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Definition of groupthink

Examples of groupthink in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'groupthink.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

group entry 1 + -think (as in doublethink )

1952, in the meaning defined above

Dictionary Entries Near groupthink

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“Groupthink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/groupthink. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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[ groop -thingk ]

  • the practice of approaching problems or issues as matters that are best dealt with by consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently; conformity.
  • the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of group interaction.

/ ˈɡruːpˌθɪŋk /

  • a tendency within organizations or society to promote or establish the view of the predominant group

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Word history and origins.

Origin of groupthink 1

Example Sentences

Leonhardt concluded that dismissing the lab escape possibility “appears to be a classic example of groupthink, exacerbated by partisan polarization.”

If we consciously aim to elevate Unum over the divisive forces that encourage groupthink and group-blame it will lead us to durable reforms rooted in broadly shared American values in the intertwined areas of politics, economics, and culture.

He started by cementing cornerstones of the rebuild, such as Coach Jim Schwartz and quarterback Matthew Stafford, and filled the front office with staffers who would challenge groupthink and provide the innovation he prized.

It is an odd workplace that can stunt development and encourage groupthink.

If you have too much solidarity, though, you have a groupthink.

The shock will soon congeal into fear-fueled groupthink and gridlock.

They create ossified institutions, paralyzed by groupthink and incapable of self-reflection.

But history tells us that, more often than not, this sort of media-reinforced groupthink proves wrong.

Maybe groupthink can work when you're in power, at least for a time.

In this sense and others, Greenberg's is a call for a return to the groupthink and hawkish conformity of the Bush era.

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Group-think : what it is and how to avoid it

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Former government adviser Dominic Cummings has made waves by suggesting the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis was “a classic historic example of group-think”.

You can listen to more articles from The Conversation, narrated by Noa, here .

He said the more people criticised the government’s plan, the more those on the inside said others did not understand. He added that, had the plans been open to scrutiny earlier, “we would have figured out at least six weeks earlier that there was an alternative plan”.

Although we can’t know for sure the truth of this criticism, it raises an important question about the dynamics of decision-making in groups. What actually is group-think and what does scientific research tells us about how to avoid it?

Group-think is a popular explanation for how groups of knowledgeable people can make flawed decisions. The essence of group-think is that groups create psychological pressure on individuals to conform to the views of leaders and other members.

Famous examples of group-think include the decision of the US to invade Cuba in 1961 and Coca-Cola’s decision to launch “New Coke” in 1985. In these and other famous examples, groups failed to make the right choice even when they had all the information they needed right there in the room. Members failed to share their dissenting opinions and information that could have avoided embarrassing or tragic decisions.

What causes group-think

How can smart people get together and come to seemingly inexplicable conclusions? There are three main reasons groups create pressure that leads to flawed decisions.

First, all humans want to feel a sense of belonging with others – our brains are wired to find our tribe, the people with whom we belong. In any group situation, we want to feel accepted by other members and seek approval, consciously and unconsciously. One way to gain acceptance and approval is to find common ground with others. But, when all members do this, it has the effect of biasing group discussion toward areas of similarity and agreement, crowding out potential differences and disagreement.

Read more: To what extent are we ruled by unconscious forces?

For instance, if a member of a group says they like a particular TV show, other members who also like it are most likely to speak. Those who haven’t seen it or dislike it are more likely to stay silent. That isn’t to say disagreement never happens, just that it’s less common in group discussions than agreement. When group discussions follow these dynamics over time – members expressing more agreement than disagreement – those with dissenting opinions begin to believe their views are discordant with the majority. This encourages them even more to withhold information and views that they fear (even subtly) will be met with disapproval from other members.

A TV screen showing Dominic Cummings giving a statement in 2020.

Second, as the old adage goes, “if you want to get along, go along”. Although disagreement about the best course of action is healthy for groups – and, indeed, is the whole point of groups making decisions – healthy disagreement often spills over into conflict that gets personal and hurts others feelings. The risk of this, however small, leads those who disagree to hold their tongues too often.

These pressures are even stronger when high-status group members – such as formal leaders or those respected by others – express their opinions. The subtle, unspoken forces that make it feel risky to speak up and disagree with other members are extremely difficult to overcome when we know we would be putting ourselves at odds with a leader.

Third, we subtly adjust our preferences to come into concordance with what we perceive as the majority view. In other words, when we don’t have a clear view of our own opinion, we simply adopt other members’ – often, without even knowing it. Once we adopt that preference, it becomes a lens for the information we receive. We remember information consistent with our own preferences, but tend to forget information that is inconsistent with them . So, a member revealing a preference invisibly creates a self-reinforcing cycle that perpetuates agreement.

How can groups avoid group-think?

The essential ingredient when trying to avoid group-think is to focus first on options and information, and to hold off preferences and advocacy for as long as possible. After determining their objectives, groups should consider as many options as possible. All members should be asked for all relevant information about all of these options – even if the information doesn’t favour options other members seem to prefer. Only after a thorough, systematic search for information should members begin to discuss their preferences or advocate for one option over another.

Leaders can play a critical role in avoiding group-think. Research has shown leaders who direct the decision-making process, but don’t share their own preferences or advocate for particular options, lead groups to avoid group-think and make better decisions. Leaders that advocate for particular choices, especially early on, tend to lead their groups astray and strengthen the forces that lead to group-think.

In avoiding group-think, leaders should play the role of a detective, asking questions and collecting all the facts. Leading by trying to win a debate or litigate a court case leaves the group far more open to group-think.

Regardless of how the government made decisions in the past, they would be well-advised to make sure all decision-making bodies follow this advice. Even the smartest, best-intentioned groups are vulnerable to the basic psychology of group-think.

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How Groupthink Impacts Our Behavior

Why going along with the group can lead to poor decisions

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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How Groupthink Works

What causes groupthink, examples of groupthink, groupthink can have serious effects, potential pitfalls of groupthink, what can you do to avoid groupthink.

Have you ever been in a situation where everyone seems to agree without giving the problem much thought? This is often an example of a psychological phenomenon known as groupthink. Groups tend to think in harmony, which can make reaching a consensus easier while also reducing critical thinking and novel ideas.

What Exactly Is Groupthink?

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinions of the rest of the group. The term was first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis.

People opposed to the group's decisions or overriding opinions frequently remain quiet, preferring to keep the peace rather than disrupt the crowd's uniformity. This phenomenon can be problematic, but even well-intentioned people are prone to making irrational decisions in the face of overwhelming pressure from the group.

Keep reading to learn more about how to spot the signs of groupthink, what causes it, and the effects it can have on decision-making and behavior.

8 Signs of Groupthink

Groupthink may not always be easy to discern, but there are some signs that it is present. There are also some situations where it may be more likely to occur. Janis identified eight different "symptoms" that indicate groupthink.

  • Illusions of unanimity lead members to believe that everyone is in agreement and feels the same way. It is often much more difficult to speak out when it seems that everyone else in the group is on the same page.
  • Unquestioned beliefs lead members to ignore possible moral problems and not consider the consequences of individual and group actions.
  • Rationalizing prevents members from reconsidering their beliefs and causes them to ignore warning signs.
  • Stereotyping leads members of the in-group to ignore or even demonize out-group members who may oppose or challenge the group's ideas. This causes members of the group to ignore important ideas or information.
  • Self-censorship causes people who might have doubts to hide their fears or misgivings. Rather than sharing what they know, people remain quiet and assume that the group must know best.
  • "Mindguards" act as self-appointed censors to hide problematic information from the group. Rather than sharing important information, they keep quiet or actively prevent sharing.
  • Illusions of invulnerability lead group members to be overly optimistic and engage in risk-taking. When no one speaks out or voices an alternative opinion, people believe that the group must be right.
  • Direct pressure to conform is often placed on members who pose questions, and those who question the group are often seen as disloyal or traitorous.

Four of the main characteristics of groupthink include pressure to conform, the illusion of invulnerability, self-censorship, and unquestioned beliefs. Other signs include rationalizing, self-censorship, mindguards, and direct pressure.

Why does groupthink occur? Think about the last time you were part of a group, perhaps during a school project. Imagine that someone proposes an idea that you think is terrible, ineffective, or just downright dumb.

However, everyone else in the group agrees with the person who suggested the idea, and the group seems set on pursuing that course of action. Do you voice your dissent or just go along with the majority opinion?

In many cases, people end up engaging in groupthink when they fear that their objections might disrupt the harmony of the group or suspect that their ideas might cause other members to reject them .

Groupthink is complex and there are many influences that can impact when and how it happens. Some causes that may play a part include:

Group Identity

It tends to occur more in situations where group members are very similar to one another. When there is strong group identity, members of the group tend to perceive their group as correct or superior while expressing disdain or disapproval toward people outside of the group, a phenomenon known as the ingroup bias.

When people have a lot in common and are very similar to one another, their beliefs and decision-making are often biased in similar ways. This means that they may come to the same conclusions and interpret the available information in the same ways.

Leader Influences

Groupthink is also more likely to occur when a powerful and charismatic leader commands the group. People may be more likely to go along with authoritarian leaders because they fear punishment. Transformational leaders can sometimes produce this same effect because group members are more willing to buy into their vision for the group.

Low Knowledge

When people lack personal knowledge of something or feel that other members of the group are more qualified, they are more likely to engage in groupthink. Since they lack the expertise and experience, they tend to let other people set the pace and make the decisions.

Situations where the group is placed under extreme stress or where moral dilemmas exist also increase the occurrence of groupthink. It's easier to maintain peace and stick to the group consensus rather than rock the boat and slow things down by introducing conflicting ideas.

Contributing Factors

Janis suggested that groupthink tends to be the most prevalent in conditions:

  • When there is a high degree of cohesiveness.
  • When there are situational factors that contribute to deferring to the group (such as external threats, moral problems, and difficult decisions).
  • When there are structural issues (such as group isolation and a lack of impartial leadership ).

Groupthink has been attributed to many real-world political decisions that have had consequential effects. In his original descriptions of groupthink, Janis suggested that the escalation of the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the failure of the U.S. to heed warnings about a potential attack on Pearl Harbor were all influenced by groupthink.

Other examples where decision-making is believed to be heavily influenced by groupthink include:

  • The Watergate scandal
  • The Challenger space shuttle disaster
  • The 2003 invasion of Iraq
  • The 2008 economic crisis
  • The Tiananmen Square disaster
  • Internet cancel culture

In more everyday settings, researchers suggest that groupthink might play a part in decisions made by professionals in healthcare settings.

In each instance, factors such as pressure to conform, closed-mindedness, feelings of invulnerability, and the illusion of group unanimity contribute to poor decisions and often devastating outcomes.

Groupthink can cause people to ignore important information and can ultimately lead to poor decisions . This can be damaging even in minor situations but can have much more dire consequences in certain settings.

Medical, military, or political decisions, for example, can lead to unfortunate outcomes when they are impaired by the effects of groupthink.

The phenomenon can have high costs. These include:

  • The suppression of individual opinions and creative thought can lead to inefficient problem-solving .
  • It can contribute to group members engaging in self-censorship. This tendency to seek consensus above all else also means that group members may not adequately assess the potential risks and benefits of a decision. 
  • Groupthink also tends to lead group members to perceive the group as inherently moral or right. Stereotyped beliefs about other groups can contribute to this biased sense of rightness.

Groupthink can be a way to preserve the harmony in the group, which may be helpful in some situations that require rapid decision-making. However, it can also lead to poor problem-solving and contribute to bad decisions .

Groupthink vs. Conformity

It is important to note that while groupthink and conformity are similar and related concepts, there are important distinctions between the two. Groupthink involves the decision-making process.

On the other hand, conformity is a process in which people change their own actions so they can fit in with a specific group. Conformity can sometimes cause groupthink, but it isn't always the motivating factor.

