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Groupthink

  • By: Anthony R. Pratkanis & Marlene E. Turner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

Groupthink refers to decision-making groups' extreme concurrence seeking (conformity) that is hypothesized to result in highly defective judgments and outcomes. According to Irving Janis, the inventor of the groupthink concept, decision-making groups are most likely to experience groupthink when they operate under the following conditions: maintain high cohesion, insulate themselves from experts, perform limited search and appraisal of information, operate under directive leadership, and experience conditions of high stress with low self-esteem and little hope of finding a better solution to a pressing problem than that favored by the leader or influential members.

When present, these antecedent conditions are hypothesized to foster the extreme consensus-seeking characteristic of groupthink. This in turn is predicted to lead to two categories of undesirable decision-making processes. The first category, traditionally ...

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