What is Group Think

What is Group Think? To answer the question, “What is Group Think,” you really have to examine the human thought process. Group Think is a method of thought: a way of thinking performed by a group of individuals in an effort to curtail discord and to arrive at a sense of accord or agreement. During the Group Think process, individuals will test, analyze and evaluate the group ideas under examination.

Yet, the answer to “What is Group Think” is even more complex than the latter definition. Group Think, while at first seemingly positive because group members work together toward a common and acceptable outcome, actually has a serious disadvantage. William H. Whyte established the phrase “Group Think” in 1952 to describe a group thinking process that disallows the promotion of uncomfortable views – this can prove to be disadvantageous to single group members or to the entire group as a whole because the suppression of viewpoints can result in a rationalized conformity.

The Group Think mindset can occur for a number of different reasons and the closer group members are, the more apt the group is to partake in the group thinking process. Symptoms of the group think process include the suppression of negative points of view for the sake of group unity, the isolation of the group from other individuals with diverse opinions from those held by the group, and the quiet acceptance of overzealous leadership. Other symptoms of group thinking include an unquestioning attitude toward group decisions, the formation of stereotypical beliefs, and the closing off of oneself to ideas that do not support the group’s general thinking. Group Think sacrifices one of the highest universal principles in favor of a corrupted misnaming of a organizational disease.

In the end, the answer to what is group think is that it is a form of thinking that should be avoided; instead a group should strive to establish an atmosphere conducive to diverse ideas and forms of expression.