While groupthink can generate consensus, it is by definition a negative phenomenon that results in faulty or uninformed thinking and decision-making. Some of the problems it can cause include:

  • Blindness to potentially negative outcomes
  • Failure to listen to people with dissenting opinions
  • Lack of creativity
  • Lack of preparation to deal with negative outcomes
  • Ignoring important information
  • Inability to see other solutions
  • Not looking for things that might not yet be known to the group
  • Obedience to authority without question
  • Overconfidence in decisions
  • Resistance to new information or ideas

Group consensus can allow groups to make decisions, complete tasks, and finish projects quickly and efficiently—but even the most harmonious groups can benefit from some challenges.   Finding ways to reduce groupthink can improve decision-making and assure amicable relationships within the group.

There are steps that groups can take to minimize this problem. First, leaders can give group members the opportunity to express their own ideas or argue against ideas that have already been proposed.

Breaking up members into smaller independent teams can also be helpful. Here are some more ideas that might help prevent groupthink.

  • Initially, the leader of the group should avoid stating their opinions or preferences when assigning tasks. Give people time to come up with their own ideas first.
  • Assign at least one individual to take the role of the "devil's advocate."
  • Discuss the group's ideas with an outside member in order to get impartial opinions.
  • Encourage group members to remain critical. Don't discourage dissent or challenges to the prevailing opinion.
  • Before big decisions, leaders should hold a "second-chance" meeting where members have the opportunity to express any remaining doubts.
  • Reward creativity and give group members regular opportunities to share their ideas and thoughts.
  • Assign specific roles to certain members of the group.
  • Establish metrics or definitions to make sure that everyone is basing decisions or judgments on the same information.
  • Consider allowing people to submit anonymous comments, suggestions, or opinions.

Diversity among group members has also been shown to enhance decision-making and reduce groupthink.  

When people in groups have diverse backgrounds and experiences, they are better able to bring different perspectives, information, and ideas to the table. This enhances decisions and makes it less likely that groups will fall into groupthink patterns.

DiPierro K, Lee H, Pain KJ, Durning SJ, Choi JJ. Groupthink among health professional teams in patient care: A scoping review .  Med Teach . 2022;44(3):309-318. doi:10.1080/0142159X.2021.1987404

Bang D, Frith CD. Making better decisions in groups .  R Soc Open Sci . 2017;4(8):170193. doi:10.1098/rsos.170193

Rose JD. Diverse perspectives on the groupthink theory - A literary review . Emerging Leadership Journeys . 2011;4(1):37-57.

JSTOR Daily. How to cure groupthink .

Lee TC. Groupthink, qualitative comparative analysis, and the 1989 tiananmen square disaster . Small Group Research . 2020;51(4):435-463. doi:10.1177/1046496419879759

Walker P, Lovat T. The moral authority of consensus .  J Med Philos . 2022;47(3):443-456. doi:10.1093/jmp/jhac007

Gokar H. Groupthink principles and fundamentals in organizations . Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business. 2013;5(8):225-240.

Janis IL. Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; 1972.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

What Is Groupthink? Definition and Examples

Why Groups Sometimes Make Bad Decisions

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Groupthink is a process through which the desire for consensus in groups can lead to poor decisions. Rather than object to them and risk losing a sense of group solidarity, members may remain silent and lend their support.

Key Takeaways

  • Groupthink occurs when a group values cohesiveness and unanimity more than making the right decision.
  • In situations characterized by groupthink, individuals may self-censor criticism of the group decision, or group leaders may suppress dissenting information.
  • Although groupthink leads to making suboptimal decisions, group leaders can take steps to avoid groupthink and improve decision-making processes.

Groupthink was first studied by Irving Janis, who was interested in understanding why groups with intelligent, knowledgeable group members sometimes made poorly-considered decisions. We’ve all seen examples of poor decisions made by groups: think, for example, of blunders made by political candidates, inadvertently offensive advertising campaigns, or an ineffective strategic decision by the managers of a sports team. When you see an especially bad public decision, you may even wonder, “How did so many people not realize this was a bad idea?” Groupthink, essentially, explains how this happens.

Importantly, groupthink isn’t inevitable when groups of people work together, and they can sometimes make better decisions than individuals. In a well-functioning group, members can pool their knowledge and engage in constructive debate to make a better decision than individuals would on their own. However, in a groupthink situation, these benefits of group decision-making are lost because individuals may suppress questions about the group’s decision or don't share information that the group would need in order to reach an effective decision.

When Are Groups at Risk of Groupthink?

Groups may be more likely to experience groupthink when particular conditions are met. In particular, highly cohesive groups may be at higher risk. For example, if the group members are close to each other (if they’re friends in addition to having a working relationship, for instance) they may be hesitant to speak up and question their fellow group members’ ideas. Groupthink is also thought to be more likely when groups don’t seek out other perspectives (e.g. from outside experts).

The leader of a group can also create groupthink situations. For example, if a leader makes his or her preferences and opinions known, group members may be hesitant to publicly question the leader’s opinion. Another risk factor for groupthink occurs when groups are making stressful or high-stakes decisions; in these situations, going with the group may be a safer choice than voicing a potentially controversial opinion.

Characteristics of Groupthink

When groups are highly cohesive, don’t seek outside perspectives, and are working in high-stress situations, they can be at risk for experiencing characteristics of groupthink. In situations such as these, a variety of processes occurs which inhibit the free discussion of ideas and cause members to go along with the group instead of voicing dissent.

  • Seeing the group as infallible. People may think that the group is better at making decisions than it actually is. In particular, group members may suffer from what Janis called the illusion of invulnerability : the assumption that the group can’t possibly make a major error. Groups can also hold the belief that whatever the group is doing is right and moral (not considering that others might question the ethics of a decision).
  • Not being open-minded. Groups may make efforts to justify and rationalize their initial decision, rather than considering potential pitfalls of their plan or other alternatives. When the group does see potential signs that its decision may be misguided, members may try to rationalize why their initial decision is correct (rather than changing their actions in light of new information). In situations where there’s a conflict or competition with another group, they may also hold negative stereotypes about the other group and underestimate their capabilities.
  • Valuing conformity over free discussion. In groupthink situations, there’s little room for people to voice dissenting opinions. Individual members may self-censor and avoid questioning the group’s actions. This can lead to what Janis called the illusion of unanimity : many people doubt the group’s decision, but it appears the group is unanimous because no one is willing to voice their dissent publicly. Some members (whom Janis called mindguards ) may even directly put pressure on other members to conform with the group, or they may not share information that would question the group’s decision.

When groups are unable to freely debate ideas, they can end up using flawed decision-making processes. They may not give fair consideration to alternatives and may not have a backup plan if their initial idea fails. They may avoid information that would question their decision, and instead focus on information that supports what they already believe (which is known as the confirmation bias ).

To get an idea of how groupthink might work in practice, imagine you’re part of a company that is trying to develop a new advertising campaign for a consumer product. The rest of your team seems excited about the campaign but you have some concerns. However, you’re reluctant to speak up because you like your coworkers and don’t want to publicly embarrass them by questioning their idea. You also don’t know what to suggest that your team do instead, because most of the meetings have involved talking about why this campaign is good, instead of considering other possible advertising campaigns. Briefly, you talk to your immediate supervisor and mention to her your concerns about the campaign. However, she tells you not to derail a project that everyone is so excited about and fails to relay your concerns to the team leader. At that point, you may decide that going along with the group is the strategy that makes the most sense—you don’t want to stand out for going against a popular strategy. After all, you tell yourself, if it’s such a popular idea among your coworkers—whom you like and respect—can it really be such a bad idea?

Situations such as this one show that groupthink can happen relatively easily. When there are strong pressures to conform to the group, we may not voice our true thoughts. In cases like this, we can even experience the illusion of unanimity: while many people may privately disagree, we go along with the group’s decision—which can lead the group to make a bad decision.

Historical Examples

One famous example of groupthink was the United States’ decision to launch an attack against Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The attack was ultimately unsuccessful, and Janis found that many characteristics of groupthink were present among the key decision-makers. Other examples Janis examined included the United States not preparing for a potential attack on Pearl Harbor and its escalation of involvement in the Vietnam War . Since Janis developed his theory, numerous research projects have sought to test the elements of his theory. Psychologist Donelson Forsyth , who researches group processes, explains that, although not all research has supported Janis’ model, it has been highly influential in understanding how and why groups can sometimes make poor decisions.

Avoiding Groupthink

Although groupthink can hinder the ability of groups to make effective decisions, Janis suggested that there are several strategies that groups could use to avoid falling victim to groupthink. One involves encouraging group members to voice their opinions and to question the group’s thinking on an issue. Similarly, one person can be asked to be a “devil’s advocate” and point out potential pitfalls in the plan.

Group leaders can also try to prevent groupthink by avoiding sharing their opinion up front, so that group members don’t feel pressured to agree with the leader. Groups can also break into smaller sub-groups and then discuss each sub-group’s idea when the larger group reunites.

Another way of preventing groupthink is by seeking outside experts to offer opinions, and talking to people who are not part of the group to get their feedback on the group’s ideas.

  • Forsyth, Donelson R. Group Dynamics . 4th ed., Thomson/Wadsworth, 2006. https://books.google.com/books?id=jXTa7Tbkpf4C
  • Janis, Irving L. “Groupthink.” Leadership: Understanding the Dynamics of Power and Influence in Organizations , edited by Robert P. Vecchio. 2nd ed., University of Notre Dame Press, 2007, pp. 157-169. https://muse.jhu.edu/book/47900
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Definition of groupthink noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • Firms with a diverse leadership typically avoid groupthink.

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Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff

Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of well-intentioned people makes irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the belief that dissent is impossible. The problematic or premature consensus that is characteristic of groupthink may be fueled by a particular agenda—or it may be due to group members valuing harmony and coherence above critical thought.

  • Why Groupthink Happens
  • Avoiding Groupthink


The term “groupthink” was first introduced in the November 1971 issue of Psychology Today by psychologist Irving Janis. Janis had conducted extensive research on group decision-making under conditions of stress .

Since then, Janis and other researchers have found that in a situation that can be characterized as groupthink, individuals tend to refrain from expressing doubts and judgments or disagreeing with the consensus. In the interest of making a decision that furthers their group cause, members may also ignore ethical or moral consequences. While it is often invoked at the level of geopolitics or within business organizations, groupthink can also refer to subtler processes of social or ideological conformity , such as participating in bullying or rationalizing a poor decision being made by one's friends.

Groups that prioritize their group identity and behave coldly toward “outsiders” may be more likely to fall victim to groupthink. Organizations in which dissent is discouraged or openly punished are similarly likely to engage in groupthink when making decisions. High stress is another root cause, as is time pressure that demands a fast decision. 

Even in minor cases, groupthink triggers decisions that aren’t ideal or that ignore critical information. In highly consequential domains—like politics or the military—groupthink can have much worse consequences, leading groups to ignore ethics or morals, prioritize one specific goal while ignoring countless collateral consequences, or, at worst, instigate death and destruction.

Groupthink, by definition, results in a decision that is irrational or dangerous. It is possible, however, for teams to make decisions harmoniously and with little disagreement, in ways that are not necessarily indicative of groupthink. While well-functioning teams can (and should) have some conflict , debate (as long as it's respectful) is antithetical to groupthink.

Groupthink and conformity are related but distinct concepts. Groupthink specifically refers to a process of decision-making; it can be motivated by a desire to conform, but isn’t always. Conformity , on the other hand, pertains to individuals who (intentionally or unintentionally) shift their behaviors, appearances, or beliefs to sync up to those of the group.

Risky or disastrous military maneuvers, such as the escalation of the Vietnam War or the invasion of Iraq, are commonly cited as instances of groupthink. In Janis’ original article, he highlighted groupthink during the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion .

Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

To recognize groupthink, it's useful to identify the situations in which it's most likely to occur. When groups feel threatened—either physically or through threats to their identity —they may develop a strong “us versus them” mentality. This can prompt members to accept group perspectives, even when those perspectives don’t necessarily align with their personal views. Groupthink may also occur in situations in which decision-making is rushed—in some cases, with destructive outcomes.

To minimize the risk, it's critical to allow enough time for issues to be fully discussed, and for as many group members as possible to share their thoughts. When dissent is encouraged, groupthink is less likely to occur. Learning about common cognitive biases, as well as how to identify them, may also reduce the likelihood of groupthink.

