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Mitigating the Negative Decision Making Consequences of Groupthink and Other Social Pressures

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Mitigating the Negative Decision Making Consequences of Groupthink and Other Social Pressures Anthony R. Pratkanis University of California Marlene E. Turner – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mitigating the Negative Decision Making Consequences of Groupthink and Other Social Pressures


1
Mitigating the Negative Decision Making
Consequences of Groupthink and Other Social
Pressures
  • Anthony R. Pratkanis
  • University of California
  • Marlene E. Turner
  • San Jose State University

2
The discovery of groupthink
  • Within the period of a little over a year and a
    half, the Kennedy administration made one of the
    worst and one of the best foreign policy decision
    in U.S. history
  • Bay of Pigs
  • Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Irving Janis wondered how the same group of
    people could produce such different decisions
  • A comparison of the group dynamics of both cases
    revealed the conditions of groupthink

3
Groupthink is extreme concurrence seeking in a
group
  • Antecedent Conditions
  • Cohesion
  • Insulation of group
  • Directive leadership
  • High stress low hope of finding solution
  • Limited search and appraisal
  • Results in
  • Groupthink symptoms
  • Defective decision making symptoms
  • Poor decisions

4
Groupthink the Bay of Pigs
  • Cohesion (Kennedy White House esprit de corps)
  • Directive leadership (JFK made known his
    intentions early in the process)
  • High stress (first time on world stage)
  • Insulation limited search (due to sensitivity
    of matter little outside intervention)

5
Groupthink the Bay of Pigs (cont.)
  • Invulnerable or unlimited confidence (get away
    with cover story for the invasion)
  • Self-censorship (Schlesinger wrote critical memos
    to others but withheld criticism at the White
    House)
  • Mindguards (Edward Murrow of USIA was prevented
    from voicing opposition)
  • Outgroup stereotyping (press to blame for release
    of information)
  • Limited search for conflicting information (no
    evidence that invasion would set off mass revolt
    in Cuba)
  • No risk assessment
  • No contingency plans made (except escape to
    distant mountain area if invasion failed)

6
Cuban Missile Crisis
  • As a result of the Bay of Pigs, JFK
  • Took responsibility for the decision personally
  • Conducted a review of the decision to establish
    new procedures
  • The new procedures included
  • Group members told to be critical and watchdogs
  • Outside experts and fresh perspectives obtained
  • Independent subgroups to create competing
    policies
  • Leadless sessions (JFK not present to direct
    discussion)

7
Results of Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Despite operating under conditions of high
    cohesion and stress and threat, the group made an
    effective decision including
  • The creation of contingency plans
  • Realistic risk appraisal
  • Reversal of judgments and decisions
  • Complete information search and appraisal

8
Other groupthink fiascos
  • Lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor
  • Watergate
  • Challenger disaster
  • City of Santa Cruzs earthquake preparedness
  • Appeasement of Nazi Germany
  • Decisions at Kent State
  • Marketing the drug thalidomide
  • Israels lack of preparedness for Oct. 1973 war
  • WorldCom accounting fraud incident
  • Columbia space shuttle tragedy

9
Research controversies
  • Case studies are open to alternative
    interpretations not all agreed with Janiss
    interpretation of his cases
  • Experiments the gold standard in science were
    unable to reproduce groupthink in controlled
    conditions
  • These findings lead to a new theory of groupthink
    termed Social Identity Maintenance

10
Social Identity Maintenance theory of groupthink
  • Groupthink occurs when
  • The group has a positive social identity (NASA,
    Kennedy White House) as opposed to an esprit de
    corps
  • That positive identity comes under threat
  • The result
  • Group engages in identity protection (collective
    rationalization) as opposed to problem-solving
  • Group accepts poor decision (simple solution or
    one from the leader) even when a better solution
    is known by some members.

11
Experimental test of SIM groupthink
  • Ad hoc groups were
  • Given a social identity (cohesion)
  • Put under threat
  • Completed a case in which discussion resulted in
    better solutions
  • Results showed that the combined effects of
    cohesion and threat resulted in poor
    decision-making
  • Results have been repeatedly replicated

12
Additional experimental tests
  • Groupthink was prevented in high cohesive, threat
    groups when
  • The group was given an excuse for poor
    performance (provides a face-saving mechanism for
    maintaining positive identity)
  • The group was given a set of discussion
    guidelines to focus process and serve as a coping
    mechanism for the threat
  • Recognize all suggests and continued solicitation
    of solutions
  • Protect members from criticism
  • Keep discussion problem-centered
  • List all solutions before evaluating them

13
Additional group dynamics that may lead to poor
decision making
  • Group polarization (risky shift)
  • Social loafing
  • Hidden, unshared information
  • Politicothink
  • Façade of conflict and discussion
  • Conflict avoidance

