Discuss Groupthink as it relates to one of the incidences on one of the stated below....

Discuss Groupthink as it relates to one of the incidences on one of the stated below. Why is it important? In your discussion, remember to include one of the factors contributing to Groupthink listed below. Some were found by Janis in his original research, others were found to be important in contributing to Groupthink in subsequent research.

Select one, apply it to the crisis you select and explain why it pertains.

- Overestimation of the group competence (illusion of invulnerability - Janis)

- Belief of the inherent morality of the group (Janis)

- Closed-mindedness (rationalization; denial)

- Seeking unanimous decisions despite doubt (Mind-guards)

- Lack of self-censorship (Janis)

- Strong leaders that exert pressure (Janis)

- Group cohesion (Janis)

- Stereotypes (Janis)

- Consideration of only a few options (Janis)

- Stress of time pressure or other pressure (Janis)

- Being insulted by outsider's ideas (Janis)

Homework Answers

Answer #1

The term Groupthink was coined by Irving Janis. It refers to a situation when a group makes a wrong decision due to their psychological drive as a group to make cohesive decisions thereby suppressing disagreements and preventing consideration of alternatives.

One factor:

Group think is important to come to a decision however, there are many factors that show that Group thinking may not necessarily make the best and wisest decision. One such factor is "Stereotypes".

It states that the members of the in-group views members of the out-group as enemies and thereby validates their actions taken to resolve conflicts with them, which may not be effective in reality. This means that the in-group would form their own biased opinions about the out-group members, and would all stand by it irrespective of it's authenticity.

Reason with example:

One reason why this might happen could be due to high cohesiveness in the group, where the members are very tightly tied and any argument within the group would be uncalled for. For eg., in an inter-school competition, the students of one school may view the students of another school as their rival and may even together indulge in indisciplinary activities in order to defeat them. Here, even if a student wants to speak against it, he or she would not, due to high group cohesiveness.

This might also get triggered by structural faults such as lack of impartial leadership. For example, if the same group also consists of a coach/teacher/mentor who is biased, lacks judgments and does not allow the group members to raise opinions then a faulty decision is more likely to occur.


In order to prevent such 'groupthink', the leader plays a more prudent role. Here the leader could

  • divide the students' roles in decision making,
  • be an assertive listener of their decisions and
  • then be a critical evaluator who is making the final decisions.

In this way, stereotypes could be handled efficiently.

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