Individual members of the group self-censoring —especially if they fear being shunned or derided for speaking their mind—is one potential sign that the group may engage in groupthink. If those who do dissent are pressured to recant or conform to the majority view, it may similarly signal groupthink. Groups that actively deride “outsiders” may be more likely to fall prey.

Since groupthink often occurs because group members fear disagreeing with the leader , it can be beneficial for the leader to temporarily step back and allow members to debate the issue themselves. One member of the team can be appointed as “devil’s advocate,” who will argue against the consensus to highlight potential flaws.

Healthy dissent has been linked to more creative thinking and ultimately greater innovation within organizations . Asking one person to deliberately play devil’s advocate and argue with the solutions proposed by the majority is one strategy that has been shown to be effective against groupthink.

Diversity—both demographic diversity and diversity of thought— has been shown to reduce the possibility of groupthink . Group members’ different backgrounds, beliefs, or personality traits can all spawn unique ideas that can inspire innovation. It’s critical, though, that all group members—regardless of their position or demographics—be allowed to contribute to group decision-making.

Organizations that want to support critical thinking, creativity , and innovation should first foster a culture where dissent is allowed and encouraged. They should reward risk-taking , be open to ideas from all group members—regardless of their experience or position—and create regular opportunities for individuals to share their ideas , big and small.

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Groupthink: Definition, Signs, Examples, and How to Avoid It

Derek Schaedig

Outreach Specialist

B.A., Psychology, Harvard University

Derek Schaedig, who holds a B.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, is a mental health advocate. His lived experience with mental illness has been showcased in various podcasts and articles. He currently serves as a part-time outreach specialist for the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.

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BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

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Groupthink refers to the tendency for certain types of groups to reach decisions that are extreme and which tend to be unwise or unrealistic

Groupthink occurs when individuals in cohesive groups fail to consider alternative perspectives because they are motivated to reach a consensus which typically results in making less-than-desirable decisions.

For example, group members may ignore or discount information that is inconsistent with their chosen decision and express strong disapproval against any group member who might disagree.

3 stick figures all having the same thought - shared thought bubble with 'groupthink' inside it.

Janis (1971, 1982) popularized the term groupthink; however, he did not originate the concept. That is generally accredited to George Orwell as he describes the psychological phenomenon as “crimethink” or “doublethink” in his famous dystopian novel titled 1984 (Orwell, 1949).

Janis described groupthink early on as “the mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive ingroup that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action” (1972, p. 9).

Groupthink typically connotes a negative effect. In fact, Janis described it originally in his book published in 1972 titled Victims of Groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes as “a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures” (Janis, 1972, p. 9).

Lack of diversity in groups : Groups that have members who are very similar to one another can be a cause of groupthink. With a lack of diverse perspectives, the group fails to consider outside perspectives.

Furthermore, these group embers may engage in more negative attitudes towards outgroup members, which can exacerbate groupthink.

Lack of impartial leadership : Groups with particularly powerful leaders who fail to seriously consider perspectives other than their own are prone to groupthink as well.

These leaders can overpower group members’ opinions that oppose their own ideas.

Stress : Placing a decision-making group under stress in scenarios such as one where there are moral dilemmas can increase the chances of groupthink occurring.

These groups may try to reach a consensus irrationally.

Time constraints : Related to stress, placing time constraints on a decision being made can increase the amount of anxiety, also leading to groupthink.

Highly cohesive groups : Groups that are particularly close-knit typically display more groupthink symptoms than groups that are not.

Lack of outside perspectives : Only considering the perspectives of in-group members can lead to groupthink as well.

Motivation to maintain group members’ self-esteem : If group members are motivated to maintain each other’s self-esteem, they may not raise their voices against the group consensus.

In Janis’s first book, he cited eight symptoms of groupthink to look out for in order to avoid the phenomena from occurring (Janis, 1972).

Invulnerability : When groups begin to believe their decisions and actions are untouchable or that the group is invincible, they ignore warnings or signs of danger that run contrary to their consensus.

Rationale : Groups that engage in groupthink rationalize their decisions even in the face of obvious warning signs or negative feedback that they receive.

This is typically thought to be the case because if the group took into further consideration these pushbacks, the group members’ egos, as well as the time needed to make the decision, may be harmed.

Morality : Groups may also believe that their group is inherently morally correct, and they may therefore ignore potential moral or ethical consequences of their decision.

Stereotypes : People or groups that oppose the group engaging in groupthink may be rendered enemies as well. This results in mislabeling the enemy group as “stupid” or “weak” when they may not be.

Pressure : Groups may directly pressure members of the group who contradict the policy advocated by the group.

This forces them to not be able to push back against any arguments being made. This can leave groups prone to making irrational decisions.

Self-censorship : Members of groups can sometimes censor themselves too.

These individuals may hold off on raising an opinion contrary to the group consensus or convince themselves their opposing viewpoint is unimportant for fear of judgment from the group.

Unanimity : Sometimes, the false assumption can be made that if everyone in the group is silent, then everyone must agree with what is being put forth.

Mindguards : This term refers to when members of the group appoint themselves as protectors of the leader or other important group members.

Mindguards dismiss information that contradicts popular opinion or about past decisions to maintain group self-esteem.


Poor decisions : Potentially, the largest overall impact groupthink can have on decision-making groups is that they are more prone to making poor decisions.

The effects of groupthink can be especially harmful in the military, medical, and political courses of action.

Self-censorship :  Individuals within the group affected by groupthink may not be as effective as possible when helping make decisions because they may hold back their potentially helpful opinions if they run contrary to the group’s popular opinion.

Inefficient problem solving : Because groups who experience the effects of groupthink fail to consider alternative perspectives, they can sometimes fail to consider ways to solve problems that deviate from their original plan of action.

This can lead to inefficiencies in the group’s problem-solving capabilities.

Harmful stereotypes can develop : Groups may begin to believe that their group is inherently morally right.

They, therefore, consider themselves the “in-group” and label others as outsiders or the “out-group,” which can become harmful to those on the outside as irrational thoughts about them begin to develop.

Lack of creativity : Because members of these groups may self-censor themselves or have pressure put on them by the group to conform, a lack of creativity may result due to the group not encouraging different ideas than the norm.

Blindness to negative outcomes : Since groups affected by groupthink can sometimes believe they are inherently correct, they may be unable to see the potentially negative outcomes of their decisions.

They, therefore, will not be able to plan accordingly if a negative outcome occurs.

Lack of preparation to manage negative outcomes : Because these groups can be overconfident in their decisions, they are more likely to be ill-prepared if their plan does not succeed.

Inability to see other solutions : Groupthink can lead to the group failing to consider other opinions or ideas. This leads to the group viewing only the group consensus as the correct solution.

Obedience to authority without question : Members of the group are more likely to follow their leaders blindly, never raising their opinion against whether the actions the group agrees on are moral or the correct course of action.

Can Groupthink Ever be a Good Thing?

Groupthink is generally considered a negative phenomenon.

Groups generally can benefit from hearing a diverse set of perspectives and information, and failing to do so can result in suboptimal decisions being made.

However, it is true that groups who engage in groupthink can make decisions quickly (although they may not be the best decision possible).

Also, anxiety can be reduced in the group because the group believes their decisions cannot be flawed. Groups who suffer from groupthink view themselves as untouchable (Janis, 1972).

Furthermore, groups rationalize the decision they made, whether it was the best option or not, and therefore convince themselves that the risks they are assuming are not as great as they truly are.

Lastly, the group may also believe that they are inherently morally right, which helps the members of the group cease to feel shame or guilt.

Overall though, groups should take precautions to avoid groupthink as much as possible.

Real-Life Scenarios

The social and political consequences of groupthink may be far-reaching, and history has many examples of major blunders that have been the result of decisions reached in this way.

Many case scenarios have been analyzed, such as the Invasion of Iraq (Badie, 2010), the attempt to rescue the American prisoners in the Vietnam War in the Son Tay raid (Amidon, 2005), and fraudulent behavior at WorldCom (Scharff, 2005) among many other flawed decisions cited for failing due to groupthink.

However, the original real-life scenarios of groupthink discussed by Janis were the escalation of the Vietnam War, the Bay of Bigs Scandal, and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The Vietnam War

Elected United States (U.S.) government officials during Vietnam showed signs of invulnerability (Janis, 1972).

The U.S. suffered multiple failures and setbacks, but they continued with their war efforts ignoring the danger and warning signs because they believed they would win no matter what.

Furthermore, the U.S. leaders rationalized their escalated bombing campaigns ignoring the negative feedback that they continuously received.

The U.S. also viewed their decisions as inherently morally right. President Johnson considered the same four factors every Tuesday: the military advantage of the U.S., the risk to American aircraft and pilots, the danger of forcing other countries into the fighting, and the danger of heavy civilian causalities. By engaging in this ritualization, they failed to effectively consider the morality of their decisions.

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s domino theory was an example of stereotyping as well. By viewing the enemy and its surrounding countries as too incompetent to make their own correct decisions, the U.S. administration made decisions that escalated the war.

Reportedly, Johnson once pressured former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers to stop pushing back against the U.S. bombing campaign. Once, when Moyers entered a meeting, Johnson said of Moyers, “Well, here comes Mr. Stop-the-bombings.”

Bay of Pigs

President John F. Kennedy’s administration suffered from the illusion of invulnerability as well. Despite the plans to invade the Bay of Pigs leaking out, Kennedy’s administration proceeded with the plans ignoring the negative warning signs (Janis, 1972).

Historian Arthur J. Schlesinger expressed his strong objections against the war to both President Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk individually, but when it came to the group discussions on the decision to invade or not, Schlesinger stayed quiet.

He fell prey to believing that the ingroup was inherently moral, so Janis argued and kept his qualms quiet.

Another symptom of groupthink that Kennedy and his group experienced was stereotyping (Janis, 1972). Kennedy and his team made three assumptions about the capabilities of Fidel Castro’s administration that proved to be incorrect.

Kennedy’s administration assumed that Castro’s forces were so weak that a small group of U.S. troops could establish a beachhead at the Bay of Pigs. Secondly, the U.S. administration thought that just a fleet of B-26s could knock out Castro’s entire air force. The third assumption was that Castro was not smart enough to stop any internal uprisings.

Kennedy and his team were wrong in all three assumptions because they negatively stereotyped the enemy and made faulty assumptions.

Many members of the group self-censored as well. It seemed as if there was a unanimous decision within the ingroup to continue with the Bay of Pigs invasion, but Rusk failed to voice his contrary opinion even when three government officials outside of the group expressed their concerns.

Pearl Harbor

Despite warning signs, the U.S. government failed to prepare for the attack on Pearl Harbor because they were subject to the illusion of invulnerability (Janis, 1972). They believed they were invincible against any attacks from the Japanese.

The U.S. leaders also rationalized that the Japanese would never dare to attack the U.S. because that would be an act of war, and the U.S. believed they would win and that their opponent viewed this the same.

This stereotype and failure to view the situation from the enemy’s point of view led to the poor decision to not adequately prepare for the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Opposition to the Theory

Despite a lot of support for the theory over the years, it has received some pushback as well. Sally Fuller and Ramon Aldag argue that being in a cohesive group has been proven to be effective (Aldag & Fuller, 1993; Fuller S.R. & Aldag R.J., 1998).

They also argue that Janis’s theory is not empirically supported and can be inconsistent.  Robert Baron reflects on the many years of research conducted on groupthink and concludes that the body of evidence has largely failed to support the theory (Baron, 2005).

There has been a large body of experimental research conducted on groupthink, especially in the years directly following the introduction of the theory. Notably, one study found mixed support for the theory (Flowers, 1977).

Aligning with the groupthink theory, the groups in the study with directive leaders came up with fewer solutions, shared less information, and utilized fewer facts about the case before making a decision.

On the other hand, the more surprising finding was that the more cohesive groups did not perform worse than the less cohesive ones.

Opposing the group cohesion aspect of the groupthink theory as well, John Courtright found that group cohesion had no effect on a number of factors, including creativity, feasibility, significance, competence, and a number of possible solutions (Courtright, 1978).