14
Social Influence Pressures
  • Landscaping of the decision
  • Agenda setting, decision criteria, limiting
    choices, decoys phantoms, problem framing,
    comparison points, information control, and
    labeling
  • Conformity and bandwagon
  • Obedience to authority
  • Granfallooning
  • Escalating commitment to a failing course of
    action (rationalization trap)
  • Plus others

15
Mitigating the Effects of Groupthink
  • Goals
  • Decision quality
  • Decision acceptance (by group and constituents)
  • General strategies
  • Increase constructive conflict (debate and
    discussion about the issues)
  • Decrease emotional conflict (desire to maintain
    social identity)
  • Conduct a social influence analysis to determine
    sources of influence that may serve to bias
    decision making
  • Results Teams that focus on facts, consider
    multiple alternatives, create common goals, use
    humor, balance power, and seek consensus based on
    qualifications perform better than their
    counterparts.

16
Implementation of interventions can be difficult
during groupthink
  • Any intervention can be seen as a threat and
    therefore may induce pressures to maintain social
    identity
  • Interventions work best when
  • implemented before or early in the process
  • the intervention becomes normative (normal) and
    linked to the identity

17
Decrease emotional conflict
  • Provide a face saving mechanism for poor
    performance
  • For example, the task is tough, it is to your
    credit to succeed
  • While an effective tactic for preventing
    groupthink, it can be difficult to implement
  • High stakes decisions imply consequences
  • Excuse can take the form of scapegoating

18
Decrease emotional conflict
  • The risk technique
  • The discussion is structured so that
  • Group members are encouraged to express risks and
    fears about a decision (including implications
    for group identity)
  • After listing the risks, the group turns to a
    discussion of how to mitigate those risks.
  • Technique is useful for dealing with underlying
    emotional conflict and turning it into
    constructive conflict

19
Decrease emotional conflict
  • Multiple role playing procedures
  • Group members assume the roles and perspectives
    of
  • Key constituencies
  • Other group members
  • The exploration of other perspectives
  • Reduces links to social identity
  • Facilitates confrontation of threats and
    rationales
  • Provides additional perspectives and potential
    information

20
Decrease emotional conflict
  • Link a social identity to critical analysis
  • Examples
  • Railroader identity of safety
  • Toyota plant and defects
  • Speak truth to power
  • Technique makes critical analysis second nature
    and provides for a positive identity

21
Decrease emotional conflict
  • Identity Metamorphosis
  • Destroy an old identity and replace it with a new
    identity (along with the resources to maintain
    that identity)
  • Andy Grove, the Great America Ferris wheel, and
    exiting the DRAM market and entering the PC chip
    market

22
Increase constructive conflict
  • Structured discussion principles (train leaders
    and group members in effective discussion
    principles)
  • Guidelines include
  • Recognize all suggests and continued solicitation
    of solutions
  • Protect members from criticism
  • Keep discussion problem-centered
  • List all solutions before evaluating them
  • Getting to yes approach adapted to group
    decisions

23
Increase constructive conflict
  • Establish procedures for protecting minority
    opinion
  • Groups often generate high quality solutions but
    dont adopt them
  • Attention to minority opinion enhances cognition
    processing resulting in better decisions
  • Implementation approaches
  • Leader solicits and respects minority views
  • Decision process solicits minority views
  • A hallmark of democratic process

24
Increase constructive conflict
  • Use directed decision aids to structure group
    process
  • Developmental discussion (leader breaks problem
    into steps and explores each systematically via
    question-asking)
  • Two column method (list and consider the
    advantages and disadvantages of each alternative)
  • Second solution (require group to produce a
    second solution to the problem after the first)

25
Increase constructive conflict
  • Debias technique of considering multiple
    hypotheses and alternatives
  • method of multiple working hypotheses or bring
    up all rational explanations, perspectives, and
    alternatives for consideration as a means of
    avoiding premature closure on a suggested option.
  • Consider the opposite

26
Social influence analysis
  • Analyze the social situation of the decision
    maker in terms of the social influence pressures
    and tactics.
  • Suggest specific interventions based on that
    analysis to reduce the effects of potentially
    biasing influence sources.
  • Useful for countering influence such as
    landscaping, granfallooning, bandwagon, etc.
  • SIA has been used to suggest interventions in
    fraud crimes, public diplomacy, and consumer
    protection, among others.

27
Scientist Think that you might be wrong
  • Instill in each decision maker the norms of the
    scientist
  • Ask What else can it be?
  • Ask So what? (If a given hypothesis is true,
    then how should the world look?)
  • Go find out if the so whats are true, looking
    for cases when they are not.
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