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Groupthink
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Groupthinkisapsychologicalphenomenonthatoccurswithinagroupofpeopleinwhichthedesireforharmony
orconformityinthegroupresultsinanirrationalordysfunctionaldecisionmakingoutcome.Groupmemberstry
tominimizeconflictandreachaconsensusdecisionwithoutcriticalevaluationofalternativeviewpointsby
activelysuppressingdissentingviewpoints,andbyisolatingthemselvesfromoutsideinfluences.

Groupthinkrequiresindividualstoavoidraisingcontroversialissuesoralternativesolutions,andthereislossof
individualcreativity,uniquenessandindependentthinking.Thedysfunctionalgroupdynamicsofthe"ingroup"
producesan"illusionofinvulnerability"(aninflatedcertaintythattherightdecisionhasbeenmade).Thusthe
"ingroup"significantlyoverratesitsownabilitiesindecisionmakingandsignificantlyunderratestheabilitiesofits
opponents(the"outgroup").Furthermore,groupthinkcanproducedehumanizingactionsagainstthe"outgroup".

Antecedentfactorssuchasgroupcohesiveness,faultygroupstructure,andsituationalcontext(e.g.,community
panic)playintothelikelihoodofwhetherornotgroupthinkwillimpactthedecisionmakingprocess.

Groupthinkisaconstructofsocialpsychologybuthasanextensivereachandinfluencesliteratureinthefieldsof
communicationstudies,politicalscience,management,andorganizationaltheory,[1]aswellasimportantaspectsof
deviantreligiouscultbehaviour.[2][3]

Groupthinkissometimesstatedtooccur(morebroadly)withinnaturalgroupswithinthecommunity,forexample
toexplainthelifelongdifferentmindsetsofconservativesversusliberals,[4]orthesolitarynatureofintroverts.[5]
However,thisconformityofviewpointswithinagroupdoesnotmainlyinvolvedeliberategroupdecisionmaking,
andmightbebetterexplainedbythecollectiveconfirmationbiasoftheindividualmembersofthegroup.

MostoftheinitialresearchongroupthinkwasconductedbyIrvingJanis,aresearchpsychologistfromYale
University.[6]Janispublishedaninfluentialbookin1972,whichwasrevisedin1982.[7][8]JanisusedtheBayof
Pigsdisaster(thefailedinvasionofCastro'sCubain1961)andtheJapaneseattackonPearlHarborin1941ashis
twoprimecasestudies.Laterstudieshaveevaluatedandreformulatedhisgroupthinkmodel.[9][10]

Contents
1 History
2 Symptoms
3 Causes
4 Prevention
5 Empiricalfindingsandmetaanalysis
6 Casestudies
6.1 Politicsandmilitary
6.1.1 BayofPigsinvasionandtheCubanMissileCrisis
6.1.2 PearlHarbor
6.1.3 UnitedStatespresidentialelection,2016
6.2 Corporateworld
6.2.1 Swissair
6.2.2 Marks&SpencerandBritishAirways
6.3 Sports
7 Recentdevelopments
7.1 Ubiquitymodel
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7.1.1 Generalgroupproblemsolving(GGPS)model
7.2 Reexamination
7.3 Reformulation
7.4 Sociocognitivetheory
8 Seealso
9 References
10 Furtherreading

History
WilliamH.Whyte,Jr.coinedthetermin1952inFortunemagazine:

Groupthinkbeingacoinageand,admittedly,aloadedonea
workingdefinitionisinorder.Wearenottalkingaboutmere
instinctiveconformityitis,afterall,aperennialfailingof
mankind.Whatwearetalkingaboutisarationalized
conformityanopen,articulatephilosophywhichholdsthat From"Groupthink"byWilliamH.
groupvaluesarenotonlyexpedientbutrightandgoodas Whyte,Jr.inFortunemagazine,
well.[11][12] March1952

IrvingJanispioneeredtheinitialresearchonthegroupthinktheory.HedoesnotciteWhyte,butcoinedthetermby
analogywith"doublethink"andsimilartermsthatwerepartofthenewspeakvocabularyinthenovelNineteen
EightyFourbyGeorgeOrwell.Heinitiallydefinedgroupthinkasfollows:

Iusethetermgroupthinkasaquickandeasywaytorefertothemodeofthinkingthatpersonsengage
inwhenconcurrenceseekingbecomessodominantinacohesiveingroupthatittendstooverride
realisticappraisalofalternativecoursesofaction.Groupthinkisatermofthesameorderasthewords
inthenewspeakvocabularyGeorgeOrwellusedinhisdismayingworldof1984.Inthatcontext,
groupthinktakesonaninvidiousconnotation.Exactlysuchaconnotationisintended,sincetheterm
referstoadeteriorationinmentalefficiency,realitytestingandmoraljudgmentsasaresultofgroup
pressures.[6]:43

Hewentontowrite:

Themainprincipleofgroupthink,whichIofferinthespiritofParkinson'sLaw,isthis:Themore
amiabilityandespritdecorpsthereisamongthemembersofapolicymakingingroup,thegreaterthe
dangerthatindependentcriticalthinkingwillbereplacedbygroupthink,whichislikelytoresultin
irrationalanddehumanizingactionsdirectedagainstoutgroups.[6]:44