Another set of researchers found similar results when it comes to group cohesion (Fodor & Smith, 1982).

Furthermore, both Callaway and Esser reported that both group cohesion and whether or not groups were told to consider all of the possible alternatives or given no instruction had no effect on task performance (Callaway & Esser, 1984).

However, despite the opposition, many researchers have advocated for the theory in their work as well, and groupthink is widely cited today (Hensley & Griffin, 1986; Tetlock, 1979).

Also, many scholars have adjusted the theory to address the opposition’s findings, including the ubiquity model (Baron, 2005), the general group problem-solving model (GGPS) (Aldag & Fuller, 1993), and the sociocognitive theory (Tsoukalas, 2007) to name a few.

How to Avoid Groupthink

To avoid groupthink, leaders and group members alike can take a variety of steps to help prevent the phenomenon from occurring. Some potential solutions are below.

Leaders or impactful group members should create a safe space for discussion. They should be open to opposition to the group consensus, accept criticism, and encourage new ideas regardless of a person’s status within the organization (Janis, 1972, 1982).

Key members of the group and leaders should hold back their opinions initially to reduce their influence over the group consensus.

Outside groups could be set up to work on the same problem to compare potential solutions.

If setting up an entire outside group is not feasible, the ingroup should discuss its ideas with experts outside of the group.

Another way to reduce groupthink is by having a “devil’s advocate” or someone who raises ideas contrary to the ones presented despite their own opinion to help produce debates, create new ideas, or help determine the strength of an existing idea.

Considering the opposing groups’ points of view is key as well.

Groups can be split up into smaller subgroups and asked to create their own possible solutions. These groups can then be reconvened to discuss the various options collectively.

After the group has reached a preliminary decision, the group could hold another meeting which gives group members one more chance to raise opposition to the consensus.

When possible, allow as much time as possible to make a decision.

Educating groups about the groupthink phenomenon can be helpful as well.

Lastly, it’s important to have a diverse set of group members in order to have different perspectives, which can help reach a more balanced, optimal conclusion.

Learning check

Which statement about groupthink is correct?
  • Groupthink always occurs in small groups.
  • Groupthink helps to maintain peace and avoid conflict within the group.
  • Groupthink is a phenomenon where the desire for group consensus leads to the suppression of dissenting viewpoints.
  • Groupthink tends to maximize the effectiveness of a team’s performance.

Answer : The correct statement is 3. Groupthink is a phenomenon where the desire for group consensus leads to the suppression of dissenting viewpoints.

Derek’s team is struggling to come to a consensus because several people are unwilling to share their thoughts. What would be the best question for the group to ask themselves to avoid groupthink?

Answer : “Are we creating an environment where everyone feels safe to express their honest opinions and concerns without fear of judgment or backlash?” This encourages open dialogue and reduces the risk of groupthink.

What is groupthink in psychology?

Groupthink in psychology is a phenomenon where the desire for group consensus and harmony leads to poor decision-making.

Members suppress dissenting viewpoints, ignore external views, and may take irrational actions that devalue independent critical thinking.

What causes groupthink?

Groupthink is often caused by group pressure, strong directive leadership, high group cohesion, and isolation from outside opinions.

It is also more likely in stressful situations where decision-making becomes rushed and critical evaluation is minimized.

What are the common results of groupthink?

Common groupthink results include poor decision-making, lack of creativity, ignored alternatives, suppressed dissent, and potentially irrational actions.

It may also lead to overlooking risks, not considering all possible outcomes, and failing to re-evaluate initially rejected options.

Further Information

Lunenburg FC. Group decision making: The potential for groupthink. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration. 2010;13(1).

Bang, D., & Frith, C. D. (2017). Making better decisions in groups. Royal Society open science, 4(8), 170193.

Rose, J. D. (2011). Diverse perspectives on the groupthink theory–a literary review. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 4(1), 37-57.

Aldag, R. J., & Fuller, S. R. (1993). Beyond Fiasco: A Reappraisal of the Groupthink Phenomenon and a New Model of Group Decision Processes. Psychological Bulletin, 113 (3), 533–552. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.113.3.533

Amidon, M. (2005). Groupthink, politics, and the decision to attempt the Son Tay rescue. Parameters (Carlisle, Pa.), 35(3), 119.

Badie, D. (2010). Groupthink, Iraq, and the War on Terror: Explaining US Policy Shift toward Iraq: Groupthink, Iraq, and the War on Terror. Foreign Policy Analysis, 6 (4), 277–296. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-8594.2010.00113.x

Baron, R. S. (2005). So Right It’s Wrong: Groupthink and the Ubiquitous Nature of Polarized Group Decision Making. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 37, pp. 219–253). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(05)37004-3

Callaway, M. R., & Esser, J. K. (1984). Groupthink: Effects of Cohesiveness and Problem-Solving Procedures on Group Decision Making. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 12 (2), 157–164. https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1984.12.2.157

Courtright, J. A. (1978). A laboratory investigation of groupthink. Communication Monographs, 45 (3), 229–246. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637757809375968

Flowers, M. L. (1977). A laboratory test of some implications of Janis’s groupthink hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(12), 888–896. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3514.35.12.888

Fodor, E. M., & Smith, T. (1982). The power motive as an influence on group decision making. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42 (1), 178–185. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.42.1.178

Fuller S.R. & Aldag R.J. (1998). Organizational Tonypandy: Lessons from a Quarter Century of the Groupthink Phenomenon. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73 (23), 163–184.

Hensley, T. R., & Griffin, G. W. (1986). Victims of Groupthink: The Kent State University Board of Trustees and the 1977 Gymnasium Controversy. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 30 (3), 497–531. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002786030003006

Janis, I. (1971, November). Groupthink. Psychology Today, 84–89.

Janis, I. (1972). Victims of groupthink: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes (pp. viii, 277). Houghton Mifflin.

Janis, I. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascoes (2nd ed.). Houghton Mifflin. https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:734003

Orwell, G. (1949). 1984. Signet Classic.

Raven, B. H. (1998). Groupthink, Bay of Pigs, and Watergate reconsidered: Theoretical perspectives on groupthink: a twenty-fifth anniversary appraisal. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 73 (2–3), 352–361.

Scharff, M. M. (2005). WorldCom: A Failure of Moral and Ethical Values. The Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 10(3), 35-.

Tetlock, P. E. (1979). Identifying victims of groupthink from public statements of decision makers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37 (8), 1314–1324. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.37.8.1314

Tsoukalas, I. (2007). Exploring the Microfoundations of Group Consciousness. Culture & Psychology, 13 (1), 39–81. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354067X07073650

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Groupthink is an occurrence where by a group comes to a unanimous decision about a possible action despite the existence of fact that points to another correct course of action. This term was first given by Irving Janis who was a social psychologist. His main aim was to understand how a group of individuals came up with excellent decisions one time and totally messed up ones at other times.


According to Irving, in a group sometimes there comes a situation when all the members of the groupthink it is more important to come to a unanimous decision than to carefully go through all their options to get at the most beneficial course of action.

Some famous examples of group – think are the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Bay of Pigs invasion. It has been reported that the engineers of the space shuttle knew about some faulty parts months before takeoff, but in order to avoid negative press, they went ahead with the launch anyway. In the second case, President Kennedy made a decision and the people around him supported it despite having their own doubts.

In groupthink, the members of the group place emphasis on everyone agreeing and feel threatened if all do not agree on a course of action. This results on better options being overlooked, people overcoming their basic thoughts of providing alternatives, critiques or a new opinion. This results in poor decision making, unmet goals and problem solving.

Groupthink occurs normally when there a strong sense of “we” in the group. In such a case people want to be on good terms with their group no matter what the cost. They try to maintain the harmony of the group and sacrifice individual critical thinking for groupthink.

According to Janis Groupthink happens when there is a strong, persuasive group leader, a high level of group cohesion and intense pressure from the outside to make a good decision.

Janis listed eight symptoms of groupthink : The first two stem from overconfidence in the group’s power. The next pair reflects the limited vision, members use to view the problem and the last four are signs of strong compliance pressure from within the group.

  • Illusions of invulnerability : Here the groups display excessive optimism and take big risks. The members of the group feel they are perfect and that anything they do will turn out to be successful.
  • Collective Rationalization : Here memebers of the group rationalize thoughts or suggestions that challenge what the majority is thinking. They try giving reasons as to why the others don’t agree and therby go ahead with their original decisions.
  • Belief in Inherent morality of the group : There is a belief that whatever the group does it will be right as they all know the difference between right and wrong. This cause them to overlook the consequences of what they decide.
  • Out – Group Stereotypes: The group believes that those who disagree are opposed to the group on purpose. They sterotype them as being incapable of taking their right decions and as being weak or evil.
  • Direct Pressure on Dissenters : The majority directly threaten the person who questions the decisions by telling them that they can always leave the group if they don’t want to agree with the majority. Pressure is applied to get them to agree.
  • Self – Censorship : People engage in self – censorship where they believe that if they are the only odd one out then they must be the one who is wrong.
  • Illusions of unanimity : Silence from some is considered to beaceptance of the majority’s decision.
  • Self – Appointed Mind Guards : They are members of the group who take it upon themselves to discourage alternative ideas from being expressed in the group.

To avoid Groupthink, it is important to have a process in place for checking the fundamental assumptions behind important decisions, for validating the decision-making process, and for evaluating the risks involved. It is important to explore objectives and alternatives, encourage challenging of ideas, have back –up plans, etc. If needed gather data and ideas from outside sources and evaluvate them objectively.

If at any point group – think is detected, go back to the beginning and recheck the initial alternatives, discuss in the group about the threats of group – think and then make an active effort to increase the effectiveness of decision making by analysing all angles.

It is best to establish an open climate and assign the role of critical evaluator. Group Techniques like brainstorming, nominal group technique, six thinking hats, the delphi technique, etc can be used.  Make it compulsory to go through certain practices like risk analysis, impact analysis and use the ladder of inference. Use a policy-forming group which reports to the larger group and use different policy groups for different tasks.

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Groupthink is decision-making made as a group. Groupthink ideas are formed in an atmosphere that encourages conformity and harmony, and discourages creativity and personal responsibility. Groupthink is a psychological and sociological phenomenon, groupthink rarely yields the best solution to a problem as the desire to keep the group cohesive is more important than the impetus to create an elegant solution. Irving Janis conducted the first studies on groupthink , highlighting the groupthink principles that came into play leading to the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The term groupthink was coined by William H. Whyte Jr. in an article he wrote for Fortune magazine in 1952.

 Examples The groupthink was evident as early as 2008, when the financial crisis rendered banks on both sides of the Atlantic desperately in need of capital and short-term loans. ( The Irish Examiner ) During the Labour leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn made waves by distinguishing himself from the groupthink of warmongers and phallic bomb fetishisers. ( The Nationa l) Just as importantly, diversity pushes against people’s tendency to engage in “groupthink.” ( Forbes ) An alternative to groupthink is one thing, but his vocal opposition to the city manager may disrupt a city government that is just hitting its stride. ( The Yakima Herald ) On site, the workers’ conversations slip frequently into a poetic unified consciousness, or a mantra of groupthink. ( The Irish Times ) Hefner, daughter of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, said she believes the president started with good intentions to run a more transparent government but was caught up in “groupthink” of intelligence agencies. ( The Los Angeles Time s) Mr Walker will tell an audience of 2,000 businessmen and women: “The British political class, always prey to groupthink, has had two shocks this year, with the decisive re-election of a Conservative government and the choice of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party.” ( The Belfast Telegram )

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When people collectively make a decision or state an opinion, especially one that seems foolish, they're using groupthink . If you go along with your friends' idea to jump off a moving hayride together, you're a victim of groupthink .

The word groupthink is most commonly used in an office or business context. This phenomenon occurs when people who like and trust each other go along with an idea without stopping to think it through critically. It first appeared in Fortune magazine in 1952, inspired by George Orwell's 1984 and its terms like "doublethink." Today groupthink is considered a psychological phenomenon that occurs when conforming to a group feels more important than reason and rationality.

