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Group Think

GROUP THINK

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Group think is an extreme form of consensus in which the group thinks as unit rather than as a collection of individuals. It is a kind of consensus – seeking process that goes on in a cohesive group. When a group is too cohesive new ideas may be rejected too quickly. Members are imbued with feelings of “We know best”. There is a tremendous desire for unanimity. Seeking consensus becomes an end in itself. Free exchange of ideas is inhibited. Some members in a group may be timid or cowed down by dominating members imposing their ideas on others. At other times, the group members try to promote consensus at the possible expense of arriving at a more defective solutions. Lack of group’s low-risk, conservative traditional and mediocre decisions. Group members cease to think independently. Irving Janis used the ‘group think’ to describe the unfortunate situation in which the desire to agree becomes so dominant in a cohesive group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action. Members try to avoid being too harsh in their judgments of one another’s ideas. They adopt a soft line of criticism. At their meetings, all the members are chummy and seek complete agreement on every important issue. As a result of little or no real criticism, the illusion of unanimity is created.

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1. Symptoms of Group Think

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Group think is characterized by a “deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures. The following symptoms have been identified with group think.

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2. Consequences of Group Think

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Under group think conditions the following consequences may be identified:

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No contingency plans are developed by which to cop with foreseeable difficulties that could endanger the success of the group’s chosen course.

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3 The Remedy for Group Think

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When group think does occur, positive action must be taken if the group is to be effective in performing its task. As we have seen, concurrence-seeking will smoother objective consideration and evaluation of alternatives. The following steps are recommended by Janis to overcome group think tendencies;

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