Day #68: The concept of Groupthink

Day #68: The concept of Groupthink

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I love learning about social psychology terms, they give insight into why we do the things we do as human beings. Often people want to think that the decisions they make are theirs and theirs alone and a topic like Groupthink can be difficult to comprehend and understand on a deeper level. The concept of Groupthink is best explained as follows

Groupthink occurs when a group with a particular agenda makes irrational or problematic decisions because its members value harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. Individual members of the group are strongly discouraged from any disagreement with the consensus and set aside their own thoughts and feelings to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and other group members. In a groupthink situation, group members refrain from expressing doubts, judgments or disagreement with the consensus and ignore any ethical or moral consequences of any group decision that furthers their cause. Risk-taking is common, and the lack of creativity and independent thinking have negative personal and political implications for both group members and outsiders. Groupthink decisions rarely have successful outcomes.”

The term was coined first in 1952 by William H Whyte, as you can see from the above reference that a concept like Groupthink can manifest itself into various industries. Commonly implemented in grand societal mechanisms like Governments and movements. The concept on a smaller scale can be explained as a inability to stick out amongst colleagues in a meeting. If one person agrees it can become a chain reaction of multiple positive answers which are masking the person’s true opinion. There are many methods for avoiding this in a work setting for meetings and research processes. For example when conducting user research rather conduct it one on one to allow for personal opinions to shine and not be tainted by others. The reason for not wanting to go against the grain can be for many reasons, but understanding ways to avoid it in the workplace and with research can really assist with providing accurate data. Happy researching

Bye for now!

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