Re: Consensus/Groupthink
From: racheli (rachelisonoracohousing.com)
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 07:55:43 -0700 (PDT)

>   If the atmosphere of trust is pervasive in the group, "groupthink"
>indeed can be present, especially if the trusted one is respected, does a
>convincing sales presentation, or has a powerful potentially intimidating
>presence and exhibits irritation at being asked penetrating questions.

I don't understand the above statement:  Trust emerges, IMO, out of
experiences where people feel respected/heard even when they hold
dissenting views. Someone who is intimidating and short-tempered/irritated
isn't going to be trusted (in the way that I understand the concept). 
Perhaps people would go along in order to save themselves pain, but what
does that  have to do with "groupthink"?


>   Group cohesion may make decision making more efficient, but it
>certainly does not invite critical thinking. 

I guess that would depend on what one means by "group cohesion". If it
means that people are pressured to all-think-the-same, then I agree that
critical thinking/feeling is being undermined.  But cohesion might mean
that people have gotten to know each other so well, that they understand
each other's concerns without having to talk and hash out things at great
length, and that it's easier for them to get to a  point where there is a
clear "sense of the group"...  This is good (although utterly illusive in
my community), and can certainly shorten the time needed to reach
consensus.


If the purpose is to hurry
>along the agenda, then group cohesion is desirable.  However, it may
>stifle imaginative thinking.  I think that if a group can be invited to
>think in a monolithic way, the members are more content being a part of
>the group. But, wise decisions are less likely to occur with that
>mindset.  Indeed, harsh feelings can arise with criticism, but the group
>benefits, and when the dust settles, the final result will be superior.
>And for the most part, any bruised feelings will heal with time.

I have a great difficulty understanding what it mean to say that "if a
group can be invited to think in a monolithic way, the memebers are more
content being a part of the group".
I also read (and correct me if I'm wrong) a strong assumption that our
mind works separately from our emotions, and that somehow hurting people
on the way to achieving "superior results" is fine, because the people who
got hurt will get over it...  
IMO It's essential to take care of how people feel while you go along, and
see  people's feeling as not being separate from their thinking.   It is
the suppression  of feelings and "intuition" and over-reliance on what we
are able to verbalize  which is often the source of bad thinking and
decision-making (for individuals, as well as for groups). 

R.

 

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racheli [at] sonoracohousing.com
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