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Researching the Concept of Groupthink

Summary

Groupthink refers to a psychological phenomenon where someone strives for agreement within a group. In most scenarios, people sideline their own beliefs and opinions and adopt the views of the group (Valine, 2018). People who disagree with the prevailing opinions of the group prefer to be quiet instead of expressing these opinions. They keep subtle to maintain the peace instead of disrupting the uniformity of the crowd.

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How Groupthink can Interfere with Problem-Solving in Groups

Groupthink interferes with problem-solving in groups by suppressing individual opinions and creative thinking. When members of a group feel that a particular belief is unanimous and all group members endorse it, they shy away from sharing their thoughts (Valine, 2018). Members of the group with more thorough and fruitful opinions shy away from sharing them while seeking to maintain the consensus within the group.

Groupthink also makes members indulge in self-censorship as efforts meant to maintain group coherency reign supreme. Individuals may have productive opinions leading up to fruitful decision-making but decide to censor themselves. This tendency dampens creativity within the group as the members are unable to express themselves fully. Members avoid assessing potential risks and benefits a particular decision presents to the group, therefore, risking the group’s wellbeing.

Groupthink also makes members of a group act blind to potentially harmful outcomes of a decision. It makes members of a group lack sufficient preparation to deal with adverse effects (Henriques, 2020). The minimal preparations are due to ignorance of crucial information that presents itself. The group members cannot envision other obvious solutions within the vicinity. Members of a group also obey authority without question, making them susceptible to manipulation. The members made minimal efforts to seek information unknown to them that could bear the needed solutions. Additionally, the members are overconfident in decisions and resistant to new information and ideas.

How to Avoid Groupthink

Groupthink can be avoided by ensuring that leaders do not express their opinions at the start of a discussion. This ensures other members can share their views without intimidation (Reaves, 2018). During meetings, one or more group members should be assigned the role of the “devil’s advocate.” This ensures that even the most controversial opinions are considered. Outsiders should be invited to the decision-making forums to ensure that impartial views that are not influenced by group cohesion are shared.

The group should also devise a way of rewarding creative members and presenting them with regular opportunities to share their ideas and thoughts. Such a reward system is likely to encourage participation in a fruitful debate within the group. Giving members of the group regular chances to express themselves makes them feel valued and wanted. Their opinions are also valuable and welcome in the group as a result of this involvement.

Personal Experience with Groupthink

During my first year at university, we created study groups within the class. During our first meeting, the group was set to decide when we would meet for academic discussions. Many group members seemed to suggest that midweek days would be most appropriate as the weekends were reserved for parties and fun. I thought that such a suggestion was ludicrous as the classes would be tedious during that period. I felt that the weekend would accord us sufficient time to carry out the discussions. I held back on this thought because I felt like everybody agreed with that decision. Eventually, the group was set, and during the first week, we met with total attendance. Unfortunately, the group gradually became defunct with less attendance and the inability to meet objectives. The group was eventually dissolved, and I felt responsible for my inability to express my opinion.

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The academic group could not be rescued as fellow members hopped on the next available group with convenient meeting days. The group’s dissolution came as a crucial lesson for me, and I took the lessons in my stride and used them when we reformed a second group with uncomfortable classmates in the existing groups. The new group allowed for the expression of ideas, and since I was elected the leader, I ensured each member felt confident presenting their opinions. I provided equal chances and comfortable space for all the members. I expressed my opinion last after all members had offered their input, and I held back when what I intended to say was already described. This ensured that I did not use my position as the leader to strengthen my personal views.

References

Henriques, G (2020). Groupthink and the evolution of reason-giving groupthink in science, 15–25. Web.

Reaves, John, A study of groupthink in project teams (2018). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 5033. Web.

Valine, Y. A. (2018). Why cultures fail: The power and risk of groupthink. Journal of Risk Management in Financial Institutions, 11(4), 301–307. Web.

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