What is Groupthink?

what is groupthink

A term that industrial-organizational psychology majors will need to learn is known as Groupthink. More and more today, organizations are moving towards the use of teams to accomplish their business’ goals. In most cases, teams are efficient and highly effective, but at times, there can be problems associated with using teams. One of these problems has been termed Groupthink. But just what is Groupthink, and how can it affect teams? The following information will answer both of these questions.

Groupthink Defined

Groupthink occurs when a team of people comes together to make an important decision. Everyone agrees on the same solution even though some members secretly think that something else would work better. Some people may think that Groupthink would be the perfect solution to problems that need to be solved right away. But Groupthink can present many dire consequences in the work environment, which will be discussed later. First, let’s examine possible reasons for Groupthink.

Possible Reasons

There are many reasons why Groupthink may occur. A common reason is when teams are under strict deadlines to come up with a solution, and they know that requesting an extension is out of the question. As an article published by Psychology Today described, individual team members may resort to Groupthink if they want to gain acceptance from their teammates. Members who are new to the team may be afraid to offer solutions if they view existing team members as more experienced and knowledgeable. The entire team may agree on a solution because they know that it is a solution that their employer will approve of.


As stated previously, Groupthink can have a seriously negative impact on organizations. For one thing, it does not allow for creativity and innovation. There may be some wonderfully spectacular solutions to a business problem, but in the case of Groupthink, they may very well be overlooked. This can put businesses that are stuck in this type of rut at a disadvantage to competitors whose teams allow for creative and innovative decision-making. If poor decisions are made, the decision can have an adverse effect on the company’s:

  • profits
  • reputation
  • customer relations

Preventing Groupthink

An article published in Forbes offers several tips for preventing Groupthink. The article highlights the importance of discussing the phenomenon of Groupthink with both team members and upper-level executives. Letting everyone know about the potential consequences of Groupthink can help decrease this way of thinking and increase creative and innovative thinking. Ensuring that everyone takes part in team meetings and all ideas are considered is another way to prevent Groupthink.

Working in teams is fast becoming the norm today as businesses are realizing the many benefits that teams can provide. And for the most part, utilizing teams in the work environment can be highly effective. But there are times when teams exhibit a phenomenon known as Groupthink. This article can help students in industrial-organizational psychology programs understand the many facets of this all-too-common way of thinking.

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