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Lecture 19

SOCIOL 41 Lecture Notes - Lecture 19: Arthur Schuster, Groupthink, Group Polarization

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Sociology 41
Small Group Dynamics - Small Group Behaviors
Professor Schuster
Course Code: 69150
4 Unit Course
Key: Subjects/topics discussed in class
Notes: Lecture 19
***Groupthink Overview
A faulty mode of thinking by group members in which their desire to realistically
evaluate alternative courses of action is overwhelmed by pressures for unanimity
within the group
Once the group becomes concerned about disrupting group consensus, the
group members neglect to appraise alternatives critically and to weigh the
pros and cons carefully
Once groupthink sets in, the typical result is an ill-considered decision
Symptoms of Groupthink
Symptoms of groupthink include
Illusions of vulnerability
Illusions of morality
Collective rationalization
Stereotyping the adversary
Pressures on dissenters
Members who protect against information that might shatter
complacency about the group’s morality and effectiveness
Apparent unanimity
Despite personal doubts, members may share an illusion that
unanimity exists in the group
Avoiding Groupthink
1. Group leaders encourage dissent
2. Leaders remain impartial, not announcing a preference for any particular option
or plan
3. Group divided into several independent subgroups
4. Hold a second chance meeting after tentative consensus has been reached
5. Appoint a devil’s advocate”
Risky shift, Cautious Shift
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