JanissetthefoundationforthestudyofgroupthinkstartingwithhisresearchintheAmericanSoldierProject
wherehestudiedtheeffectofextremestressongroupcohesiveness.Afterthisstudyheremainedinterestedinthe
waysinwhichpeoplemakedecisionsunderexternalthreats.ThisinterestledJanistostudyanumberof
"disasters"inAmericanforeignpolicy,suchasfailuretoanticipatetheJapaneseattackonPearlHarbor(1941)the

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BayofPigsInvasionfiasco(1961)andtheprosecutionoftheVietnamWar(196467)byPresidentLyndon
Johnson.Heconcludedthatineachofthesecases,thedecisionsoccurredlargelybecauseofgroupthink,which
preventedcontradictoryviewsfrombeingexpressedandsubsequentlyevaluated.

AfterthepublicationofJanis'bookVictimsofGroupthinkin1972,[7]andarevisededitionwiththetitle
Groupthink:PsychologicalStudiesofPolicyDecisionsandFiascoesin1982,[8]theconceptofgroupthinkwas
usedtoexplainmanyotherfaultydecisionsinhistory.TheseeventsincludedNaziGermany'sdecisiontoinvade
theSovietUnionin1941,theWatergateScandalandothers.Despitethepopularityoftheconceptofgroupthink,
fewerthantwodozenstudiesaddressedthephenomenonitselffollowingthepublicationofVictimsofGroupthink,
betweentheyears1972and1998.[1]:107Thisissurprisingconsideringhowmanyfieldsofinterestsitspans,which
includepoliticalscience,communications,organizationalstudies,socialpsychology,management,strategy,
counseling,andmarketing.Onecanmostlikelyexplainthislackoffollowupinthatgroupresearchisdifficultto
conduct,groupthinkhasmanyindependentanddependentvariables,anditisunclear"howtotranslate
[groupthink's]theoreticalconceptsintoobservableandquantitativeconstructs."[1]:107108

Nevertheless,outsideresearchpsychologyandsociology,widerculturehascometodetectgroupthink(somewhat
fuzzilydefined)inobservablesituations,forexample:

"[...]criticsofTwitterpointtothepredominanceofthehivemindinsuchsocialmedia,thekindof
groupthinkthatsubmergesindependentthinkinginfavorofconformitytothegroup,thecollective"[13]

"[...]leadersoftenhavebeliefswhichareveryfarfrommatchingrealityandwhichcanbecomemore
extremeastheyareencouragedbytheirfollowers.Thepredilectionofmanycultleadersforabstract,
ambiguous,andthereforeunchallengeableideascanfurtherreducethelikelihoodofrealitytesting,whilethe
intensemilieucontrolexertedbycultsovertheirmembersmeansthatmostoftherealityavailablefortesting
issuppliedbythegroupenvironment.Thisisseeninthephenomenonof'groupthink',allegedtohave
occurred,notoriously,duringtheBayofPigsfiasco."[14]

"GroupthinkbyCompulsion[...][G]roupthinkatleastimpliesvoluntarism.Whenthisfails,theorganization
isnotaboveoutrightintimidation.[...]In[anationwidetelecommunicationscompany],refusalbythenew
hirestocheeroncommandincurredconsequencesnotunliketheindoctrinationandbrainwashingtechniques
associatedwithaSovieteragulag."[15]

Symptoms
Tomakegroupthinktestable,IrvingJanisdevisedeightsymptomsindicativeofgroupthink.

TypeI:Overestimationsofthegroupitspowerandmorality

1.Illusionsofinvulnerabilitycreatingexcessiveoptimismandencouragingrisktaking.
2.Unquestionedbeliefinthemoralityofthegroup,causingmemberstoignoretheconsequencesoftheir
actions.

TypeII:Closedmindedness

1.Rationalizingwarningsthatmightchallengethegroup'sassumptions.
2.Stereotypingthosewhoareopposedtothegroupasweak,evil,biased,spiteful,impotent,orstupid.

TypeIII:Pressurestowarduniformity

1.Selfcensorshipofideasthatdeviatefromtheapparentgroupconsensus.
2.Illusionsofunanimityamonggroupmembers,silenceisviewedasagreement.
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3.Directpressuretoconformplacedonanymemberwhoquestionsthegroup,couchedintermsof"disloyalty"
4.Mindguardsselfappointedmemberswhoshieldthegroupfromdissentinginformation.

