February 27, 2013

Empower Your Group Toward Good Decision Making

Is it fair to assume a cohesive group is the most productive and efficient?  Or, are we able to argue the fact that a cohesive group can lead to less creativity and new concepts?  According to the groupthink hypothesis, created by Irving Janis, a consequence of cohesiveness is a tendency to strive for agreement.
A cohesive group is strongly motivated; members seem to share happy feelings toward each other, as well as a sense of solidarity.  Unfortunately, these characteristics can lead to the group making bad decisions because of the lack of discussion of different ideas.  The training course, “GroupThink Examples from History,” demonstrates and explains eight symptoms of groupthink.  These symptoms are:

  1. An illusion of invulnerability
  2. Belief in morality of the group
  3. Rationalization
  4. Stereotypes of outsiders
  5. Self-censorship
  6. Direct pressure
  7. Mind guarding
  8. Illusion of unanimity

The more symptoms present in a group leads to a greater likelihood that groupthink has occurred.  Some strategies leading to positive group decision-making includes; an open climate, avoiding insulation, critical evaluators and avoiding being too directive.  Creating a non-attacking or non-criticizing environment during group decision-making allows for healthy conflict and discussion toward finding the best decision for a desired outcome.
Another course depicting how bad group decision-making negatively affects an organization is “Group Decision Making: How Bad Decisions are made.” This course serves as a narrative example of situations where groupthink leads to bad decision-making.
Research suggests the leader can initiate and lead groups in ways that foster positive decision-making.  Implementing training courses, such as these, are a great way to expand knowledge on how to lead and guide the group in the direction of a decision, while empowering toward reduced possibilities for catastrophes to occur.

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