Irving Janis’ Groupthink

Essence of Groupthink

Groupthink is a process of deliberation and sharing of ideas in a certain organization which imply a series of positive and negative effects on the development of organizations. Irving L. Janis experienced and had been a witness to such consensus on the essence of the term during the incident of the utilization of such method during the Pearl Harbor days (Janis, 1972).

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Complications in using groupthink

He has clearly stated in his journals that the effects of such utilization in organizational matters caused rather a huge impact on the organization’s sense of coherence and unanimity rather than focusing on certain specified objectives and developmental goals, resulting into a web of complicated ideas which only adheres to ideas of the imperialists and are therefore considered to insufficient (Hart, 1994).

Not all ideas are given credit

The implications of using groupthink in meetings cause negative impulses on the rationality of the members, given the fact that the consensus of the group does not promise a sufficient idea of the conforming body.  Factors such as feeling of intimidation among other members, abuse of superiority to group leaders in establishing and accepting ideas degrades the essence of individualism and critical rationality because others may be pressured or others are stubborn of airing their thoughts and arguments on certain ideas that they prefer not to talk.

Organizational Case in Using Groupthink

In the case given, Fred’s technique in expunging the perception of groupthink in the meeting he conducted by giving them the chance to air out their spontaneous opinions first denote the possibility to give the privilege to all the employees without any hesitation and fear of inferiority compared to being a member in a “group”, for the reason that speaking-up will serve as a warm-up to his constituents in an informal manner in such a way that they are to feel equality (Diamond, 2004).

Avoiding Negative Results caused by Groupthink

To further illustrate methods in eradicating negative results in groupthink is through assigning a “critical evaluator” which will then give a chance for all the members in airing out doubts, objections, questions, clarifications and suggestions.  Or taking it the hard way, designating a so-called “devil’s advocate” will help neutralize the power of abusive autocratic leaders and thus will harmoniously create equilibrium privileges to all (Diamond, 2004; Janis, 1972).


  1. Diamond, J. (2004). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (First edition ed.). Ontario: Viking Adult.
  2. Hart, P. t. (1994). Groupthink in Government: A Study of Small Groups and Policy Failure (Reprint ed.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  3. Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink;: A psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes: Houghton, Mifflin.


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Irving Janis’ Groupthink. (2016, Dec 19). Retrieved from