In modern workplaces, we have seen very destructive examples of groupthink. Many companies and organizations were down because their team members were part of groupthink, and that is why we need to avoid groupthink and improve the decision-making process.
What is groupthink in a team?
Groupthink in a team happens when the team members are very cohesive and they tend to make decisions without considering other viewpoints and outside opinions. This can lead to decisions that are not always good for the organization. The loss of unique voices can be visible and this can create many problems.
Many conditions allow groupthink to happen in a workplace, and these conditions are the following:
- An isolated group – There is less room for the voices of experts and this can lead to the wrong decision-making.
- A cohesive group – Team members want to agree with each other too much and this can produce the avoidance of the business challenges that are important for the company.
- High stress and low self-esteem – This can lead to fast decision-making without considering the important aspects of each business move.
All these conditions tend to arise within the groups of people who work with each other in a way that is not good for the company. We had some examples of this kind of work that were very devastating for the companies.
What is an example of groupthink
Teamwork can go wrong in many situations, and there are results of groupthink that showed us why this kind of work is not good. Here are the examples.
As the official airline company of Switzerland, Swissair was one of the leaders in the airline market. It was operating successfully for more than 70 years. However, the company culture and team members did not consider the changes in the market and they did not want to change their business orientation according to the market. They believed they were superior when compared to other companies and this led to poor business decisions that led the company to failure.
The automotive industry in the U.S.
American automakers were the leaders in the industry for many years. This led to the creation of the mindset that American automakers are invulnerable. However, the buyers wanted to buy more energy-efficient cars and they turned to automakers outside the U.S. They started to buy the cars from Toyota and Hyundai and this led to problems for the American automotive industry. The industry leaders did not want to produce the cars that the market needed which is why the companies faced bankruptcy.
How to avoid groupthink?
There are many ways to avoid groupthink and it is possible to minimize this kind of thinking among the workers. First of all, you should focus on large groups and this orientation should be permanent.
These are common ways to avoid groupthink:
- Team members must acknowledge any groupthink bias that comes consciously or unconsciously to their minds in a decision-making process.
- Organizations must pay attention to inclusion rather than assimilation, which can lead to empowering different opinions that might be effective in business situations.
- There are unspoken rules that should be acknowledged every time where a decision should be made, and these rules should be applied every day.
- HR managers should hire people who are ready to accept the success of other workers and this kind of fair approach must be a starting point for any company.
There are ways to avoid groupthink and we discussed them above. If you notice that there are signs of groupthink within your organization, you should take the necessary steps to stop this from happening. Only in that way, your organization can grow, and it can make success in the business.