Groupthink (Psychology)

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  • A thought process that occurs when there is a breakdown in independent thinking within a group. Groupthink may result in flawed decisions if, in an effort to reach group consensus, members do not critically analyze ideas and fail to consider alternative opinions. Famous examples of negative results of groupthink include the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961. Irving Janis, who coined the term groupthink, proposed that groupthink happens when the group is highly cohesive and feels an “illusion of invulnerability.” High levels of confidence, reluctance to consult an outside opinion, and lack of objective leadership may increase the likelihood of the occurrence of this phenomenon. Similarly, this may be more likely to occur when group members fear rejection, strive ...

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