Causes
Janisprescribedthreeantecedentconditionstogroupthink.[7]:9

1.Highgroupcohesiveness

Janisemphasizedthatcohesivenessisthemainfactorthatleadstogroupthink.Groupsthatlackcohesivenesscan
ofcoursemakebaddecisions,buttheydonotexperiencegroupthink.Inacohesivegroup,membersavoid
speakingoutagainstdecisions,avoidarguingwithothers,andworktowardsmaintainingfriendlyrelationshipsin
thegroup.Ifcohesivenessgetstosuchahighlevelwheretherearenolongerdisagreementsbetweenmembers,
thenthegroupisripeforgroupthink.

deindividuation:groupcohesivenessbecomesmoreimportantthanindividualfreedomofexpression

2.Structuralfaults

Cohesionisnecessaryforgroupthink,butitbecomesevenmorelikelywhenthegroupisorganizedinwaysthat
disruptthecommunicationofinformation,andwhenthegroupengagesincarelessnesswhilemakingdecisions.

insulationofthegroup:canpromotethedevelopmentofunique,inaccurateperspectivesonissuesthegroup
isdealingwith,andcanthenleadtofaultysolutionstotheproblem.
lackofimpartialleadership:leaderscancompletelycontrolthegroupdiscussion,byplanningwhatwillbe
discussed,onlyallowingcertainquestionstobeasked,andaskingforopinionsofonlycertainpeopleinthe
group.Closedstyleleadershipiswhenleadersannouncetheiropinionsontheissuebeforethegroup
discussestheissuetogether.Openstyleleadershipiswhenleaderswithheldtheiropinionuntilalatertimein
thediscussion.Groupswithaclosedstyleleaderhavebeenfoundtobemorebiasedintheirjudgments,
especiallywhenmembershadahighdegreeforcertainty.Thus,itisbestforleaderstotakeanopenstyle
leadershipapproach,sothatthegroupcandiscusstheissuewithoutanypressuresfromtheleader.
lackofnormsrequiringmethodologicalprocedures
homogeneityofmembers'socialbackgroundsandideology

3.Situationalcontext:

highlystressfulexternalthreats:Highstakedecisionscancreatetensionandanxiety,andgroupmembers
thenmaycopewiththedecisionalstressinirrationalways.Groupmembersmayrationalizetheirdecisionby
exaggeratingthepositiveconsequencesandminimizingthepossiblenegativeconsequences.Inattemptto
minimizethestressfulsituation,thegroupwillmakeaquickdecisionwithlittletonodiscussionor
disagreementaboutthedecision.Studieshaveshownthatgroupsunderhighstressaremorelikelytomake
errors,losefocusoftheultimategoal,anduseproceduresthatmembersknowhavenotbeeneffectiveinthe
past.
recentfailures:canleadtolowselfesteem,resultinginagreementwiththegroupinfearofbeingseenas
wrong.
excessivedifficultiesonthedecisionmakingtask

timepressures:groupmembersaremoreconcernedwithefficiencyandquickresults,insteadofqualityand
accuracy.Additionally,timepressurescanleadtogroupmembersoverlookingimportantinformationregardingthe
issueofdiscussion.

moraldilemmas

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Althoughitispossibleforasituationtocontainallthreeofthesefactors,allthreearenotalwayspresenteven
whengroupthinkisoccurring.Janisconsideredahighdegreeofcohesivenesstobethemostimportantantecedent
toproducinggroupthinkandalwayspresentwhengroupthinkwasoccurringhowever,hebelievedhigh
cohesivenesswouldnotalwaysproducegroupthink.Averycohesivegroupabidestoallgroupnormswhetheror
notgroupthinkarisesisdependentonwhatthegroupnormsare.Ifthegroupencouragesindividualdissentand
alternativestrategiestoproblemsolving,itislikelythatgroupthinkwillbeavoidedeveninahighlycohesive
group.Thismeansthathighcohesionwillleadtogroupthinkonlyifoneorbothoftheotherantecedentsispresent,
situationalcontextbeingslightlymorelikelythanstructuralfaultstoproducegroupthink.[16]

Prevention
AsobservedbyAldag&Fuller(1993),thegroupthinkphenomenonseemstorestonasetofunstatedand
generallyrestrictiveassumptions:[17]

1.Thepurposeofgroupproblemsolvingismainlytoimprovedecisionquality
2.Groupproblemsolvingisconsideredarationalprocess.
3.Benefitsofgroupproblemsolving:
varietyofperspectives
moreinformationaboutpossiblealternatives
betterdecisionreliability
dampeningofbiases
socialpresenceeffects
4.Groupthinkpreventsthesebenefitsduetostructuralfaultsandprovocativesituationalcontext
5.Groupthinkpreventionmethodswillproducebetterdecisions
6.Anillusionofwellbeingispresumedtobeinherentlydysfunctional.
7.Grouppressurestowardsconsensusleadtoconcurrenceseekingtendencies.