  • noun decision making by a group (especially in a manner that discourages creativity or individual responsibility) see more see less type of: deciding , decision making the cognitive process of reaching a decision

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  • What Is Groupthink? Definition, Signs & How to Avoid It

Angela Kayode-Sanni


Have you ever heard of a group of people who made a decision that had dire consequences and you could only mutter this phrase in shock? What in the world were they thinking?

Or have you ever been part of a group where rash decisions are made? In such scenarios, you wonder why everyone is going along, and no one is speaking up. Well, y ou might have had your first dose of a phenomenon known as Groupthink.

This phenomenon occurs when a group of people make decisions without any iota of critical reasoning, considering the better alternatives, or considering the consequences of their decisions. It is usually driven by the desire not to upset the balance of a group of people. Where Groupthink prevails, people will set aside their belief of what is right or just and just follow the crowd. An example of Groupthink is mob action or jungle justice. 

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define groupthink in speech

Definition and Origins of Groupthink

Psychologist Irving Janis first used groupthink in the 1970s. It can be defined as the propensity of a group of intelligent individuals to suppress their brain and any sense of logic and prioritize acceptance of the popular opinion in order not to create disharmony. It usually happens when members of a group want to avoid conflict and maintain unanimity members of a group just go with the flow to avoid conflict.

 Janis highlighted some key factors that encourage or promote groupthink and they are; group cohesion, insulation from outside perspectives, directive leadership, and high-stress situations. These factors enable an environment where insightful decisions are made from a critical evaluation of facts without considering better alternatives or options. 

define groupthink in speech

Real-world Examples

The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster: The Challenger disaster happened on 28, 1986,  January when the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger crashed  73 seconds into its flight, causing the deaths of all seven crew members. The shocking tragedy shocked the world and led to a reevaluation of NASA’s safety protocols. Here it was discovered that there were flaws in the decision-making process and the risks were evident but the team made the flight all the same.

The 2003 Invasion of Iraq:

In  2003  Iraq was invaded based on the belief that there had weapons of mass destruction. However, after the invasion and great destruction, no weapons were uncovered. This invasion had significant consequences on the Middle East and global politics

define groupthink in speech

Characteristics of Groupthink

Groupthink has features like thinking the group can’t fail, ignoring problems, and pressuring everyone to agree. Members might not say what they think to avoid problems, and they might believe everyone in the group agrees, even if they don’t.

What are Ethical Practices in Market Research?

Symptoms and Indicators:

When groupthink is happening people feel pressured to agree and not voice out their real feelings. According to psychologist Janis, there are 6 traits or indicators of groupthink.

The eight traits of groupthink, according to Janis, are:

  • Illusions of unanimity: Here the decision makers believe that no one has a dissenting opinion and act or make decisions that show or depict their illusion of unanimity.
  • Unquestioned beliefs: Here members of the group have unquestioned faith in the decisions taken by their leaders and refuse to acknowledge the potential consequences.
  • Rationalization: Group members ignore clear and rational indicators and warning signs.
  • Stereotyping of contrary viewpoints; Here the lack of objectivity amongst the group members makes other members keep their opinions to themselves and they do not question or challenge the group’s ideas.
  • Mindguards: These are group members who act as the devil’s advocate and prevent the circulation of contrary viewpoints by either keeping information that would cause dissension or stopping other members from expressing contrary views.
  • Illusions of invulnerability: Here members of the group are made to believe that they are infallible, and above the law, This leads group members to engage in unjustified risky behaviors with an overly optimistic hope of success.
  • Direct Pressure : This is the outright silencing of group members who may raise uncomfortable questions. They are made to feel that their questions or contrary views are signs of disloyalty.

In summary, group members ignore the clear probability of negative outcomes and are unduly convinced of the success of their ideas or decisions/actions.

define groupthink in speech

Group Dynamics at Play:

Close-knit groups or groups with strong leaders are most likely to possess groupthink, especially if members of the group do not consider the opinions of others. A classical example is Adolf Hitler and his attempt to create blue-blooded Germans & annihilate the Jews. This caused the death of more than 5 million Jews in Germany.

Sometimes stressful situations can also cause groupthink. You find this in instances where a group of people all unanimously decide to commit group suicide, this idea may have been muted by a strong member of the group, and the members follow along. In certain instances, cultural beliefs come into play and you have scenarios like honor killing, where the head of a home the father convinces mother and son to be part of killing their children/sibling because they broke a family tradition. In some instances, the influence the leader of the family holds is so strong that even if any of them believe that it’s a wrong decision they are “compelled” to go ahead either as a result of fear that a worse fate will befall them if they don’t play along. 

Group dynamics play a vital role in groupthink. Factors such as leadership style,  group cohesion, and external pressures can influence the likelihood of groupthink occurring.

Group Cohesion: Highly cohesive groups, where members are closely bonded either by family ties, or culture. religion, and or share similar values, are more vulnerable to groupthink. The desire to not rock the boat usually overrides logical reasoning and dissenting opinions.

Leadership Style: Authoritarian leaders like the Adolf Hitler example which suppressed and punished independent thinking foster an environment where conforming is valued over objective reasoning. 

External Pressures: External pressures, fuelled by the desire to maintain a particular status can facilitate groupthink and people’s value of public perception at the expense of risk analysis and critical evaluation.

define groupthink in speech

Consequences of Groupthink:

Groupthink is a negative phenomenon and dire consequences are sully the outcomes of Groupthink. This is so because this concept does not consider options, ignores risks and the consequences have always been fatal with far-reaching consequences that sometimes last a lifetime. A classical example is the Hiroshima and Nagasaki experience where the fear of China winning the war led the US to deploy atomic bombs which affected the formation of fetuses in the womb decades after the war was over. 

Case Studies

After the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, investigators discovered that a series of poor decisions led to the deaths of seven astronauts. The day before the launch, engineers from Morton Thiokol, the company that built the solid rocket boosters, had warned flight managers at NASA that the O-ring seals on the booster rockets would fail in the freezing temperatures forecast for that morning. The O-rings were not designed for anything below 53 degrees Fahrenheit.3

NASA personnel overrode the scientific facts presented by the engineers who were experts in their fields and fell victim to groupthink. When flight readiness reviewers received the go-ahead for launch from lower-level NASA managers, no mention was made of Morton Thiokol’s objections. The shuttle launched as scheduled, but the result was disastrous. Other events that may be possible groupthink-involved failures include the Bay of Pigs invasion, Watergate, and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

define groupthink in speech

Preventing and Mitigating Groupthink 

Strategies for Effective Decision-Making

Step 1: The first step to avoiding Groupthink is to allow everyone to express their opinion, listen to different ideas, and critically evaluate decisions before reaching a consensus.

Step 2: Breaking members into smaller groups can encourage independent thinking. Another technique that works is allowing others to express their opinions first before a leader tables their opinion or viewpoint. 

Step 3: To  avoid groupthink, groups should listen to different ideas, let people say what they think, and think about other options. Leaders should set an example by being open-minded, and groups can use tools to help them make decisions. There are steps that groups can take to minimize this problem. First, leaders can allow group members to express their ideas or argue against ideas that have already been proposed.

Step 4: Setting out clear metrics standards that allow us to evaluate decisions before it is passed also helps. Ensuring that each time a decision is made it adheres to the following parameters.

  • Respect for all that lives
  • All lives matter
  • Protect Vulnerable members of the society
  • Doesn’t impoverish one to enrich another

Step 5: Consider having an external party or non-member of your group evaluate your decisions. The advantage of this is their neutrality since they are not part of your group. So they aren’t prone to the thinking pattern or type of rationalizations amongst your group members.

This list is endless however these are some ideas that would help you nip Groupthink in the bud even before it takes root.

Lastly having a diverse Group mix with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences brings different perspectives, information, and ideas to the table. This makes it less likely that groups will fall into groupthink patterns

define groupthink in speech

Groupthink is when people accept the same idea without evaluating the decision along the lines of logical reasoning, most times in a bid to show solidarity and respect to leaders. It silences dissenting voices and gives no room form for critical reasoning.

The implication of this is that wrong ideas can become policies that can affect the well-being of places, or people concerned. To avoid Groupthink it is important to ensure that everyone has a say and that every idea is evaluated along the lines of certain standard values that protect the lives and property of every one especially vulnerable groups or communities. 


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What Is Groupthink?

Understanding groupthink.

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How to Avoid Groupthink

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What Is Groupthink? Definition, Characteristics, and Causes

define groupthink in speech

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Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the consequences or alternatives. Groupthink is based on a common desire not to upset the balance of a group of people.

This desire creates a dynamic within a group whereby creativity and individuality tend to be stifled in order to avoid conflict.

Key Takeaways

  • Groupthink is a phenomenon in which individuals overlook potential problems in the pursuit of consensus thinking.
  • Any dissenters in the group who may attempt to introduce a rational argument are pressured to come around to the consensus and may even be censored.
  • Groupthink is particularly dangerous in political situations where no single actor has all of the relevant information.
  • Groupthink can be reduced by inviting criticism or appointing one person to act as a "devil's advocate" against the group.
  • The Challenger shuttle disaster, the Bay of Pigs, Watergate, and the escalation of the Vietnam War are all considered possible consequences of groupthink.

In a business setting, groupthink can cause employees and supervisors to overlook potential problems in the pursuit of consensus thinking. Because individual critical thinking is de-emphasized or frowned upon, employees may self-censor and not suggest alternatives for fear of upsetting the status quo.

Yale University social psychologist Irving Janis coined the term groupthink in 1972. Janis theorized that groups of intelligent people sometimes make the worst possible decisions based on several factors. For example, the members of a group might all have similar backgrounds that could insulate them from the opinions of outside groups.

Some organizations have no clear rules upon which to make decisions. Groupthink occurs when a party ignores logical alternatives and makes irrational decisions.

Groupthink is not always problematic. In the best cases, it allows a group to make decisions, complete tasks, and finish projects quickly and efficiently. In the worst cases, it leads to poor decision-making and inefficient problem-solving.

Groupthink Characteristics

Janis identified eight signs, symptoms, or traits of groupthink, all of which lead to flawed conclusions. In summary, the group may have an illusion of invincibility and consider that nothing the group decides to do can go wrong.

The eight traits of groupthink, according to Janis, are:

  • Illusions of unanimity among key decision-makers that cause them to doubt their own misgivings.
  • Unquestioned beliefs that lead group members to ignore potential consequences of the group's actions.
  • Rationalization of potential warning signs that should cause group members to question their beliefs.
  • Stereotyping of contrary viewpoints leading members of the group to reject perspectives that question or challenge the group's ideas.
  • "Mindguards" or members of the group who prevent troubling or contrarian viewpoints from circulating among group members. Rather than sharing important information, they may keep quiet or prevent other members from sharing.
  • Illusions of invulnerability lead group members to engage in unjustified risky behaviors with an overly optimistic hope of success.
  • Direct Pressure may silence group members who tend to pose inconvenient questions or raise objections that may be seen as evidence of disloyalty.

Collectively, these behaviors may make members of a group be excessively optimistic about their success, ignoring any possible negative outcomes . Members are convinced their cause is right and just, so they ignore any moral quandaries of the group's decisions. The group body tends to ignore the suggestions of anyone outside the group.

Any dissenters are pressured to come around to the consensus. After the pressure is exerted, members censor themselves to prevent further shunning. Once decisions are made, the group assumes them to be unanimous.

Some members of a group may act as a "mindguard;" these sentinels prevent any contrary advice from reaching the leaders of the organization. Time constraints may exacerbate all of these issues, and any decisions that need to be made fast may not undergo due diligence .

Groupthink is a dynamic that can lead to bad decisions and even disasters; it is a phenomenon in which a group of individuals may consider themselves infallible.

What Causes Groupthink

Janis also identified certain factors that may contribute to or exacerbate problems related to groupthink. One of the key factors is group identity: when there is a strong sense of shared identity, group members may place a higher value on in-group perspectives and disregard those perspectives from outside the group. Leadership influences may also be a factor: members may be more likely to ignore their own misgivings if the group has a powerful or charismatic leader.

