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Case study: The Threat of Groupthink - Essay Example

Similarly, overestimation of groups is another major symptom of groupthink. Thompson points out that the explosion of space shuttle Challenger in 1986 can be attributed to overestimation of groups. In this situation, the group members bear the lethal feeling that they are above the decision-making standards and are exempted from all types of mistakes. Since they possess this misbelief, they do not express any interest to reassess discussed points or formulated decisions. Probably, this overconfidence would make their decision an ineffective one. The project manager must take sincere efforts to reshape the team members’ views. In other words, the project manager must invite different perspectives so that members would be prepared to defend their argument. This technique would inspire the members to raise their views and thereby it would enable the team to reach a thoughtful decision. According to Janis one who proposed the term groupthink for the first time, high cohesiveness is one of the main reasons of this threat; however, it does not mean that groups without cohesiveness always make right decisions. Close-mindedness Groupthink can also be attributed to close-mindedness of the team members. As Schmalenberg (n.d.) comments, this symptom is more prevalent in parliamentary politics where political parties are got affected by groupthink and make bad decisions. Under such circumstances, the group members are bit stereotypical and approach the issue from a specific angle of vision. Since

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they have predetermined their bases of discussion track, the group members will not be willing to analyze different dimensions of the issue. Therefore, those faulty assumptions would certainly affect the reliability of the decision. Thompson (2006) points out the collapse of Cysco System which according to him, was due to the close-mindedness of the group members. In order to survive this threat, it is better to ‘appoint Devil’s Advocates’ within the group. This practice would make the group decision more fact-oriented and participatory rather than frivolous. Pressure toward uniformity Sometimes, certain social factors may pressure the group members to be unanimous and therefore, they themselves suppress their personal opinions. It would force them to formulate irrelevant decisions which normally become disastrous. Thompson suggests that


The group decision making can be regarded as a participatory approach in which individuals critically analyze the problem and put forth their opinions concerning the issue. This paper will discuss the threat of groupthink and how the team and project manager can avoid it…
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