Ithasbeenthoughtthatgroupswiththestrongabilitytoworktogetherwillbeabletosolvedilemmasinaquicker
andmoreefficientfashionthananindividual.Groupshaveagreateramountofresourceswhichleadthemtobe
abletostoreandretrieveinformationmorereadilyandcomeupwithmorealternativesolutionstoaproblem.
Therewasarecognizeddownsidetogroupproblemsolvinginthatittakesgroupsmoretimetocometoadecision
andrequiresthatpeoplemakecompromiseswitheachother.However,itwasnotuntiltheresearchofJanis
appearedthatanyonereallyconsideredthatahighlycohesivegroupcouldimpairthegroup'sabilitytogenerate
qualitydecisions.Tightknitgroupsmayappeartomakedecisionsbetterbecausetheycancometoaconsensus
quicklyandatalowenergycosthowever,overtimethisprocessofdecisionmakingmaydecreasethemembers'
abilitytothinkcritically.Itis,therefore,consideredbymanytobeimportanttocombattheeffectsof
groupthink.[16]

AccordingtoJanis,decisionmakinggroupsarenotnecessarilydestinedtogroupthink.Hedevisedwaysof
preventinggroupthink:[7]:209215

1.Leadersshouldassigneachmembertheroleof"criticalevaluator".Thisallowseachmembertofreelyair
objectionsanddoubts.
2.Leadersshouldnotexpressanopinionwhenassigningatasktoagroup.
3.Leadersshouldabsentthemselvesfrommanyofthegroupmeetingstoavoidexcessivelyinfluencingthe
outcome.
4.Theorganizationshouldsetupseveralindependentgroups,workingonthesameproblem.
5.Alleffectivealternativesshouldbeexamined.
6.Eachmembershoulddiscussthegroup'sideaswithtrustedpeopleoutsideofthegroup.
7.Thegroupshouldinviteoutsideexpertsintomeetings.Groupmembersshouldbeallowedtodiscusswith
andquestiontheoutsideexperts.

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8.AtleastonegroupmembershouldbeassignedtheroleofDevil'sadvocate.Thisshouldbeadifferentperson
foreachmeeting.

Byfollowingtheseguidelines,groupthinkcanbeavoided.AftertheBayofPigsinvasionfiasco,PresidentJohnF.
KennedysoughttoavoidgroupthinkduringtheCubanMissileCrisisusing"vigilantappraisal."[8]:148153During
meetings,heinvitedoutsideexpertstosharetheirviewpoints,andallowedgroupmemberstoquestionthem
carefully.Healsoencouragedgroupmemberstodiscusspossiblesolutionswithtrustedmemberswithintheir
separatedepartments,andheevendividedthegroupupintovarioussubgroups,topartiallybreakthegroup
cohesion.Kennedywasdeliberatelyabsentfromthemeetings,soastoavoidpressinghisownopinion.

Empiricalfindingsandmetaanalysis
Testinggroupthinkinalaboratoryisdifficultbecausesyntheticsettingsremovegroupsfromrealsocialsituations,
whichultimatelychangesthevariablesconduciveorinhibitivetogroupthink.[18]Becauseofitssubjectivenature,
researchershavestruggledtomeasuregroupthinkasacompletephenomenon,insteadfrequentlyoptingtomeasure
itsparticularfactors.Thesefactorsrangefromcausaltoeffectualandfocusongroupandsituationalaspects.[19][20]

Park(1990)foundthat"only16empiricalstudieshavebeenpublishedongroupthink,"andconcludedthatthey
"resultedinonlypartialsupportofhis[Janis's]hypotheses."[21]:230Parkconcludes,"despiteJanis'claimthatgroup
cohesivenessisthemajornecessaryantecedentfactor,noresearchhasshowedasignificantmaineffectof
cohesivenessongroupthink."[21]:230Parkalsoconcludesthatresearchontheinteractionbetweengroup
cohesivenessandleadershipstyledoesnotsupportJanis'claimthatcohesionandleadershipstyleinteractto
producegroupthinksymptoms.[21]Parkpresentsasummaryoftheresultsofthestudiesanalyzed.Accordingto
Park,astudybyHusemanandDrive(1979)indicatesgroupthinkoccursinbothsmallandlargedecisionmaking
groupswithinbusinesses.[21]Thisresultspartlyfromgroupisolationwithinthebusiness.ManzandSims(1982)
conductedastudyshowingthatautonomousworkgroupsaresusceptibletogroupthinksymptomsinthesame
mannerasdecisionsmakinggroupswithinbusinesses.[21][22]FodorandSmith(1982)producedastudyrevealing
thatgroupleaderswithhighpowermotivationcreateatmospheresmoresusceptibletogroupthink.[21][23]Leaders
withhighpowermotivationpossesscharacteristicssimilartoleaderswitha"closed"leadershipstylean
unwillingnesstorespectdissentingopinion.Thesamestudyindicatesthatlevelofgroupcohesivenessis
insignificantinpredictinggroupthinkoccurrence.ParksummarizesastudyperformedbyCallaway,Marriott,and
Esser(1985)inwhichgroupswithhighlydominantmembers"madehigherqualitydecisions,exhibitedlowered
stateofanxiety,tookmoretimetoreachadecision,andmademorestatementsof
disagreement/agreement."[21]:232[24]Overall,groupswithhighlydominantmembersexpressedcharacteristics
inhibitorytogroupthink.Ifhighlydominantmembersareconsideredequivalenttoleaderswithhighpower
motivation,theresultsofCallaway,Marriott,andEssercontradicttheresultsofFodorandSmith.Astudyby
Leana(1985)indicatestheinteractionbetweenlevelofgroupcohesionandleadershipstyleiscompletely
insignificantinpredictinggroupthink.[21][25]ThisfindingrefutesJanis'claimthatthefactorsofcohesionand
leadershipstyleinteracttoproducegroupthink.ParksummarizesastudybyMcCauley(1989)inwhichstructural
conditionsofthegroupwerefoundtopredictgroupthinkwhilesituationalconditionsdidnot.[10][21]Thestructural
conditionsincludedgroupinsulation,grouphomogeneity,andpromotionalleadership.Thesituationalconditions
includedgroupcohesion.ThesefindingsrefuteJanis'claimaboutgroupcohesivenesspredictinggroupthink.