Information levels and stress may also contribute to groupthink, by causing group members to act irrationally. If members of the group lack information or feel that other members are better-informed, they may be more likely to defer to others in group decision-making. High-stress situations can also contribute to poor decisions, by reducing the opportunities for careful discussion.

These issues may be exacerbated by extrinsic factors, such as the perception of an external threat to the group or isolation from outside sources of information. Group members might not be able to make rational decisions when they believe that they are under urgent pressure for immediate action.

Groupthink can be exacerbated by a strong leader, or a strong sense of pressure to make an immediate decision.

Why Is Groupthink Dangerous?

Groupthink may cause people to ignore or reject important information, ultimately leading to poor decisions and errors in leadership. These errors can sometimes result in disaster or unethical behavior because the key decision-makers are unaware of potential risks and contrarian viewpoints have been silenced.

Groupthink is particularly dangerous in political situations where decisions are made through collective deliberation, and no single member of the group has enough knowledge to make an informed decision. Members of the group may feel pressure to conform to the consensus or pressure other members to conform. This may result in the false perception that the group is unanimous, creating even more pressure for group members to hide their misgivings.

Even in highly cohesive groups, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of groupthink on collective decision-making. Groupthink arises out of a natural pressure for conformity, so the problem can be alleviated by assigning one member to act as a "devil's advocate," intentionally raising every possible objection. Since this is an assigned role, the devil's advocate need not worry about the perception of being opposed to the group.

Group members may avoid speaking out to avoid contracting the group's leadership. To avoid that problem, leaders should step back from early discussions to allow lower-ranked members to air their views first. After discussion, leaders should consider holding a "second-chance" discussion for any objections that were not raised before.

Example of Groupthink

After the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, investigators discovered that a series of poor decisions led to the deaths of seven astronauts. The day before the launch, engineers from Morton Thiokol, the company that built the solid rocket boosters, had warned flight managers at NASA that the O-ring seals on the booster rockets would fail in the freezing temperatures forecast for that morning. The O-rings were not designed for anything below 53 degrees Fahrenheit.

NASA personnel overrode the scientific facts presented by the engineers who were experts in their fields and fell victim to groupthink. When flight readiness reviewers received the go-ahead for launch from lower-level NASA managers, no mention was made of Morton Thiokol's objections. The shuttle launched as scheduled, but the result was disastrous.

Other events that may be possible groupthink-involved failures include the Bay of Pigs invasion, Watergate, and the escalation of the Vietnam War.

Why Is Groupthink Often Bad?

Groupthink causes people to ignore or silence opposing viewpoints, creating the illusion that members of the group are in agreement. This may cause them to ignore potential dangers or take excessive risks. In military or political situations, groupthink can sometimes result in disasters or unethical actions because there is high pressure to agree with the group's consensus.

What Are the Symptoms of Groupthink?

Irving Janis identified eight signs that are closely associated with groupthink: illusions of unanimity, unquestioned beliefs, rationalization, stereotyping, "mindguards," illusions of invulnerability, and direct pressure on opposing views. Each of these signs leads members of the group to ignore dissenting viewpoints and to hide their own doubts. This enforces the illusion that the group's decisions are superior to individual judgment, and that any opposing views are contrary to the group's interests.

Under What Conditions Is Groupthink Most Likely to Occur?

Groupthink is most likely to occur in highly cohesive groups with a strong sense of shared identity, where there is a strong pressure to arrive at the correct decision. This pressure may lead some members of the group to withhold key information, in order to avoid undermining the sense of group agreement. A strong or charismatic leader is also a major contributor to groupthink since members will be under pressure to agree with the leader's decisions.

Groupthink occurs when people converge on the same idea with little critical thinking or opposition within the ranks. While groupthink can signal solidarity and may show respect or deference to more senior leaders, it also shuts down dissenting voices and alternative opinions. This means that wrong ideas or bad strategies can become amplified and ultimately implemented. Groupthink, therefore, can lead to suboptimal or even disastrous outcomes.

Irving Janis. " Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes ." Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.

Lunenburg, Fred C. " Group Decision Making: The Potential for Groupthink ." International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, vol. 13, no. 1, 2010, pp. 2-3.

Bang, Dan and Chris D. Frith. " Making Better Decisions in Groups ." Royal Society Open Science , vol. 4, no. 8, August 2017.

Lunenburg, Fred C. " Group Decision Making: The Potential for Groupthink ." International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, vol. 13, no. 1, 2010, pp. 4.

New York Times. " NASA's Curse? Groupthink Is 30 Years Old, and Still Going Strong ."

Irving Janis. " Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes ." Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982.

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Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

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define groupthink in speech

Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication plays a pivotal role in shaping how we interact and make decisions in groups. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of this theory, shedding light on its profound impact on our daily conversations and decision-making processes. Whether in professional settings or personal relationships, understanding this theory can significantly enhance our communication skills and group dynamics.

What is the Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication?

What is the Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communicationss

Groupthink, a term coined by psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, refers to a psychological phenomenon where the desire for harmony and conformity in a group results in irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcomes. In the realm of Interpersonal Communication , groupthink manifests when group members suppress dissenting opinions, leading to a loss of individual creativity and independent thinking. This often results in the group making sub-optimal or flawed decisions.

Who Created: Irving Janis

Janis analyzed historical events like the Pearl Harbor attack and the Bay of Pigs invasion to demonstrate how groupthink led to disastrous outcomes. He identified several symptoms of groupthink, such as illusions of invulnerability, collective rationalization, and the suppression of opposing viewpoints, which can hinder the Interpersonal Communication process in groups.

What is the Best Example of Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication?

One of the best examples of groupthink in Interpersonal Communication can be seen in corporate boardrooms where decisions are made. When all members of a board agree without questioning the leader’s opinion, or when dissenting voices are silenced to maintain harmony, the group is likely experiencing groupthink. This scenario highlights the need for encouraging open dialogue and diverse viewpoints in Types of Interpersonal Communication to avoid poor decision-making.

20 Examples of Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

Examples of Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

Groupthink theory, a vital concept in Interpersonal Communication , highlights how group consensus often overrides individual creativity and critical thinking. This phenomenon affects various communication types, including verbal, non-verbal, and digital formats. Understanding groupthink is crucial for effective interpersonal interaction, fostering diverse perspectives and healthier decision-making processes.

  • Meeting Deadlines Over Quality : In a team project, members agree to a subpar solution to meet deadlines, ignoring better alternatives. Example: “ Let’s just go with this idea to keep on schedule .”
  • Unquestioned Leadership Decisions : Team members agree with a leader’s decision without discussion, fearing conflict. Example: “ The boss suggested this, so it must be right .”
  • Ignoring Customer Feedback in Marketing : A marketing team disregards negative customer feedback, believing in their initial strategy. Example: “ Our plan is solid; those customer concerns aren’t significant .”
  • Conformity in Classroom Settings : Students agree with a popular opinion in class discussions to avoid standing out. Example: “ I guess I agree with what everyone else thinks .”
  • Peer Pressure in Social Groups : Friends agree to a risky plan to maintain group harmony. Example: “ We all are in this together, right? “
  • Silence Equals Agreement in Meetings : Employees remain silent in meetings, assuming silence means agreement. Example: “ No one objected, so we all must agree .”
  • Overlooking Safety for Production Goals : A manufacturing team ignores safety concerns to meet production targets. Example: “ Let’s not complicate things; just keep the production going .”
  • Herd Mentality in Investment Decisions : Investors follow popular trends, ignoring individual analysis. Example: “ Everyone is investing in this, so it must be good .”
  • Avoiding Conflict in Family Decisions : Family members agree to a decision to avoid arguments, even if they disagree. Example: “ Let’s just do it your way to keep peace in the family .”
  • Consensus in Community Projects : Community members support a popular project, despite having reservations. Example: “ It seems like everyone else supports it, so I will too .”
  • Group Bias in Jury Deliberations : Jurors agree with the majority to expedite the process, ignoring personal doubts. Example: “ I’ll just go with the majority to finish this quickly .”
  • Uniformity in Creative Teams : Creative teams favor familiar ideas over innovative ones to maintain group cohesion. Example: “ Let’s stick with what we know works. “
  • Harmony Over Honesty in Relationships : Partners avoid discussing issues to maintain a false sense of harmony. Example: “ I won’t bring it up; I don’t want to start a fight. “
  • Consensus in Academic Research Teams : Researchers agree on a conclusion to maintain unity, despite conflicting data. Example: “ Let’s not complicate our findings; let’s agree on this .”
  • Echo Chamber in Online Forums : Online communities reinforce existing beliefs, discouraging opposing viewpoints. Example: “ Everyone here agrees, so this must be true .”
  • Conformity in Workplace Culture : Employees adopt workplace norms, even if they conflict with personal values. Example: “ This is just how things are done here. “
  • Group Loyalty in Sports Teams : Players agree with team strategies, even if they see flaws, to show loyalty. Example: “ I have my doubts, but I’ll support the team’s decision .”
  • Avoiding Dissent in Political Parties : Party members support policies they privately disagree with to present a united front. Example: “ I have reservations, but I’ll toe the party line .”
  • Uniform Decision Making in Healthcare Teams : Healthcare professionals agree with senior staff decisions, even if unsure. Example: “ The senior doctor thinks it’s best, so it must be .”
  • Consensus in Educational Policy : Educators agree to new policies for conformity, ignoring potential issues. Example: “ Let’s not be the ones to rock the boat; let’s agree. “

What is the Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication in the Workplace?

Groupthink theory in interpersonal communication, particularly in the workplace, is a significant phenomenon that impacts decision-making processes and team dynamics. Here are eight key points to understand this theory:

  • Definition of Groupthink : Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It often leads to irrational and dehumanizing actions against “out-groups.”
  • Pressure to Conform : In groupthink scenarios, there is often an implicit or explicit pressure for members to agree with the group’s decisions, stifling individual creativity and independent thinking.
  • Illusion of Unanimity : Groupthink creates a false sense of agreement or consensus, where dissenting opinions are either not voiced or are suppressed by the group.
  • Self-Censorship : Members of the group avoid raising controversial or non-conforming ideas due to the fear of disrupting the group’s harmony or being ostracized.
  • Mind Guards : Some group members act as ‘mind guards’, protecting the group from adverse information or opinions that might disrupt group complacency.
  • Illusion of Invulnerability : Groups under the influence of groupthink often develop an over-optimistic view of their decisions and actions, underestimating potential risks and challenges.
  • Direct Pressure on Dissenters : Members who express doubts or differing views may face direct pressure from others in the group to conform or align with the majority view.
  • Stereotyping the Out-Group : There is often a tendency to stereotype and dismiss the opinions of anyone outside the group, further reinforcing the group’s existing perspectives.

Perspectives of Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

Groupthink theory in interpersonal communication can be examined from various perspectives. Here are eight points to consider:

  • Psychological Perspective : Groupthink arises from the inherent desire of human beings to avoid conflict and maintain smooth interpersonal relations.
  • Organizational Behavior : In the context of an organization, groupthink can lead to poor decision-making and can hamper innovation and growth.
  • Leadership Role : Leaders play a crucial role in either facilitating or mitigating groupthink by encouraging open dialogue and dissenting opinions.
  • Cultural Influence : Cultural norms and values, such as high power distance or collectivism, can contribute to a higher likelihood of groupthink occurring in certain environments.
  • Communication Channels : The modes of Interpersonal Communication , such as Verbal Communication in Interpersonal Communication or Digital Communication in Interpersonal Communication , can influence the occurrence and impact of groupthink.
  • Team Dynamics : The composition and dynamics of a team, including factors like group size, homogeneity, and cohesiveness, significantly affect the propensity for groupthink.
  • Historical Instances : Studying historical instances of poor decision-making due to groupthink provides valuable insights into its impact and consequences.
  • Strategies to Counteract : Recognizing the need for strategies like promoting diverse teams, fostering an open communication culture, and encouraging critical thinking to mitigate groupthink.

