Cognitive Diversity – Avoiding Groupthink

Have you ever gone along with a group decision, even when it’s not necessarily aligned with your personal view? Chances are you probably unconsciously agreed with the group, in the interest of unanimity and without considering alternatives.

Groupthink (as described by Irving Janis who developed the idea) is a “psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group.” It is a flawed group process that limits alternatives and uses peer pressure to accomplish agreement. This premature consensus may be fuelled by a particular agenda or simply because group members value harmony and coherence above rational thinking. When you’re working hard to reach a consensus, it is easy to forget that conflict and individual opinions can be a positive and supportive dynamic in making good decisions and delivering outcomes.

Symptoms of Groupthink include:

Consider the following strategies to avoid the risk of Groupthink and encourage critical thinking and creative problem-solving:


8 Simple Steps to Identify and Avoid Groupthink, Sarah Moseley (2018)

Avoid Groupthink for better Decision Making, Forbes (2018)

Groupthink, Psychology Today Australia (2018)


Is Groupthink a good thing or a bad thing, Florida Mine Safety, (2017)

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