The paper "The Concept of Groupthink" is a wonderful example of a report on management. Decision-making is regarded as an integral aspect of team activity. Studies indicate that group decision-making is implemented through a sequence of activities which include gathering and interpreting as well as exchanging the information, and adopting and identifying alternative ways of action. It also involves deciding upon alternatives by integrating the different perspectives and views presented by team members, and making a choice and monitoring the associated consequences. However, at times teams can take a flawed direction by simply failing to exchange enough information, making erroneous conclusions as well as inadequately exploring alternatives.
The pitfall of such kind of decision-making is referred to as groupthink Behl 2012, as cited in Thompson (2008, p. 166). Groupthink is a concept perceived by Irving Janis (1972), a social psychologist as something that happens when a group involves making faulty decisions due to group pressures that also cause deterioration of “ mental efficiency, a moral judgment as well as reality-testing” (p. 9). Generally, groups subjected to groupthink have a tendency of ignoring alternatives, and thus end up taking unreasonable actions which in most cases dehumanize other groups.
Therefore, groups which have no access to outside opinions, lack clear rules to govern their decision making and whose members have similar backgrounds are considered to be vulnerable to groupthink (Janis 1972). Groupthink is also defined by Janis (1982) as the psychological need for consensus particularly in circumstances that suppresses disagreement to level that thinking of alternatives is regarded as a minor approach to cohesive decision-making in a group. It also regarded as a mode of thinking where individuals in a cohesive group engage in particularly when concurrence-seeking is seen as more important than a realistic view of alternative actions that can be taken to solve the problem. The symptoms of groupthink seem when the affected members involved in decision making in a group are motivated to avoid being strict on appraising the leadership style of their leaders as well as the ideas of their colleagues.
This suggests that individuals in a group tend to adopt a soft way of criticizing, and try to avoid conflicts whilst thinking on their own.
As they gather at meetings, for example, all members of a group are seen to be amiable and tend to seek total concurrence that in most cases is recognized erroneously as a way of building consensus on all crucial issues (Dobbs 2013). It is worthwhile to note that conformity is an element of groupthink that increases with an increase in group cohesiveness. Therefore, the group tends to become more cohesive which in turn increases the inner compulsion on each member to find it useless creating disunity.
This makes all individuals in a group believe in the significance of whatever suggestions put forward by their leaders or a number of members of a group. The common symptoms practiced by victims of groupthink include; sharing of an illusion of unanimity about judgments expressed by group members who focus on favoring the majority ideas, self-censorship, and invulnerability, direct pressure on any member who from time to time show doubts about the group’ s shared illusions, the habit of holding stereotyped suggestions of key enemy groups. Over and above, victims of groupthink develop mind-guards to cover their leaders as well as other members against diverse information that is considered detrimental to the complacency already shared about the importance and morality of the past decisions in the group (Janis 1971).
Behl, A. D, 2012, Groupthink: The Role of Leadership in Enhancing and Mitigating the Pitfall in Team Decision-Making, Northwestern University.
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Hustedde, R., 2011, Recognizing and Overcoming False Consensus in Groups and Organizations, The University of Kentucky, U.K.
Janis, I.L., 1971, Groupthink, Psychology Today, New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Janis, I.L., 1972, Victims of Groupthink; a Psychological Study of Foreign-policy Decisions and Fiascoes, Boston, Houghton, Mifflin.
Janis, I.L., 1982, Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Kowert, P.A., 2002, Groupthink or deadlock: When do leaders learn from their advisors? Blackwell Publishing, Albany.
Pautz, A.J & Forrer, A.D., 2013, ‘The Dynamics of Groupthink: The Cape Coral Experience’, Hodges University, U.S.A, Journal of International Energy Policy, Vol.2, No.1, pp.1-13.
Sikula, A., 2009, ‘Moral management methodology/mythology: Erroneous ethical equations’, Ethics & Behaviour, Vol.19, No.3, pp.253-261.