MORAL COURAGE: THE ANTIDOTE TO 'GROUPTHINK'

Step out of the crowd and think for yourself

IN the 1980s, Irvings, L. Janis, a professor of psychology at Yale University, coined the term groupthink. It describes any situation in which a group of people either bond with each other so well that they are unwilling to question the group's collective decisions, or where outside forces (a deadline, a desire for a specific outcome) keep them from honestly exploring all the options and challenges (see box, p.12).

Under the influence of groupthink, a person with a legitimate concern may fail to raise a legitimate question, in order to maintain the group's comfort zone. Questions may be cut off by other team members, or even the team leader. The resulting decisions generally lead to undesirable results, sometimes even endangering lives.

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