How do policy-making groups and executive teams reach and enact disastrous decisions? This is the question Irving Janis sought to answer in the late 1960s. His approach was to analyze how groups and teams made decisions that led to some of the biggest U.S. policy fiascos of the 20th century including the appeasement of Nazi Germany, the failure to prepare for Pearl Harbor, the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, and the escalation of the Vietnam War. His answer: All of these groups suffered from groupthink.


Groupthink is defined as a pattern of group dynamics of extreme concurrence seeking (or conformity) displayed by decision-making groups. According to Janis, decision-making groups are most likely to experience groupthink when the following antecedent conditions are present in the group: ...

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