Overall,studiesongroupthinkhavelargelyfocusedonthefactors(antecedents)thatpredictgroupthink.
Groupthinkoccurrenceisoftenmeasuredbynumberofideas/solutionsgeneratedwithinagroup,butthereisno
uniform,concretestandardbywhichresearcherscanobjectivelyconcludegroupthinkoccurs.[18]Thestudiesof

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groupthinkandgroupthinkantecedentsrevealamixedbodyofresults.Somestudiesindicategroupcohesionand
leadershipstyletobepowerfullypredictiveofgroupthink,whileotherstudiesindicatetheinsignificanceofthese
factors.Grouphomogeneityandgroupinsulationaregenerallysupportedasfactorspredictiveofgroupthink.

Casestudies
Politicsandmilitary

Groupthinkcanhaveastrongholdonpoliticaldecisionsandmilitaryoperations,whichmayresultinenormous
wastageofhumanandmaterialresources.Highlyqualifiedandexperiencedpoliticiansandmilitarycommanders
sometimesmakeverypoordecisionswheninasuboptimalgroupsetting.ScholarssuchasJanisandRaven
attributepoliticalandmilitaryfiascoes,suchastheBayofPigsInvasion,theVietnamWar,andtheWatergate
scandal,totheeffectofgroupthink.[8][26]Morerecently,DinaBadiearguedthatgroupthinkwaslargelyresponsible
fortheshiftintheU.S.administration'sviewonSaddamHusseinthateventuallyledtothe2003invasionofIraq
bytheUnitedStates.[27]AftertheSeptember11attacks,"stress,promotionalleadership,andintergroupconflict"
wereallfactorsthatgaverisetotheoccurrenceofgroupthink.[27]:283Politicalcasestudiesofgroupthinkserveto
illustratetheimpactthattheoccurrenceofgroupthinkcanhaveintoday'spoliticalscene.

BayofPigsinvasionandtheCubanMissileCrisis

TheUnitedStatesBayofPigsInvasionofApril1961wastheprimarycasestudythatJanisusedtoformulatehis
theoryofgroupthink.[6]TheinvasionplanwasinitiatedbytheEisenhoweradministration,butwhentheKennedy
administrationtookover,it"uncriticallyaccepted"theplanoftheCentralIntelligenceAgency(CIA).[6]:44When
somepeople,suchasArthurM.Schlesinger,Jr.andSenatorJ.WilliamFulbright,attemptedtopresenttheir
objectionstotheplan,theKennedyteamasawholeignoredtheseobjectionsandkeptbelievinginthemoralityof
theirplan.[6]:46EventuallySchlesingerminimizedhisowndoubts,performingselfcensorship.[6]:74TheKennedy
teamstereotypedFidelCastroandtheCubansbyfailingtoquestiontheCIAaboutitsmanyfalseassumptions,
includingtheineffectivenessofCastro'sairforce,theweaknessofCastro'sarmy,andtheinabilityofCastroto
quellinternaluprisings.[6]:46

JanisclaimedthefiascothatensuedcouldhavebeenpreventediftheKennedyadministrationhadfollowedthe
methodstopreventinggroupthinkadoptedduringtheCubanMissileCrisis,whichtookplacejustoneyearlaterin
October1962.Inthelattercrisis,essentiallythesamepoliticalleaderswereinvolvedindecisionmaking,butthis
timetheylearnedfromtheirpreviousmistakeofseriouslyunderratingtheiropponents.[6]:76

PearlHarbor

TheattackonPearlHarboronDecember7,1941isaprimeexampleofgroupthink.Anumberoffactorssuchas
sharedillusionsandrationalizationscontributedtothelackofprecautiontakenbyNavalofficersbasedinHawaii.
TheUnitedStateshadinterceptedJapanesemessagesandtheydiscoveredthatJapanwasarmingitselfforan
offensiveattacksomewhereinthePacificOcean.WashingtontookactionbywarningofficersstationedatPearl
Harbor,buttheirwarningwasnottakenseriously.TheyassumedthattheEmpireofJapanwastakingmeasuresin
theeventthattheirembassiesandconsulatesinenemyterritorieswereusurped.

TheNavyandArmyinPearlHarboralsosharedrationalizationsaboutwhyanattackwasunlikely.Someofthem
included:[8]:83,85

"TheJapanesewouldneverdareattemptafullscalesurpriseassaultagainstHawaiibecausetheywould
realizethatitwouldprecipitateanalloutwar,whichtheUnitedStateswouldsurelywin."
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"ThePacificFleetconcentratedatPearlHarborwasamajordeterrentagainstairornavalattack."
"EveniftheJapanesewerefoolhardytosendtheircarrierstoattackus[theUnitedStates],wecould
certainlydetectanddestroytheminplentyoftime."
"NowarshipsanchoredintheshallowwaterofPearlHarborcouldeverbesunkbytorpedobombslaunched
fromenemyaircraft."

