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When Groupthink Occurs Silence Is Viewed As Agreement

Other examples of how groupthing might be avoided or prevented: Other scientists are trying to assess the value of groupthing by re-examining the case studies Janis originally used to reinforce her model. Roderick Kramer (1998) believed that because today`s scientists have a more sophisticated set of ideas about the overall decision-making process, and because new and relevant information about fiascos has emerged over the years, a review of case studies is appropriate and necessary. [48] He argues that new evidence does not support Janis` view that groupthing was largely responsible for President Kennedy`s and President Johnson`s decisions in the Bay of Pigs invasion and increased U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War, respectively. Both presidents sought the advice of experts outside their factions more than Janis suggested. [48]:241 Kramer also argues that presidents were the last decision-makers in the fiascos; In deciding what course of action to follow, they relied more on their own interpretations of the situations than on any collective consent decision submitted to them. [48]:241 Kramer concludes that Janis` explanation of the two military questions is flawed and that groupthink has far less influence on group decision-making than is generally assumed. After the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs invasion, President John F. Kennedy sought to avoid groupthing during the Cuban Missile Crisis with a “vigilant assessment.” [11]:148-153 During the meetings, he invited external experts to share their views and allowed the members of the group to question them carefully. He also encouraged group members to discuss possible solutions with trusted members in their separate departments, and he even divided the group into different subgroups to partially break the group`s cohesion. Kennedy was deliberately absent from meetings so as not to express his own opinion. Researcher Robert Baron (2005) argues that the link between certain precursors, which Janis considered necessary, has not been proven by current collective research on groupthing. He believes Janis` precursors to groupthing are false, arguing that not only are they “not necessary to cause the symptoms of groupthing, but they often do not even exacerbate such symptoms.” [47] As an alternative to Janis` model, Baron proposed a model of ubiquity of groupthing.

This model provides a revised set of precursors to groupthing, including social identification, salient norms, and low self-efficacy. A term similar to groupthing is the Abilene paradox, another phenomenon that is harmful when working in groups. When organizations fall into the Abilene paradox, they take action that contradicts their perceived goals and thus thwarts the very goals they are trying to achieve. [23] The inability to communicate desires or beliefs can cause the Abilene paradox. With an understanding of what causes groupthing, or a willingness to make riskier decisions in collaborative decision-making, we can now examine the symptoms of groupthing as identified by Janis. .

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