Groupthink: Space Shuttle and Group Member Essay

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Pages: 5

Groupthink What is groupthink? There is a simple definition for it, but is it truly that simple? The term groupthink refers to the inclination of group members to have the same opinions and beliefs; it frequently leads to mistakes. It often occurs without an individual being aware of it. Conflict is considered to be a harmful element when related to groups, but conflict is good when considering groupthink because it helps to eliminate the existence of a groupthink. The explanation sounds simple enough, but it is more complex than the description given. There are eight symptoms of groupthink. The first symptom is when all or most of the group view themselves as invincible which causes them to make decisions that may be risky. …show more content…
Informed by his intelligence chief that radio contact with Japanese aircraft carriers had been lost, Kimmel joked about it: "What, you don't know where the carriers are? Do you mean to say that they could be rounding Diamond Head (at Honolulu) and you wouldn't know it?" The carriers were in fact moving full-steam toward Kimmel's command post at the time. The group rationalized away their warnings. Right up to December 7, 1941, they convinced themselves that the Japanese would never dare attempt a full-scale surprise assault against Hawaii because Japan's leaders would realize that it would precipitate an all-out war, which the United States would surely win. They made no attempt to look at the situation through the eyes of the Japanese leaders. We generally feel that a group's decision will be superior to an individual's decision. More people means more information. Having several people reduces the burden placed on one individual and simplifies the task. More people, means that areas of expertise can be exploited, different people are good at different things. Groups can discuss material, and that discussion can improve the quality of the decision. Groups are less likely to suffer from judgmental biases that individuals have when they make decisions. People are more likely to follow through on