Re: Formal Consensus, passivity & groupthink - Sharon
From: Norm Gauss (
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 13:18:17 -0700 (PDT)
> Group think is actually more pernicious than this. It does not result
> from passivity but from active putting forward in a point of view that
> is unquestioned. I find that it is not passivity but bullying and
> wishful thinking that lead to group think much more than lack of
> participation. Groupthink is a very strong run at a brick wall, not a
> drifting toward it.

      The "active putting forward in a point of view that is unquestioned"
is not bullying nor wishful thinking unless the membership-at-large allows
it to happen.  A persuasive presentation by an authoritative-sounding
domineering person may go unquestioned because  the members may feel that
voicing a concern is not worth the emotional effort.  After all, nobody is
making friends when they ask potentially threatening  questions.  The desire
to avoid breaking up existing relationships is one way that bullying may
occur.  (In fact selling a proposal by using emotional arguments has often
been used in political campaigns). Some people value relationships more than
making wise decisions.

> Allowing the "thumbs up" view
> of the room (and people ALWAYS call for thumbs up first!) is the
> conscious or unconscious display of the majority which is often
> intimidating to the one person in the room who may actually have a
> better solution but not the energy to "fight" the majority.
   In our group, we have a simultaneous showing of all thumbs (up, down, and
sideways).  None receives any preference over any other.  I have seen
several "thumbs" showings in which some people point their thumbs only after
seeing how most of the other thumbs are pointing.  This is groupthink in
action.  To avoid this kind of phenomenon, before even asking for a showing
of thumbs, we should ask if there are any concerns.  The more concerns we
have, the more likely we will have a penetrating examination of the

After resolving the voiced concerns, then having a showing of thumbs allows
all members to take an assertive action.  This can act as a stimulant to any
complacent person who is content to just sit back and let things happen.

Norm Gauss
Oak Creek Commons
Paso Robles, CA

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.