UnitedStatespresidentialelection,2016

IntheweeksandmonthsprecedingtheUnitedStatespresidentialelection,2016,therewasnearunanimityamong
newsmediaoutletsandpollingorganizationsthatHillaryClinton'selectionwasextremelylikely.Forexample,on
November7,thedaybeforetheelection,TheNewYorkTimesopinedthatClintonthenhad"aconsistentandclear
advantageinstatesworthatleast270electoralvotes."[28]TheTimesestimatedtheprobabilityofaClintonwinat
84%.[29]AlsoonNovember7,ReutersestimatedtheprobabilityofClintondefeatingDonaldTrumpintheelection
at90%,[30]andTheHuffingtonPostputClinton'soddsofwinningat98.2%basedon"9.8millionsimulations."[31]

Thedisconnectbetweentheelectionresultsandthepreelectionestimates,bothfromnewsmediaoutletsandfrom
pollsters,mayhavebeenduetotwofactors:politicalcorrectness,inthatfewnewsandpollingprofessionalswould
admittosupportingorconsideringTrumpasaviablecandidateforfearofpeerpressureandpollingerror,inthata
significantnumberofTrumpsupporterscontactedbypollstersmayhaveliedtoormisledthepollstersagain
possiblyduetotheirfearofpublicopprobriumiftheywereidentifiedassuch.[32]

Corporateworld

Inthecorporateworld,ineffectiveandsuboptimalgroupdecisionmakingcannegativelyaffectthehealthofa
companyandcauseaconsiderableamountofmonetaryloss.

Swissair

AaronHermannandHussainRammalillustratethedetrimentalroleofgroupthinkinthecollapseofSwissair,a
Swissairlinecompanythatwasthoughttobesofinanciallystablethatitearnedthetitlethe"FlyingBank."[33]The
authorsarguethat,amongotherfactors,Swissaircarriedtwosymptomsofgroupthink:thebeliefthatthegroupis
invulnerableandthebeliefinthemoralityofthegroup.[33]:1056Inaddition,beforethefiasco,thesizeofthe
companyboardwasreduced,subsequentlyeliminatingindustrialexpertise.Thismayhavefurtherincreasedthe
likelihoodofgroupthink.[33]:1055Withtheboardmemberslackingexpertiseinthefieldandhavingsomewhat
similarbackground,norms,andvalues,thepressuretoconformmayhavebecomemoreprominent.[33]:1057This
phenomenoniscalledgrouphomogeneity,whichisanantecedenttogroupthink.Together,theseconditionsmay
havecontributedtothepoordecisionmakingprocessthateventuallyledtoSwissair'scollapse.

Marks&SpencerandBritishAirways

AnotherexampleofgroupthinkfromthecorporateworldisillustratedintheUnitedKingdombasedcompanies
Marks&SpencerandBritishAirways.Thenegativeimpactofgroupthinktookplaceduringthe1990sasboth
companiesreleasedglobalizationexpansionstrategies.ResearcherJackEaton'scontentanalysisofmediapress
releasesrevealedthatalleightsymptomsofgroupthinkwerepresentduringthisperiod.Themostpredominant
symptomofgroupthinkwastheillusionofinvulnerabilityasbothcompaniesunderestimatedpotentialfailuredue
toyearsofprofitabilityandsuccessduringchallengingmarkets.Upuntiltheconsequenceofgroupthinkerupted
theywereconsideredbluechipsanddarlingsoftheLondonStockExchange.During19981999thepriceof

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Marks&Spencersharesfellfrom590tolessthan300andthatofBritishAirwaysfrom740to300.Both
companieshadalreadyfeaturedprominentlyintheUKpressandmediaformorepositivereasonstodowith
nationalprideintheirundoubtedsectorwideperformance.[34]

Sports

Recentliteratureofgroupthinkattemptstostudytheapplicationofthisconceptbeyondtheframeworkofbusiness
andpolitics.Oneparticularlyrelevantandpopulararenainwhichgroupthinkisrarelystudiedissports.Thelackof
literatureinthisareapromptedCharlesKoerberandChristopherNecktobeginacasestudyinvestigationthat
examinedtheeffectofgroupthinkonthedecisionoftheMajorLeagueUmpiresAssociation(MLUA)tostagea
massresignationin1999.ThedecisionwasafailedattempttogainastrongernegotiatingstanceagainstMajor
LeagueBaseball.[35]:21KoerberandNecksuggestthatthreegroupthinksymptomscanbefoundinthedecision
makingprocessoftheMLUA.First,theumpiresoverestimatedthepowerthattheyhadoverthebaseballleague
andthestrengthoftheirgroup'sresolve.Theunionalsoexhibitedsomedegreeofclosedmindednesswiththe
notionthatMLBistheenemy.Lastly,therewasthepresenceofselfcensorshipsomeumpireswhodisagreedwith
thedecisiontoresignfailedtovoicetheirdissent.[35]:25Thesefactors,alongwithotherdecisionmakingdefects,
ledtoadecisionthatwassuboptimalandineffective.

