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Namie, G., & Namie R. (2000).  The bully at work: what you can do to stop the hurt and reclaim your dignity on the job.
"Groupthink is George Orwell's term from 19841, the dark futuristic novel. Psychologists borrowed the term to describe a group incapable of critically assessing the pros and cons of a decision. Because the group members feel so tightly connected, so cohesive, they prefer to see only one side of an issue. They are easily led by a forceful leader and busy themselves by falling in line behind the boss and kissing up to stay in good favor. They become a mindless, overprotective clique when assembled as a group, putting the political goal of squashing dissent above all other matters."2
  • 1. Orwell, G. (1949).  1984.
  • 2. According to the Wikipedia entry on groupthink, it wasn't Orwell, but rather William H. Whyte, Jr., who coined the term, as he writes in 1952:
    "Groupthink being a coinage — and, admittedly, a loaded one — a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity — it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity — an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well."
    Wikipedia: groupthink
Senge, P. M. (1990).  The Fifth Discipline.
"Until we have some theory of what happens when teams learn (as opposed to individuals in teams learning), we will be unable to distinguish group intelligence from 'groupthink,' when individuals succumb to group pressures for conformity." (p. 221)
Morgan, G. (1998).  Images of Organization: The Executive Edition.
"The groupthink phenomenon has been reproduced in thousands of decision-making situations in organizations of all kinds. It may seem overly dramatic to describe the phenomenon as reflecting a kind of psychic prison. Many people would prefer to describe it through the culture metaphor, seeing the pathologies described in all the above examples as the product of particular cultural beliefs and norms. But there is great merit in recognizing the prison-like qualities of culture." (p. 186)
Frost, P. J., Nord W. R., & Krefting L. A. (2003).  Managerial and organizational reality: stories of life and work.
"Jerry Harvey calls this the Abilene Paradox. He found that people often don't voice their independent thoughts because they want to please others. The need to please blocks the truth. The reason is partly our cultural predisposition to conform. People want approval and hence fail to listen to or act spontaneously on the subtle voice within." (p. 209, Richard L. Daft and Robert H. Lengel)
Shtogren, J. (1981).  Models for Management : The Structure of Competence.
"I use the term groupthink as a quick and easy way to refer to the mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive ingroup that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action. Groupthink is a term in the same order as the words in the newspeak vocabulary George Orwell used in his dismaying world of 1984. In that context, groupthink takes on an invidious connotation. Exactly such a connotation is intended, since the term refers to a deterioration in mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgments as a result of group pressures." (p. 364)
Wright, P. J. (1979).  On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors.
"These were not immoral men who were bringing out this car. These were warm, breathing men with families and children who as private individuals would never have approved this project for a minute if they were told 'You are going to kill and injure people with this car.' But these same men, in a business atmosphere, where everything is reduced to terms of costs, profit goals and production deadlines, were able as a group to approve a product most of them wouldn't have considered approving as individuals." (p. 6)

See also: organizational psychodynamics, conformity, group narcissism, group

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SKOS concepts and relations

Concept Scheme: business culture/management vocabulary

URI: business culture/management vocabulary


  • Concept: groupthink
    • preferred: groupthink
    • definition: decision making by a group (especially in a manner that discourages creativity or individual responsibility)
    • related: organizational_psychodynamics
    • related: conformity
    • related: group_narcissism
    • broader: group
    • closeMatch:
    • keyword-153
    • linked content:
      • in scheme:
      • gloss: decision making by a group (especially in a manner that discourages creativity or individual responsibility)
      • hyponym of:
      • sense: groupthink
      • synset id: 105788924
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