Taming the groupies

Hard on the heels of The Wisdom of Crowds comes Steve Davis’ Master Facilitator Journal with a feature on Groupthink. Here’s the summary

When Does Groupthink Occur?

Group think is likely to occur when the following conditions exist:

When groups are highly cohesive.

Isolation of the group from outside influences.

Examining few alternatives.

Not being critical of each other’s ideas.

Not examining early alternatives.

Not seeking expert opinion.

Being highly selective in gathering information.

Not having contingency plans.

Under considerable pressure to make a quality decision.

No systematic procedures for considering both the pros and cons of different courses of action.

With a directive leader who explicitly favors a particular course of action.

Symptoms of Groupthink.

Having an illusion of invulnerability morality, and unanimity.

Collective rationalization of poor decisions.

Believing in the group’s morality.

Pressure on dissenters.

Self-censorship of dissent.

Self-appointed mind guards.

Sharing stereotypes which guide the decision.

Not expressing your true feelings.

Maintaining an illusion of unanimity.

Using mindguards to protect the group from negative information.

Solutions to Groupthink Include:

Establish an open climate.

Leaders should remain impartial and avoid being too directive.

Using a policy-forming group which reports to the larger group.

Using different policy groups for different tasks.

Divide into groups and then discuss differences within the larger group.

Use outside experts.

Use a Devil’s advocate to question all the group’s ideas.

Hold a “second-chance meeting” to offer one last opportunity to choose another course of action.

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