The biggest problem prevalent at my workplace is “Group-think”. This term was coined by Janis who articulated that groupthink occurs when the group acts as a cohesive whole and attempts to make consensus among the group by ignoring a rational decision (Edman, 2014). My work team seems to be suffering with this social phenomenon since I usually notice them ignore practical alternatives just because they want to agree with each other.
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This is a serious problem at my workplace because it works against the organisation’s well-being and dehumanizes other groups working on the same project. I believe that my group suffers from this problem because most of the members hail from the similar academic background, they tend to insulate themselves from the opinions of the other groups and I have also noticed that the lack of clear-decision making rules usually leaves my group directionless. Being the group-lead, it is my duty to address this problem which I would like to explore further in the upcoming units.
The biggest challenges that I must deal with while addressing this problem would be illusion of unanimity of the group members, the need for self-censorship and the groups desire to self-appoint mind-guards. According to Sunstein and Hastie (2015), illusion of unanimity occurs when the judgment of minority is considered unanimous. Self-censorship, on the other hand, takes place when the group members are reluctant to share deviations and doubts from the group. The members appoint self-guards when they deem to protect the leader or the group from the problematic set of information (Sustein & Hastie, 2015).
In my organisation’s context, it would be a challenging task to convince my group that expressing a deviant opinion is beneficial for the organisation. A valuable critic must be accepted and rewarded and a moderator from outside the group may help to elicit varying opinion from the group members. While writing this persuasive essay to target the menace of groupthink, I figured out that the social scientists were divided on the methods to deal with this problem. The data was contradictory and complex and therefore it was challenging to seek solution for this problem from the academic sources. Therefore, based on my experience in the area of team-building and choosing the most adaptable solutions to this problem, the solutions stated above have been chosen.
Edman, J. (2014). Group composition and Groupthink in a business game. Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, 33. 278-283.
Sunstein, C. R., & Hastie, R. (2015). Wiser: Getting beyond groupthink to make groups smarter. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.