Why groupthink is dangerous?
We analyze a feeling that, perhaps, at least once overtook everyone: the fear of expressing one's opinion if everyone around adheres to the same point of view.
Sometimes we want to say something, but we prefer silence. For example, at a meeting where everyone unanimously makes a common decision. We nod our heads in response to another proposal - after all, no one wants to be branded as an eternal troublemaker. And if our opinion differs from the rest, then we begin to doubt ourselves.
We think: "Everyone adheres to one point of view, they cannot be wrong. It will be better if I keep silent. "
When everyone does this, the effect of "groupthink" or groupthink occurs: a group of intelligent people with advanced intelligence makes idiotic decisions because all members want consensus and adapt to common opinion. This creates decisions that would never be made by individual members of the group under normal circumstances.
Where do these illusions come from?
Psychology professor Irving Janice has studied many failures and misguided decisions. They have one thing in common: members of a closed group create a "corporate spirit" in their community, which is based on illusions. This happens unconsciously. One such illusion is the belief in infallibility: "Since our leader and the entire group are confident that the plan is good, luck will be on our side."
There is also the illusion that the unanimity is right: "If everyone else is of the same opinion, then my other opinion is most likely wrong."
And, of course, no one wants to be a violator of peace and harmony, opposing himself to everyone. In the end, everyone is happy to belong to this group. A dissenting opinion may become a reason for exclusion from it.
The groupthink effect works everywhere: in politics and in economics. The classic example is the invasion of Cuba under the Kennedy presidency, which is considered one of the biggest fiasco in American foreign policy. What is surprising is not that the invasion failed, but the very fact that an absurd plan was adopted. All the prerequisites for the operation were absurd and erroneous. For example, the Americans underestimated the power of the Cuban air force. Or such a fact: it was assumed that in a pinch, a brigade of paratroopers would be able to take refuge in the Escambray Mountains in order to unleash a guerrilla war against Castro from there. But one glance at the map of Cuba is enough to see: the mountains are located 150 kilometers from the bay, and the path to them lies through the swamps. And here's what is amazing: Kennedy and his advisers were perhaps the most highly intelligent people who ever found themselves in the American government.
What to do?
If you feel like you are in a closed group where people are striving for agreement and like-mindedness, start expressing your dissenting opinion - even when they don't really want to listen to you. Ask others what they think, what unspoken assumptions do they have? It is better to take the risk of flying out of the warm nest of like-minded people. Or, if you are a group leader, appoint some of the members as devil's advocate. And let him not be the most popular person on the team. But, perhaps, it will be the most important one.