What is groupthink. Explain.  According to Irving Janis(1972) , groupthink is “a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment resulting from in-group pressures”. Thus, the overemphasis on consensus and agreement leads members to be unwilling to evaluate group members’ ideas critically.
This hinders decision-making and becomes an obstacle to group productivity. Certain conditions favour the development of groupthink. i) The first condition is high cohesiveness. Cohesive groups tend to avoid conflicts and to demand conformity. i) The second is other antecedents including directive leadership, high stress, insulation of the group and lack of methodical procedures for developing and evaluating alternatives. A group suffering from groupthink displays recognizable symptoms. Symptoms of Groupthink and how to Prevent It • Illusions of invulnerability: Group members feel they are above criticism.
This symptom leads to excessive optimism and risk taking. • Illusions of group morality: Group members feel they are moral in their actions and therefore above reproach. This symptom leads the group to ignore the ethical implications of their decisions. Illusions of unanimity: Group members believe there is unanimous agreement on the decisions. Silence is misconstrued as consent. • Rationalization: Group members concoct explanations for their decisions to make them appear rational and correct. The results are that other alternatives are not considered, and there is an unwillingness to reconsider the group’s assumptions.
• Stereotyping the enemy: Competitors are stereotyped as evil or stupid. This leads the group to underestimate its opposition. • Self-censorship: Members do not express their doubts or concerns about the course of action.This prevents critical analysis of the decisions. • Peer pressure: Any members who express doubts or concerns are pressured by other group members, who question their loyalty. • Mind guards: Some members take it upon themselves to protect the group from negative feedback. Group members are thus shielded from information that might lead them to question their action.
Guidelines for Preventing Groupthink • Ask each group member to assume the role of a critical evaluator by actively voicing objections or doubts. • Have the leader avoid stating his or her position on the issue prior to the group decision. Create several groups that work on the decision simultaneously. • Bring in outside experts to evaluate the group process. • Appoint a devil’s advocate to question the group’s course of action consistently. • Evaluate the competition carefully, posing as many different motivations and intentions as possible. • Once consensus is reached, encourage the group to rethink its position by re-examining the alternatives.
1. Social Loafing: Social loafing occurs when one or more group members rely on the efforts of other group members and fail to contribute their own time, effort, thoughts or other resources to a group.This may create a real drag on the group’s efforts and achievements. When a group carries out a task, it is harder to attribute the group’s output to individual contributions. Some group members may engage in social loafing, or doing less than their share of the work on the assumption that group’s results will not indicate the individual’s failure to contribute. A number of methods for countering social loafing exist, such as having identifiable individual contributions to the group product and member self-evaluation systems.For example, if each group member is responsible for a specific input to the group, a members’ failure to contribute will be noticed by everyone.
If members must formally evaluate their contributions to the group, they are less likely to loaf. 2. Production Blocking: Production blocking is limiting another person’s output by getting in his or her way. Production blocking occurs when too many employees are trying to work in a given amount of space or when the organization has poorly planned the use of its facilities. It can also occur when the organization assigns more than the optimal number of employees to carry out a task.
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