29 September 2013
Groupthink: Brainstorming and Its Disadvantages
Groupthink is increasingly leaving behind its negative image of leading to lazy members and poor productivity because, nowadays, many organizations, institutions, and people think that working in groups is the best way to develop performance and creativity (Lehrer). On the one hand, groupthink can be a positive process when it results to people sharing and contradicting each other’s ideas, according to Jonah Lehrer in his article, “Groupthink: The Brainstorming Myth.” On the other hand, Susan Cain argues that groupthink has its harmful effects too in “The Rise of the New Groupthink.” Groupthink must be recognized as something that has good and bad impacts. Groupthink is helpful in sharing and criticizing ideas, but it is not always useful in practicing and boosting creativity.
Groupthink is beneficial to individuals and organizations, when it allows people to share ideas. Lehrer mentions the influential work of Alex Osborn, whose study on brainstorming promoted the advantages of groupthink. Osborn learns that groupthink yields more quality ideas than thinking alone (Lehrer). Lehrer cites the work of Ben Jones too, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, at Northwestern University. Jones learned that teams of scientists publish more articles than those who work alone (Lehrer). Lehrer underlines that at present, because problems are more complex and interrelated, it is better to rely on teams to analyze solutions better and to offer more creative solutions. Groupthink is good when people can share their ideas and explore them further as a group.
Groupthink, however, is not an automatic remedy to all creativity problems, and in fact, it can reduce the practice of creativity. Cain provides studies and examples where groupthink may actually be bad for creativity because it decreases privacy. She cites Hans Eysenck...