Loyalty demands that members are obliged to follow the rules, regulations, values, and beliefs that bind them to the group’s common goals and objectives, which makes them susceptible to groupthink. According to Riggio (2016), this defines the membership of a tightly knit group. Individuals feel a strong sense of urgency to conform to a group leader by putting group values ahead of self-values. Such a level of loyalty lacks a balance between commitment to self and commitment to the group. The result is always to exhibit a sense of psychological pathology. Besides, evidence has shown that the situation always fails individuals to recognize the appropriate levels of commitment to the group. Here, Riggio (2016) notes that members under the influence of groupthink usually strive for painless unanimity because prestige compels them to suppress personal doubts and collective rationalization. Susceptible people strive to agree with every majority decision to avoid being seen as evil or opposed to the group even if members make fundamental assumptions in decision-making.
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People who are susceptible to groupthink always subject themselves to unanimity and the illusion of invulnerability. In such circumstances, group members take extreme risks with excessive optimism by showing a strong sense of belonging to the majority. Members often find themselves tied to beliefs they cannot question even though they appear contrary to both ethical and moral considerations in decision-making. Besides, those members who strongly bind their identity to the group usually fall victim to self – appointed mind guards who always strive to discourage alternative opinions.
The reasons that make one have the same feelings about the way a group makes decisions on an issue are a commonality in beliefs and values (Riggio, 2016). This is consistent with the definition of a group, where two or more individuals interact through a stable form of relationship that follows a specific behavioral pattern. Besides, having the same attitude as another person or individual in a group is a strong indicator of cohesiveness. Here, eliciting such feelings across peers is an indication of the illusion of unanimity.
I do agree that group polarization is a bad thing because it characterizes extremely biased decisions that individuals make in groups. Here, the decisions do not reflect the true expectations of group members. This is because polarization sways the group members’ attitudes towards a situation without relying on evidence to make decisions on the issue. Such a failure to contemplate evidence leads to the risk of extreme attitudes and choices induced by the members.
Often, Riggio (2016) argues that polarization is influenced through persuasion and social comparisons as well as using a heightened sense of identity. However, a group can engage neutral facilitators besides using brainstorming in decision-making to prevent group polarization. Also, measures should be put in place to guide against more persuasive group members dominating the decision-making process by encouraging the active participation of each individual in a group to avoid extreme attitude and the risk of making biased decisions. It is also important to assess the risk of any decision made and the resulting consequences to avoid the effects of polarization on decision-making. Another approach to preventing polarization is dividing a group into different working groups that can make different decisions on an issue. Each decision is then evaluated for a neutral solution.
Riggio, R.E. (2016). Introduction to industrial and organizational psychology. London, UK: Routledge.