Throughout the course of a lifetime, everyone will participate in a group that very often is goal-oriented and goal-driven. The business community, family life, a non-profit organization, and a religious group all use groups to make decisions. These groups are usually task-oriented and goal driven which makes them susceptible to a condition known as Groupthink. Groupthink is a concept identified by Irving Janis in the 1980s and refers to faulty decision-making in a group. Groupthink as defined by Janis is "a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in group, when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternate courses of action" (Janis, 1982). Janis further states "Groupthink refers to a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures" (Janis, 1982). Groupthink can lead to poor decision-making bad judgments and lacks creativity.
Groups must accomplish tasks that individuals cannot which are the primary function of groups. Goal-oriented groups consist of individuals with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, have specific performance goals, share a common working approach, and hold mutual accountability (Wertheim 2). Groups of these types are typically used to solve complex problems or work through important situations. Groups can be beneficial when diverse ideas, knowledge, and the consent of many people is required. Individuals also benefit from group participation by learning new skills, take risks, receive feedback, and improve upon their personal strengths and weaknesses. Groups experiencing groupthink do not consider all alternatives and they desire unanimity at the expense of quality decisions. It serves as a simple way to deal with difficult issues.
Symptoms of Groupthink, which affects group performance in its decision-making, include the...