Groupthink: My favorite communication theory

Posted on February 9, 2010


Groupthink wasn’t discussed in my Theory Class when I took it last 2008. Nevertheless, it is my favorite.

I discovered while flipping through my theory book. The group + think combo intrigued me, so I went ahead and read what it meant.

Groupthink in a nutshell

The University of Twente site gives a comprehensive explanation on what groupthink means. Basically, groupthink is a situation where a group puts a premium on harmony and cohesiveness instead of  making a sound, well-balanced and rational decision.

In goupthink, the leader is pretty dominant and the subordinates are merely “yes” men and “yes” women. No one dares to question the popular opinion nor does anyone dare to give a divergent view for fear of being ostracized and left out. Obedience is key here. Speaking your mind and giving constructive criticism will make you an automatic jerk of an employee.

Groups engaged in groupthink think themselves “hot”,  infallible, and the center of the universe, thus believing that outside opinion need not be consulted. They are wary of outsiders and will thus promptly eject them, especially those who give fresh perspectives and suggest new ways of doing things.

Groupthink is often seen during meetings.

Why groupthink is my favorite

Groupthink is my favorite for two reasons.

1) It made me realize that teamwork and collaboration is different from groupthink. Teamwork and collaboration produces results–good results. Groupthink produces nothing but stagnation and eventual irrelevance. I have seen groupthink in action and I must say theory books have got it right down pat.

2) Groupthink has been my template on what NOT to do at any given project. It is my not-so-gentle reminder that entreprises rise not because of passivity but by vigorous innovation, freedom and creativity.