Recentdevelopments
Ubiquitymodel

ResearcherRobertBaron(2005)contendsthattheconnectionbetweencertainantecedentswhichJanisbelieved
necessaryhasnotbeendemonstratedbythecurrentcollectivebodyofresearchongroupthink.Hebelievesthat
Janis'antecedentsforgroupthinkareincorrect,andarguesthatnotonlyarethey"notnecessarytoprovokethe
symptomsofgroupthink,butthattheyoftenwillnotevenamplifysuchsymptoms".[36]AsanalternativetoJanis'
model,Baronproposedaubiquitymodelofgroupthink.Thismodelprovidesarevisedsetofantecedentsfor
groupthink,includingsocialidentification,salientnorms,andlowselfefficacy.

Generalgroupproblemsolving(GGPS)model

AldagandFuller(1993)arguethatthegroupthinkconceptwasbasedona"smallandrelativelyrestrictedsample"
thatbecametoobroadlygeneralized.[17]Furthermore,theconceptistoorigidlystagedanddeterministic.Empirical
supportforithasalsonotbeenconsistent.Theauthorscomparegroupthinkmodeltofindingspresentedby
MaslowandPiagettheyarguethat,ineachcase,themodelincitesgreatinterestandfurtherresearchthat,
subsequently,invalidatetheoriginalconcept.AldagandFullerthussuggestanewmodelcalledthegeneralgroup
problemsolving(GGPS)model,whichintegratesnewfindingsfromgroupthinkliteratureandaltersaspectsof
groupthinkitself.[17]:534TheprimarydifferencebetweentheGGPSmodelandgroupthinkisthattheformeris
morevalueneutralandmorepolitical.[17]:544

Reexamination

OtherscholarsattempttoassessthemeritofgroupthinkbyreexaminingcasestudiesthatJanishadoriginallyused
tobuttresshismodel.RoderickKramer(1998)believedthat,becausescholarstodayhaveamoresophisticatedset
ofideasaboutthegeneraldecisionmakingprocessandbecausenewandrelevantinformationaboutthefiascos
havesurfacedovertheyears,areexaminationofthecasestudiesisappropriateandnecessary.[37]Hearguesthat
newevidencedoesnotsupportJanis'viewthatgroupthinkwaslargelyresponsibleforPresidentKennedy'sand
PresidentJohnson'sdecisionsintheBayofPigsInvasionandU.S.escalatedmilitaryinvolvementintheVietnam

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War,respectively.BothpresidentssoughttheadviceofexpertsoutsideoftheirpoliticalgroupsmorethanJanis
suggested.[37]:241Krameralsoarguesthatthepresidentswerethefinaldecisionmakersofthefiascoswhile
determiningwhichcourseofactiontotake,theyreliedmoreheavilyontheirownconstrualsofthesituationsthan
onanygroupconsentingdecisionpresentedtothem.[37]:241KramerconcludesthatJanis'explanationofthetwo
militaryissuesisflawedandthatgroupthinkhasmuchlessinfluenceongroupdecisionmakingthanispopularly
believedtobe.

Reformulation

Whyte(1998)suggeststhatcollectiveefficacyplaysalargeroleingroupthinkbecauseitcausesgroupstobecome
lessvigilantandtofavorrisks,twoparticularfactorsthatcharacterizegroupsaffectedbygroupthink.[38]McCauley
recastsaspectsofgroupthink'spreconditionsbyarguingthatthelevelofattractivenessofgroupmembersisthe
mostprominentfactorincausingpoordecisionmaking.[39]TheresultsofTurner'sandPratkanis'(1991)studyon
socialidentitymaintenanceperspectiveandgroupthinkconcludethatgroupthinkcanbeviewedasa"collective
effortdirectedatwardingoffpotentiallynegativeviewsofthegroup."[3]Together,thecontributionsofthese
scholarshavebroughtaboutnewunderstandingsofgroupthinkthathelpreformulateJanis'originalmodel.

Sociocognitivetheory

Accordingtoanewtheorymanyofthebasiccharacteristicsofgroupthinke.g.,strongcohesion,indulgent
atmosphere,andexclusiveethosaretheresultofaspecialkindofmnemonicencoding(Tsoukalas,2007).
Membersoftightlyknitgroupshaveatendencytorepresentsignificantaspectsoftheircommunityasepisodic
memoriesandthishasapredictableinfluenceontheirgroupbehaviorandcollectiveideology.[40]

Seealso
Aschconformityexperiments Grouppolarization Scapegoating
Abileneparadox Groupservingbias Socialcomparisontheory
Bandwagoneffect Groupshift Spiralofsilence
Conformity(psychology) Herdbehaviour Systemjustification
Deindividuation Homophily Threemenmakeatiger
DunningKrugereffect Ingroupfavoritism Tuckman'sstagesofgroup
Emotionalcontagion Mobrule development
Filterbubble Nosoapradio Vendorlockin
Groupbehaviour Organizationaldissent Wishfulthinking
Groupflow Peerpressure Woozleeffect
Groupnarcissism Riskyshift
Grouppolarization Scapegoating
Diversity