Tips for Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

Here are eight practical tips to prevent or minimize groupthink in interpersonal communication scenarios:

  • Encourage Open Debate : Cultivate an environment where dissenting opinions are valued and encouraged.
  • Diverse Teams : Create teams with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to avoid homogeneous thinking.
  • Appoint a Devil’s Advocate : Regularly assign someone the role of a devil’s advocate to question and challenge prevailing group norms and decisions.
  • Anonymous Feedback : Implement anonymous feedback mechanisms to allow team members to express their concerns without fear of retribution.
  • Leadership Stance : Leaders should refrain from stating preferences or expectations at the outset to avoid unduly influencing the group.
  • Training : Regular training on the importance of Types of Interpersonal Communication and the pitfalls of groupthink can be beneficial.
  • Sub-Groups : Break larger groups into smaller, independent sub-groups to discuss and debate before making decisions.
  • Review Mechanisms : Set up regular review mechanisms to critically assess decisions and policies for signs of groupthink.

Groupthink Theory is vital for effective interpersonal communication. By following the provided guide and tips, you can write about this theory with clarity and depth. Remember to emphasize the dangers of group conformity, encourage critical thinking, and foster an environment that values diverse perspectives in communication processes.


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What Is Groupthink? 18 Simple Strategies to Avoid it

Groupthink might be keeping you from achieving the best possible solution. Learn how to recognize it and apply helpful strategies to avoid it in the future!

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Is your team coming up with the best possible ideas to solve important problems? You might not know for sure, but one way to predict they’re not is if your team has fallen victim to groupthink. But it could be costing you more than a great idea; it could be costing you revenue or even breaches of ethics!

Fortunately, there are strategies to overcome groupthink so you can be sure you’re generating the best ideas for your team!

In this article, we’ll look at what groupthink is, signs to look out for, causes, and tips to help you avoid it. Let’s dive in!

What is Groupthink? (Definition)

Groupthink is when a group of people tend to agree with and conform to each other’s views based on a set of shared assumptions about the others in the group, including beliefs, biases, morals, and perceptions. The downside to this tendency to conform often means the group misses out on the valuable voices or opposing ideas in (and outside) the group, leading to poor decision-making or even risky outcomes.

Groupthink is most common in dysfunctional situations where groups:

  • are insulated, close-minded, and feel pressure to conform
  • lack diversity and psychological safety
  • are stressed or have time constraints 

It should be noted that having a shared vision, goals, or values is not the same as groupthink. Instead, groupthink has more to do with conformity and unquestioned bias to follow the status quo.

How do you know if your group is prone to groupthink? Pay attention to the signs and causes below.

Pros and Cons of Groupthink

While there are “pros” to groupthink, it should be noted that the “pros” should not always be viewed as positive. It’s important to consider that groupthink tends to demand loyalty, favor prejudice and biased thinking, and ignore the warning signs of potentially risky decisions. 

Pros of Groupthink:

  • Quicker decision-making (but not always the best decision)
  • Reduces anxiety (because “the group knows best”)
  • Promotes positive thinking (but avoids facing blind spots)
  • Assumes the best (because “everyone thinks like me”)
  • Sees big risk as an opportunity (because “we always know best”)
  • Alignment (because people tend to fear disagreement with the group)

Cons of Groupthink:

  • Silences dissenting voices
  • Prevents the best possible solution
  • Ignores warning signs
  • Increases risky decision making
  • Promotes biased thinking
  • Accepts narcissistic leadership

Characteristics and Signs of Groupthink

When consensus becomes more important than solving problems, a group is more likely to fall into groupthink. Based on research 1 http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C.%20Group%20Decision%20Making%20IJMBA%20V13%20N1%202010.pdf done by psychologist Irving Janis, some common signs of groupthink include:

  • Extreme optimism: When the majority of the group fails to see their vulnerability, they tend to develop an extreme sense of optimism, ignoring their blind spots. This sense of optimism leads the group to take bigger risks than they might with all the facts on the table. “Everyone loves our products. There’s nothing wrong. Let’s invest in X.”
  • Ignoring warning signs: When a group rationalizes and reconciles away their doubts and assumptions to conform to consensus, they may fail to see important warning signs in a potentially poor decision or situation. “Something feels off, but it’s probably not that bad.”
  • Assuming morality: When the people in a group assume all members possess inherent morality and good judgment, the group may be more likely to ignore potential ethical issues in their decision-making. “I believe you’re a good person, so you must make good decisions.”
  • Demonizing outside views: When a group stereotypes outside views as “bad” or “stupid,” the person or “outsider” might become the “other” or the “enemy” to the group’s efforts, leading group members to avoid speaking up about potential issues as well. “They don’t know what they’re talking about. They’re not like us. Only we can come up with the best solution.”
  • Requiring loyalty: When a group disapproves of dissenting voices from within the group, pressure is usually applied to conform and ensure loyalty. Any question to a group’s ideals or potential false assumptions is seen as disloyal. “Since you question our ideas and way of doing things, you are not for us. You are against us.”
  • Self-censorship: When a group starts to develop consensus (both real and assumed) around certain ideas, those with different ideas or doubts tend to hold back for fear of coming off as disloyal or creating conflict. “I think there are potential issues here, but I’m probably wrong because everyone else seems to agree. I’ll stay silent.”
  • Same-page assumptions: When a group is under the impression that everyone is on the same page about how they think about things, it’s harder for someone with a different view to speak up. There’s an illusion of unanimous thinking, and silence often means agreement with the assumed reality or the loudest voice in the group. “Everyone seems to agree with this. No one is saying anything different, so it must be right.”
  • Self-appointed censors: Also called “mind guards,” self-appointed censors are people in the group who seek to control the thinking process. They tend to ensure people are aligned on assumed beliefs and may even prevent or manipulate how information is shared. “This is how we’ve always done it. Let’s stick to what we know.”

Causes of Groupthink

  • Group cohesiveness 2 https://dictionary.apa.org/group-cohesion , according to Janis 1 http://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Lunenburg,%20Fred%20C.%20Group%20Decision%20Making%20IJMBA%20V13%20N1%202010.pdf , is a common cause of groupthink due to a tendency and desire to belong. To challenge or oppose an idea in the group, an individual may risk losing the feeling of belonging. Note: group cohesiveness is not in and of itself a negative, but at its worst, and without self-awareness, it can lead to groupthink.
  • Insulation/lack of outside perspective is a common cause of groupthink because the group members may not be exposed to different ideas that may challenge the status quo they’ve built within their group. 
  • A self-promoting leader or a narcissist who is perceived by the group as powerful or representing their ideals may cause a group to fall into groupthink because of their tendency to make decisions that default to pleasing the leader rather than challenging his or her ideas.
  • Lack of diversity is another common cause of groupthink due to the lack of different perspectives represented in the group itself. 
  • Stressful or time-constrained situations can cause an otherwise healthy group to fall into groupthink because they feel pressure to get things done, leading the group to default to the loudest or most influential decision maker, not necessarily the best decision. 
  • Desire to belong may cause well-meaning individuals to hold back their ideas within a group, especially if they seem to go against the majority, to maintain a sense of belonging.
  • Lack of psychological safety is a common cause of groupthink because individuals do not feel safe to speak up or make mistakes, leading people to hold back important ideas or any part of themselves that might go against the status quo.
“Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” —Amy Edmondson

What are Examples of Groupthink?

Example of groupthink in the workplace.

When a team is more interested in consensus than solving problems, they are more prone to groupthink. 

In this setting, a team may be short on time and stressed by deadlines. Someone might suggest “doing it the way we’ve always done it,” and everyone agrees. After all, “Why fix what isn’t broken?” It seems easier to follow the status quo than to develop a new idea, even if someone in the group remembers the negative pitfalls or feedback they experienced the last time. 

Someone might try to bring up a competitor’s innovative approach but is quickly shut down. “That’s not right. We know best.” The team leader feels the pressure to make a decision. “Are we all in!?” No one dares say no . You’re “disloyal” to the group if you’re not all in. Ideas get left on the table, and the approach is open to risk.

Example of Groupthink in Relationships

When a group of friends is more interested in the group’s harmony, individuals often go along with the idea of the strongest opinion to avoid rocking the boat. In these settings, negative emotions are often bottled or avoided to “get along” with everyone else. To disagree is to disrupt the harmony and thus go against the group. Conflicts are rarely resolved, and bonds are often shaky. 

Groupthink in the Classroom

When a group of students is in a classroom 3 https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/232755725.pdf led by a teacher who does not value critical thinking but rather uses their influence to encourage students to agree with their ideals, these students may fall into groupthink behavior. Unfortunately, some students are discouraged from questioning their teacher or engaging in healthy debate.

Instead of critical thinking and problem-solving, they may be encouraged to memorize facts. They become dependent on definitions rather than their ability to interpret information and often lack a real understanding of the subject.

18 Strategies and Tips to Avoid Groupthink (And Possible Downfalls)

Encourage all ideas–the more, the better.

Before the start of a meeting or important discussion with a group of people, be sure to encourage all voices to share. Let people know you want to hear their best ideas, even if they might go against the status quo. This might mean pausing to ask introverts directly what they think or what ideas they have since they are the most likely to hold back.

Give vocal encouragement to the people who generate the most ideas–no matter how unique. Reward the person with the most out-of-the-box idea.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to be the group leader to encourage people to share. Be an advocate to hear different voices in the room. Ask people what they think; you don’t have to wait for a meeting moderator to ask questions and pull out ideas from others.

Want to influence more change in your context? Check out this helpful resource: 

Become More Influential

Want to become an influential master? Learn these 5 laws to level up your skills.

Encourage critique and objections

To encourage critique and objection, practice curiosity. It’s not easy for someone to present an objection. It’s not always easy to hear an objection, either. If you approach these conversations with curiosity and a desire to understand another’s perspective, you can create an environment based on learning from one another without judgment. 

  • Review the pros and cons
  • Encourage debate
  • Welcome critical thinking around possible outcomes

Pro Tip: In a brainstorming session, welcoming critique and objections may unintentionally stump brainstorming. So it’s important to set some ground rules for when to bring in critique without accidentally silencing important dissenting voices.

For example, brainstorming sessions might be broken up into two phases. In the first phase, open it up to any and all ideas. In the second phase, review the pros and cons of the top three ideas. 

Split the group and come back together with the findings

In some group settings, people may feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas because there are too many voices in the room, and they just don’t feel like they have an opportunity to share. In these cases, try these steps:

  • Split the group up into two or more smaller groups for a portion of the meeting
  • Come up with ideas separately
  • Welcome smaller groups to come back together to present their ideas

Even this small splitting up of the group helps to avoid groupthink behavior and encourages more voices to share. In some cases, more influential voices can even advocate for those who may have been less inclined to share in a larger setting. 

Work individually and come back to the group 

Before a meeting, send an agenda to the group about the discussion you’re going to have, the problem you’re trying to solve, or the decision you’re trying to make. Ask a set of questions before the meeting, and have people come up with ideas on their own beforehand. Once you come to the meeting, welcome everyone to share the ideas they came up with individually. 

There are two wins in this setup. 

  • First, introverts tend to work better when they can process the meeting ahead of time and what they want to share 
  • Second, it avoids groupthink behavior because people are less inclined to go with the first, loudest idea in the room before coming up with something on their own

Bring in an outsider

Bringing in an outside perspective can happen in several forms. For example, let’s say you’re on the marketing team and trying to develop ideas for your next campaign. Bringing in an outside perspective might look something like this:

  • Hosting brainstorming sessions with other departments in your organization
  • Surveying your target audience and critically reviewing the feedback
  • Welcoming some of your best customers into a conversation to share their ideas

Assign a devil’s advocate

In your team or group, there is likely someone who feels more comfortable than others challenging ideas (even ideas they believe in!). If you’re the leader, ask this person to play devil’s advocate to help the group see problems and ideas from different angles.

If you’re not the leader, consider suggesting this idea to the group or the leader as a tactic to help your group make the best decisions. 

Attention: Be careful! Sometimes an unintentional consequence of assigning a devil’s advocate is that it keeps people from speaking up for fear of being shut down. Set some ground rules. Be sure that you equally encourage ideas as much as you encourage objection. And don’t forget about encouraging kindness and respect. 

