|Re: group think||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Rob Sandelin (robsanmicrosoft.com)|
|Date: Fri, 24 Jun 94 14:23 CDT|
Jim_Snyder-Grant mentioned in a previous posting: >We have, from time to time, been able to catch 'group-think' at work, the >pressure on minority points of view to conform to the rest of the group, as if >disagreement was some threat. It is becoming part of our habit as a group to >notice those sorts of moments & take the time to appreciate people's diverse >points of view as a gift to the larger group. If we all thought alike, we could >all be wrong at once without any chance of correction - diverse points of veiw >gives us a chance to talk things through & consider options. I'm sure this will >be an ongoing learning for the group - I think us humans get some built-in >inclination or early training on saying we agree with the group even when we >disagree; and we even know how to change our perceptions to match those that >the group around is reporting. I think this is one of the central pitfalls that >groups need to work through. One of the situational places where group think is very likely is when there is a time deadline. The pressure of getting a decision by 3pm increases the potential for groupthink the closer you get to that deadline. I saw a group once who had a process where they actually stopped the meeting, took a five minute silent think break, then reconvened. The goal of the think break was a change to quietly evaluate what is really important to each individual and to evaluate and look for false assumptions. Another group think situation is towards the end of a long or intense meeting. "Just make the decision and get out of here" can lead to group think as well. I saw this situation defused in another group where they all postponed making the decision after talking about it for 2 hours all morning and temporarily broke the meeting for 2 hours. People went and got food, relaxed, went for walks, hung out in the sun. They came back, refreshed, having given good thought to the issue, and made what had been a devisive decision all morning, in about 5 minutes, having changed the nature of the issue by making the decision reviewable again in a year. This kind of process technique is called defocusing in some of the books. The idea is to stop work and get away from the situation for a long enough time to let people defuse their emotions, think rationally about the issue, and recharge. The length of time required will depend on the issue, the nature of the group discussion, and any deadlines. Anyone have any other ideas about how to spot and disarm group think? Rob Sandelin Puget Sound Cohousing Network Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time
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