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Transcript of Groupthink
What is Groupthink?
Watch irrational group-conformity at work in this 1962 Candid Camera video as seen in a
The Power of the Situation.
Illusion of invulnerability:
optimism -> risk taking
do not reconsider assumptions
Belief in inherent morality:
certain of their rightness -> ignore ethical consequences
Stereotyped views of out-groups:
negative views of outsiders -> lack of concern
Direct pressure on dissenters:
no arguments against group’s views
do not express doubts -> concurrence valued
Illusion of unanimity:
majority view assumed unanimous
protect group from contradictory information
Results of Groupthink
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Famous Examples of Groupthink Influence
8 Symptoms of
Stanford Prison Experiment
1970s & 80s: Irving L. Janis
a mode of thinking
involving group decision-making
main feature: premature concurrence-seeking
common in a cohesive/uniform group
"strivings for unanimity override their motivation to appraise the consequences of their actions" (p. 21).
High group cohesiveness
insulation of the group
lack of methodological procedures for decision-making
similarity of members' social backgrounds and ideology
highly stressful external threats
recent group failures
difficult decision to be made
have clear objectives
seek expert opinions
seek out all information
have contingency plans
A team influenced by Groupthink
Encourage critical evaluation, objections, and concerns
Do not state preferences at the onset of a meeting
Allow independent evaluation by a separate group/leader
Separately generate alternatives in sub-groups
Seek input from experts outside the group
Assign 'devil's advocates'
Develop multiple scenarios of events and contingencies for each scenario
Call a meeting after a decision is made to critically review the decision before final approval
1961 & '62
Invasion of Iraq ?
Theory Presentation Part 3
Visual Presentation- Groupthink Theory
Theory in Interdisciplinary Studies: INDS 500
Professor W. Schissel
October 14th, 2012
Esser, J.K. (1998) Alive and well after 25 years: A review of groupthink research. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision
Processes, 73(2-3), 116-141.
Fighting Groupthink With Dissent. (2009). In PsyBlog. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/07/fighting-groupthink-
Goby, V.P. (2007). Business communication needs: A multicultural perspective. Journal of Business and Technical
Communication, 21(4), 425-437.
Janis, I.L. (1973). Groupthink and group dynamics: A social psychological analysis of defective policy decisions. Policy Studies
Journal, 2(1), 19.
Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. USA: Harper & Row.
McCauley, C. (1989). The nature of social influence in groupthink: Compliance and internalization. Journal Of Personality And
Social Psychology, 57(2), 250-260.
McCauley, C. (1998). Group dynamics in Janis's theory of groupthink: Backward and forward. Organizational Behaviour and
Human Decision Processes, 73(2-3), 142-162.
Moorhead, G., & Montanari, J.R. (1986). An empirical investigation of the groupthink phenomenon. Human Relations, 39(5), 399-
Sims, R. R. (1992). Linking groupthink to unethical behavior in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(9), 651-651.
Smith, A. (Producer). (2001). The power of the situation. [Program 19]. Discovering Psychology. Retrieved from
Wapcaplet (Creator). (2004). Milgram Experiment. [png illustration]. Retrieved from
Zimbardo, P. (Producer/Director). (1991). Quiet rage: The Stanford prison experiment. Retrieved from
(Goby, 2007; Janis, 1973; McCauley, 1989, 1998; Moorhead & Montanari, 1986)
(Janis, 1973; Sims, 1992; Troyer & Youngreen, 2009)
(Esser, 1998; Janis, 1982)
video series (Smith, 2001).
Quiet rage: The Stanford prison experiment
Used with permission from Wapcaplet 2004.
Milgram demonstrated how ordinary people can put ethical considerations aside when pressured to perform a task.