From CEOpedia | Management online
See also

Groupthink appears when the desire to group consensus and consistency outweighs the desire to achieve the best possible decision. Such a phenomenon can lead to a situation where such decision is taken, which is not in the interest of neither the group nor organization, but is the way to avoid inter group conflict. Groupthink is presented as one of the disadvantages of group decision making.


A documented example of this syndrome was a disaster of the space shuttle "Challenger". In preparation for the launch of the space shuttle many problems occurred and there were many doubts before launch. However, at each stage of decision process, people claimed that there were no grounds to delay or cancellation. Shortly after the start on the 28.01.1986 space shuttle exploded. As a result of groupthink 7 people of shuttle crew died.


To avoid groupthink, each member of the group should carefully and critically assess all possible solutions. The leader should not prematurely deliver his view. All members of the group should have a chance to comment freely. After the initial decision, group should carry out one more meeting, where each member of the group who feel the need, should be able to restate his view. A good solution is also dividing the group into two separate teams. Within each team discussions will be carried out, and then pros and cons of each teams will be confronted. This System is used by managers in the Gould Paper Company, Inc. and Sun Microsystem.


  • Janis, I. L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascoes (Vol. 349). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Janis, I. L. (1971). Groupthink. Psychology today, 5(6), 43-46.
  • Hart, P. (1990). Groupthink in government: A study of small groups and policy failure. Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers.
  • Newell, A., & Simon, H. A. (1972). Human problem solving (Vol. 104, No. 9). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Simon, H. A. (1978). Information-processing theory of human problem solving. Handbook of learning and cognitive processes, 5, 271-295.