Groupthink

Topic: Group Decision Making Processes

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.

Decision-making is the mental processes resulting in the selection of a course of action among several alternative scenarios. Every decision-making process produces a final choice. Group decision-making is the process used when individuals are brought together in a group to solve problems. According to the idea of synergy, decisions made collectively tend to be more effective than decisions made by a single individual.

Consensus decision-making tries to avoid “winners” and “losers”. Consensus requires that a majority approve a given course of action, but that the minority agrees to go along with the course of action. In other words, if the minority opposes the course of action, consensus requires that the course of action be modified to remove objectionable features.

When a consensus is impossible, impractical, or undesirable, different voting systems can be used for a group to decide on an outcome. Three examples are range voting, majority voting, and plurality voting. Range voting lets each member score one or more of the available options. The option with the highest average is chosen. Majority voting requires support from more than 50% of the members of the group. Plurality voting is where the largest block in a group decides, even if it falls short of a majority.

Decision making in groups is sometimes examined separately as process and outcome. Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within groups of people. It is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints.

 

Practice Questions


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MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

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Practice Exam 3 P/S Section Passage 7 Question 37


Key Points

• Groups face unique challenges in decision-making, and as a result, there are various decision-making strategies used by groups.

• Consensus decision-making requires that a majority approve a given course of action, but that the minority agrees to go along with the course of action.

• When a consensus is impossible or impractical, voting can be used to come to a decision. Range voting, majority voting, and plurality voting are three examples of this type of decision-making.

• Groupthink is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints.

• Groupthink is the mode of thinking that happens when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.


Key Terms

Consensus decision-making: It is a group decision-making process that seeks the consent, not necessarily the agreement of participants and the resolution of objections.

Groupthink: A process of reasoning or decision making by a group, especially one characterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to a perceived majority view.

Decision-making: the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities

Group decision-making:  the method used when individuals are brought together in a group to solve problems

Synergy: the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts

Range voting: lets each member score one or more of the available options.

Majority voting: requires support from more than 50% of the members of the group

Plurality voting: the largest block in a group decides, even if it falls short of a majority

Consensus: a general agreement of a group



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