Hold a second-chance meeting

After a decision-making meeting, people often leave, processing everything that was said. So much happens in the subconscious 4 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0272989X09360820?journalCode=mdma ! They recount what they shared and may even reconsider their ideas, wishing they had brought something up that they didn’t because they were afraid to. 

One helpful strategy to make sure you pay attention to potential warning signs is to welcome people to share any additional thoughts in a second-chance meeting. Another way to do this is by welcoming people to share their post-meeting ideas with a moderator or leader via email and then come back together to discuss before making a final decision.

Attention: A potential downside to a continual discussion about a decision is that your group may unintentionally continue to loop around without deciding at all. At some point, a decision may need to be made, and it may not make all parties happy.

However, as long as final decision-makers have weighed all the possible outcomes from different perspectives, even parties who do not necessarily agree will be more inclined to respect the final decision. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Let’s face it; people hate being uncomfortable. Unfortunately, discomfort and fear of rejection keep people from speaking up or engaging in conflict, even healthy conflict! 

“Choose discomfort over resentment.” —Brené Brown

You can’t necessarily take away discomfort. But getting comfortable with being uncomfortable can help people speak up and share their ideas for the group’s benefit, even if it means that it might not be popular. 

But how do you do this? Here are some ideas for someone who struggles with discomfort:

  • Get a moral support buddy. Check-in before and after a meeting or difficult conversation. 
  • Imagine the best-case and worst-case scenarios. What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t speak up? What’s the best that can happen if you do?
  • Practice low-key discomfort and work your way up. Start small by telling someone no to something low-stakes when you usually feel obligated to say yes.
  • Say self-affirming mantras to yourself. “Others’ opinions do not define me.”
  • Ask questions. The act of getting curious helps put both you and others at ease. The more you seek to understand another perspective, the more others will be willing to hear your ideas too.

Bonus Tip: You may struggle with this because you struggle with boundaries. Another way to get comfortable with discomfort is by working on setting boundaries. Need support in this area? Try these five tips to set boundaries . 

Boost psychological safety

Amy C. Edmondson , popular for her research on human interactions in the workplace, suggests ways to boost psychological safety 5 https://hbr.org/2021/06/4-steps-to-boost-psychological-safety-at-your-workplace , some of which include:

  • Practicing interpersonal skills, including candor, vulnerability, and perspective-taking
  • Participating in training on interpersonal skills, including difficult conversations

There are great training opportunities you can engage in to build more psychological safety in your organization. One great place to start is by developing your people skills and communication mastery !

Welcome diversity

Diversity means more than just gender, race, and age. It should also include a diversity of thought and different ways of doing things. If you look around your group and notice that you look the same, think the same, act the same, and come to similar conclusions most of the time, it might be time to challenge yourself and your group. Research shows that diverse teams make smarter decisions 6 https://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter because of the way they focus more on facts, process facts carefully, and are more innovative. 

It may not be easy to add new members to your team or group immediately, but you can start with small steps to expose yourself to different ways of thinking, at the very least. 

  • Read books and articles by authors and thought leaders outside of your industry
  • Follow podcasts on topics that challenge you to see a new perspective
  • Ask your kids or your parents who the most influential leaders are in their generation and start to learn about them
  • Watch foreign films
  • Join a book club based on a topic or book outside your norm
  • If you can, visit new churches, new neighborhoods, new ethnic restaurants, and new cities and start learning about new cultures

Bring in or assign a discussion moderator

One of the best ways to avoid groupthink is to bring in or assign a group moderator. It’s especially helpful if this moderator is outside of the group, but it can still be done with someone inside the group who is willing to remain objective. The responsibility of a moderator is to:

  • Support leading the discussion objectively
  • Ask probing “how,” “what,” and “why” questions that generate ideas
  • Ask challenging questions like, “What if X were to happen?”
  • Make sure all voices are being heard
  • Walk through the pros, cons, and possibilities

What a moderator should not do is insert their own opinion, take over the meeting with their agenda, or come to their conclusion. A moderator is meant to support generating ideas from the group but not to make a decision for the group.

Empower introverts

Some of the best ideas go unheard simply because of the personality makeup of a team. 

Have you been in this scenario before? A well-meaning group is trying to devise a plan, and two or three people in the group take up 90% of the talking time simply because they like to process things out loud. The rest of the group listens and thinks through ideas in their own heads.

Before you know it, the introverts in the room haven’t had a chance to share a solution, and a decision has been made based on the ideas of the most talkative—not necessarily the best idea.

Here are a few ways to empower your group’s introverts:

  • Provide an agenda ahead of time , sharing the problem you’re trying to solve or the decision you’re trying to make. Ask questions for them to consider with answers they can bring to the discussion.
  • Go around the room and ask people for their thoughts , even if they are not voluntarily chiming in. Don’t default to popcorn conversation, allowing the talkative to dominate the discussion.
  • Affirm introverts when they share and ask them to expound on their ideas.

Apply debate rules

Engaging in a healthy debate can help a group see the different sides of a situation or idea that they may not otherwise. Applying debate rules can help your group get outside of their perspective and even argue for the other side. (Note, debates may only work for black-and-white discussions.)

Here is a simple way you can apply some debate rules to your group discussion:

  • Split the group into two 
  • Assign one group “for” and the other “against” an issue or idea
  • Have each group meet separately to think through their arguments
  • Return together and allow one person at a time to propose their argument (five minutes)
  • Allow the opposing side to ask questions and identify areas of conflict (five minutes)
  • Take a break, then have the opposing side return with a rebuttal (five minutes)
  • Take another break, then have the affirming side return with their rebuttal (five minutes)
  • Repeat a rebuttal with both teams
  • When the debate is complete, discuss your learnings

Pro Tip: If someone has a particular opinion already formulated on an issue, put them on a team for the other side to help them get a different perspective.

Learn how to work as a team

Learning how to better work together as a team is a great way to avoid groupthink. What this doesn’t mean is learning how to all think the same thing. Rather, it’s about celebrating your differences, including strengths, perspectives, and ideas, and coming together to solve important problems. 

In our article on how to promote teamwork, we outline ten essential skills. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Be direct and warm with each other
  • Engage in pro-social behaviors: humor, happiness, cooperation
  • Learn together
  • Find your ideal communication frequency

Practice listening

By practicing listening, you can begin to seek out the opinions and ideas in your group from those who may typically go unheard. In our article on how to talk less and listen more , we outline 15 tips. Here are some of our favorite ideas you can apply to avoid groupthink:

  • Notice the signs that you’re talking too much (fidgeting, yawning, boredom, etc.)
  • Embrace the sound of silence (it doesn’t need to be filled with your voice!)
  • Ask more questions
  • Ask yourself, How is this conversation benefiting the other person?
  • Engage in active listening with eye contact, nodding, and verbal affirmations

Practice healthy conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any kind of relationship, but it doesn’t have to be negative. Healthy competition can help you gain a new perspective and build trust. It’s also a great way to avoid groupthink. 

  • Humanize the other. Ask them about their life and find common ground on things you can relate to.
  • Ask open-ended questions that begin with “What,” “How,” and “Why.”
  • Define winning. Is it to convince? Find a middle ground? Learn something new?
  • Ask the golden question , “What’s something you used to believe that you no longer do?”
  • Sub-communicate. Show openness in your posture, tone, and facial expression.

In our article on how to win an argument, Vanessa goes more in-depth on tips for a healthy argument.

Improve your self-awareness

Improving your self-awareness is a great way to know yourself, what you think, and how you’re perceived in a situation. It is especially critical if you’re a leader! 

In a group setting, self-awareness helps you realize when you may be falling into a groupthink mindset and bring you back to your perspective. This is not to say you can’t change your mind about something. It’s ok to change your mind, of course! Instead, self-awareness helps you avoid the pitfall of agreeing with everyone else when unsure of where you stand.

For leaders, self-awareness is a great way to recognize when it’s time to check in with others who may simply agree with you because they don’t want to oppose your opinion. 

For tips on improving yourself in this area, check out our article on cultivating self-awareness .

Develop your people skills

One way to avoid groupthink and connect better with others is by developing your people skills. By strengthing your ability to communicate and build relationships, you can become more self-aware and celebrate the differences in others as well. 

In our article on ten essential people skills , we outline people skills you can start working on, which include:

  • Social assertiveness : confidence without aggression
  • Presence : a blend of skills, traits, and abilities to act, communicate, and lead well
  • Communication : the bridge that connects people together
  • Confidence : self-assurance in who you are
  • Conversation : engaging with others through sharing and listening
  • Likeability : the degree to which people gravitate toward you in a positive way
  • EQ : social-emotional intelligence and awareness
  • Persuasion : your ability to move people toward thinking or acting in a certain way
  • Charisma : a blend of warmth and competence 
  • Influence : your ability to impact the people around you

Groupthink Key Takeaways

In summary, take note of these helpful tips to avoid groupthink and support the best decision in whatever context you’re in:

  • Learn how to hold productive group discussions that encourage all ideas and welcome critique and objections.
  • Promote an environment of psychological safety and build a team that celebrates their differences.
  • Develop your people skills to become a better listener and communicator and become more self-aware.

For more ideas on how to bring out the best in those around you, check out our article, The 9 Laws of Influence: How to Be Influential (w/ Science!) .

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    Groupthink. Groupthink is an occurrence where by a group comes to a unanimous decision about a possible action despite the existence of fact that points to another correct course of action. This term was first given by Irving Janis who was a social psychologist. His main aim was to understand how a group of individuals came up with excellent ...

  14. What Does Groupthink Mean? Definition & Examples

    Groupthink is decision-making made as a group. Groupthink ideas are formed in an atmosphere that encourages conformity and harmony, and discourages creativity and personal responsibility. Groupthink is a psychological and sociological phenomenon, groupthink rarely yields the best solution to a problem as the desire to keep the group cohesive is ...

  15. Groupthink

    groupthink: 1 n decision making by a group (especially in a manner that discourages creativity or individual responsibility) Type of: deciding , decision making the cognitive process of reaching a decision

  16. GROUPTHINK definition in American English

    groupthink in American English. (ˈɡruːpˌθɪŋk) noun. 1. the practice of approaching problems or issues as matters that are best dealt with by consensus of a group rather than by individuals acting independently; conformity. 2. the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of ...

  17. Groupthink

    "Groupthink" is a way of thinking or making decisions as a group that discourages creativity or individual responsibility. Many mission statements use confusing jargon or try to say too much, the result of a roomful of executives succumbing to "groupthink," or the result of a roomful of executives not thinking creatively.

  18. What Is Groupthink? Definition, Signs & How to Avoid It

    Definition and Origins of Groupthink. Psychologist Irving Janis first used groupthink in the 1970s. It can be defined as the propensity of a group of intelligent individuals to suppress their brain and any sense of logic and prioritize acceptance of the popular opinion in order not to create disharmony. It usually happens when members of a ...

  19. What Is Groupthink? Definition, Characteristics, and Causes

    Groupthink is a phenomenon developed in groups marked by the consensus of opinion without critical reasoning or evaluation of consequences or alternatives. Groupthink evolves around a common ...

  20. Groupthink Theory in Interpersonal Communication

    Groupthink Theory is vital for effective interpersonal communication. By following the provided guide and tips, you can write about this theory with clarity and depth. Remember to emphasize the dangers of group conformity, encourage critical thinking, and foster an environment that values diverse perspectives in communication processes.

  21. Groupthink Definition & Meaning

    Groupthink definition: The tendency of members of a committee, profession, etc. to conform to those opinions or feelings prevailing in their group. Dictionary Thesaurus

  22. Groupthink

    groupthink - decision making by a group (especially in a manner that discourages creativity or individual responsibility) deciding , decision making - the cognitive process of reaching a decision; "a good executive must be good at decision making"

  23. What Is Groupthink? 18 Simple Strategies to Avoid it

    (Definition) Groupthink is when a group of people tend to agree with and conform to each other's views based on a set of shared assumptions about the others in the group, including beliefs, biases, morals, and perceptions. The downside to this tendency to conform often means the group misses out on the valuable voices or opposing ideas in ...