Groupthinkis defined as a phenomenon where members of a group perceive theworld through a predisposed opinion, leading to wrong conclusions.Irving Janis explored the theory of groupthink, by researching andstudying the proceedings of the failed invasion of the United Statesto Cuba. Janis defined groupthink as the deterioration of mentalefficiency, moral judgment, and reality testing, which results fromin-group pressures. Groupthink is most common to people who sharesame the background, and in places that lack clearly stipulated rulesto guide and regulate decision making (Bénabou, 2012).
Thereare several famous historical examples of groupthink. One of them isthe failed invasion of the U.S. to Cuba. John F. Kennedy, thenPresident of U.S, wanted to overthrow the then Cuban leader FidelCastro. His subordinates knew Kennedy’s agenda. Hence, they come upwith a plan that satisfied his agenda, rather than an idea that madetactical sense. This resulted in a disaster, as it put the UnitedStates on a collision path with Russian, which could have led to war.Another historical groupthink example is that of the bombing of PearlHarbor, which occurred as a result of ignoring warnings conveyed byWashington DC. There was an interception of Japanese messages, of apossible invasion that was ignored by the authority, who believedthat the Japanese could not dare invade the United States due to therepercussion that could arise (Turner and Pratkanis, 2014). In 1986,a groupthink ideology led to the explosion of NASA’s space shuttle,which killed all the crew members onboard. The authority had beenwarned against the launch, but ignored.
Inconclusion, groupthink leads to hasty and irrational decisions.Groups that encourage members to share their concern, seek expertinput, allow independent evaluation and build up emergency plans cancircumvent groupthink. However, lack of unbiased leadership, goodmanagement methods, and high-stress situations can lead/ promotegroupthink (cava, 2015).
Bénabou,R. (2012). Groupthink: Collective delusions in organizations andmarkets. The Review of Economic Studies, rds030.
Caya,S. (2016). Groupthink Phenomenon in Youth-Gangs: An Illusion of BeingInvulnerable. Global Journal of Human-Social Science Research,16(3).
Turner,M. E., & Pratkanis, A. R. (2014). Preventing Groupthink riskthrough deliberative discussion: Further experimental evidence for asocial identity maintenance model. International Journal of Risk andContingency Management (IJRCM), 3(1), 12-24.