation where a group of people makes decisions or comes to a conclusion based on the opinion of a majority rather than independent thought.
  • Structured decision making helps you avoid groupthink.
  • There are several ways to avoid groupthink, including promoting dissent, establishing norms against groupthink, and using effective decision-making techniques.

Causes of Groupthink:

Pressure to conform, self-censorship, and the illusion of unanimity. 

Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon that can occur when a group of people make decisions or come to a consensus while under pressure to conform, self-censor, or believe that they are in unanimous agreement. The pressure to conform can come from the group leader, the rest of the group, or some external force. Self-censorship can refer to either individual censoring their own thoughts or the group censoring information that does not support its position. 

Symptoms of Groupthink:

Rationalization, pressure to agree, and fear of dissent. 

Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon that can occur when a group of people make decisions or come to conclusions based on the opinion of the majority rather than critical thinking and individual analysis. Symptoms of groupthink include rationalization, pressure to agree, and fear of dissent. When groupthink is present, individuals are afraid to express their own ideas or opinions if they are seen as dissenting or not conforming to the rest of the group. 

How to Avoid Groupthink:

Promote dissent, establish norms against groupthink, and use effective decision-making techniques. 

Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon that can occur in any group but is especially likely to happen in groups that are under pressure to make decisions quickly. Groupthink can lead to poor decisions and even disaster. You can do three things to avoid groupthink: promote dissent, establish norms against groupthink, and use effective decision-making processes. 

1) Promoting dissent:  

When individuals don't feel safe expressing their own opinions, they won't speak up. They'll just go along with whatever the group decides. So if you want to prevent this kind of behaviour, you need to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions. It would help encourage your employees to share their ideas freely and openly, without fear of reprisal.

2) Establishing norms against groupthink:  

When someone expresses their opinions, they should be treated fairly and listened to respectfully. If you want to avoid groupthink, you need to set clear rules about what constitutes acceptable behaviour. For example, you might say that in meetings, no one will interrupt another person who's speaking unless they're asked for permission first. Or you might decide that anyone who disagrees with the majority must have a chance to explain why.

3) Using effective decision-making techniques:  

It would help if you found ways to ensure that your group makes good decisions. One way to do this is by using structured decision-making techniques. These techniques help you identify problems, gather data, analyze them, and reach a conclusion. Then you can take action based on those results.


Groupthink is a common problem in many organizations today. It's important to understand how it works to manage our decision-making process better and work together more effectively.


Posted on February 21, 2022 by  Quality Gurus

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