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Acht symptomen van groepsdenken (overgenomen uit Janis, zie onderaan pagina))

  1. Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.
  2. Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.
  3. Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.
  4. Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.
  5. Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group's stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.
  6. Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.
  7. Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group's decision; silence is seen as consent.
  8. Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

Avoiding Group Think

  • The group should be made aware of the causes and consequences of group think.
  • The leader should be neutral when assigning a decision-making task to a group, initially witholding all preferences and expectations. This practice will be especially effective if the leaders consistently encourages an atmosphere of open inquiry.
  • The leader should give high priority to airing objections and doubts, and be accepting of criticism.
  • Groups should always consider unpopular alternatives, assigning the role of devil's advocate to several strong members of the group.
  • Sometimes it is useful to divide the group into two separate deliberative bodies as feasibilities are evaluated.
  • Spend a sizable amount of time surveying all warning signals from rival group and organizations.
  • After reaching a prelimiary consensus on a decision, all residual doubts should be expressed and the matter reconsidered.
  • Outside experts should be included in vital decision making.
  • Tentative decisions should be discussed with trusted colleagues not in the decision-making group.
  • The organization should routinely follow the administrative practice of establishing several independent decision-making groups to work on the same critical issue or policy.

Janis, I. L. & Mann, L. (1977). Decision making: A psychological analysis of conflict, choice, and commitment. New York: Free Press.


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