Culturaldiversity
Multiculturalism

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Furtherreading
Baron,R.S.(2005)."Sorightit'swrong:groupthinkandtheubiquitous
natureofpolarizedgroupdecisionmaking".AdvancesinExperimentalSocial WikimediaCommonshas
Psychology.37:219253.doi:10.1016/S00652601(05)370043. mediarelatedto
Ferraris,C.Carveth,R.(2003)."NASAandtheColumbiadisaster: Groupthink.
decisionmakingbygroupthink?"(PDF).Proceedingsofthe2003Association
forBusinessCommunicationAnnualConvention. Wikiquotehasquotations
Esser,J.K.(1998)."Aliveandwellafter25years:areviewofgroupthink relatedto:Groupthink
research"(PDF).OrganizationalBehaviorandHumanDecisionProcesses.73
(23):116141.doi:10.1006/obhd.1998.2758.
Hogg,M.A.Hains,S.C.(1998)."Friendshipandgroupidentification:anewlookattheroleofcohesivenessin
groupthink".EuropeanJournalofSocialPsychology.28(3):323341.doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099
0992(199805/06)28:3<323::AIDEJSP854>3.0.CO2Y.
Janis,IrvingL.(1972).Victimsofgroupthinkapsychologicalstudyofforeignpolicydecisionsandfiascoes.Boston:
Houghton,Mifflin.ISBN0395140021.
Klein,D.B.Stern,C.(Spring2009)."Groupthinkinacademia:majoritariandepartmentalpoliticsandtheprofessional
pyramid".TheIndependentReview:AJournalofPoliticalEconomy(IndependentInstitute).13(4):585600.
Kowert,P.(2002).GroupthinkorDeadlock:WhendoLeadersLearnfromtheirAdvisors?.Albany:StateUniversityof
NewYorkPress.ISBN0791452506.
Mullen,B.Anthony,T.Salas,E.Driskell,J.E.(1994)."Groupcohesivenessandqualityofdecisionmaking:an
integrationoftestsofthegroupthinkhypothesis".SmallGroupResearch.25(2):189204.
doi:10.1177/1046496494252003.
Moorhead,G.Ference,R.Neck,C.P.(1991)."Groupdecisionfiascoescontinue:SpaceShuttleChallengeranda
revisedgroupthinkframework"(PDF).HumanRelations.44(6):539550.doi:10.1177/001872679104400601.
O'Connor,M.A.(Summer2003)."TheEnronboard:theperilsofgroupthink".UniversityofCincinnatiLawReview.71
(4):12331320.SSRN1791848 .

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5/10/2017 GroupthinkWikipedia

Packer,D.J.(2009)."Avoidinggroupthink:whereasweaklyidentifiedmembersremainsilent,stronglyidentified
membersdissentaboutcollectiveproblems"(PDF).PsychologicalScience.20(5):546548.doi:10.1111/j.1467
9280.2009.02333.x.PMID19389133.
Rose,J.D.(Spring2011)."Diverseperspectivesonthegroupthinktheoryaliteraryreview"(PDF).Emerging
LeadershipJourneys.4(1):3757.
Schafer,M.Crichlow,S.(2010).GroupthinkversusHighQualityDecisionMakinginInternationalRelations.New
York:ColumbiaUniversityPress.ISBN9780231148887.
'tHart,P.(1990).GroupthinkinGovernment:aStudyofSmallGroupsandPolicyFailure.AmsterdamRockland,MA:
Swets&Zeitlinger.ISBN9026511132.
'tHart,P.Stern,E.K.Sundelius,B.(1997).BeyondGroupthink:PoliticalGroupDynamicsandForeignPolicy
Making.AnnArbor:UniversityofMichiganPress.ISBN0472096532.
Tetlock,P.E.(1979)."Identifyingvictimsofgroupthinkfrompublicstatementsofdecisionmakers"(PDF).Journalof
PersonalityandSocialPsychology.37(8):13141324.doi:10.1037/00223514.37.8.1314.
Tetlock,P.E.Peterson,R.S.McGuire,C.Chang,S.J.Feld,P.(1992)."Assessingpoliticalgroupdynamics:atestof
thegroupthinkmodel"(PDF).JournalofPersonalityandSocialPsychology.63(3):403425.doi:10.1037/0022
3514.63.3.403.
Turner,M.E.Pratkanis,A.R.Probasco,P.Leve,C.(1992)."Threat,cohesion,andgroupeffectiveness:Testinga
socialidentitymaintenanceperspectiveongroupthink"(PDF).JournalofPersonalityandSocialPsychology.63(5):781
796.doi:10.1037/00223514.63.5.781.
Whyte,G.(1989)."Groupthinkreconsidered".AcademyofManagementReview.14(1):4056.doi:10.2307/258190.

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