Lecture Notes.
 
  

 
Module Three: Session Four

Groupthink

As Dr. Ruggiero says, the urge to conform can cripple thought. Groupthink is the phenomenon where a group of people will go along with a bad idea and agree that it is good.
Bay of Pigs

For instance, John F. Kennedy's plan to invade Cuba is widely recognized as a disastrous plan. Yet many skilled, intelligent, and experienced military men went along with this stupid plan. Many later admitted that they knew it was a flawed plan, but went along with it anyway.

This often happens in the corporate environment. A bad line of thinking gets out of hand for a time, and no one has the courage to say it is a bad idea which should be changed. Maybe it's a product line where much money has already been spent on research and development. Perhaps it's a marketing strategy that isn't working. Most of the people involved can see that things aren't going in the best way. Why don't they say something? First, they are isolated. If no one is saying anything, one may have the impression that they are the only one who thinks this way. Second, there may be perceived danger in taking a stand. They may not get a raise or promotion if the boss takes offense to the objection. Third, they may fear rejection by colleagues. So the cloak of silence becomes a breading ground for collective bad thinking.

 

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