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Consumer Behavior Groupthink Essay

1399 words - 6 pages

Abstract
This paper will give brief introduction to the deep meaning behind the word groupthink and the extent to which it is prevalent in our society today , at home, work places, institutions, entertainment places and its effect on consumer buying behavior. Then there will be an elaborate discussion on one of the well documented form of Groupthink in behavioral psychology called Bandwagon effect and its contribution in shaping consumer behavior by looking from different aspects of marketing and products. This effect relates to the spread of different beliefs among people even without any strong evidence and affects the psychology and personality of the person. This mainly helps people ...view middle of the document...

This is greatly reflected in the behavior and psychology of individuals. Although it is presumed that the decisions are taken on individual basis but its process is based on collective thinking. This brings in light, a major factor of consumer behavior affecting the emotions, decisions, day to day life, as small as choice of a lollipop to choosing a life partner – Groupthink or Herd behavior as can be referred at times. This is not something new or innovative and that is the most interesting part of this topic. It exists with abundant signs of its presence but people calmly choose to ignore them in their race to be completely unique from each other.
Groupthink
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon which gives importance to a group decision at times neglecting the individual perspectives and avoiding the critical evaluation of other alternatives but try to follow a herd behavior. A lot of research work has been done on this field. The greatest fault of this behavior is loss of individuality, uniqueness. Although this has led to a lot of disasters in the past due to the maintenance of this status quo mainly in case of critical decision making or change management in any big multinational but looking from a marketers perspective this has somewhere led to the beginning of symbolic purchases, brand loyalty and formation of target markets where some part of the behavior of a larger group tends to be in the same direction without reasoning out much. Looking at the Neo- Freudian theory mostly a consumer does not know exactly what he wants but decides on his means to fulfill his needs taking idea from an ideal group which he imagines he belongs to or his near ones or some role model he relates to. This happens unknowingly most of the time.
The research shows that this phenomenon is mainly linked to the negative side of decisions making where people rule out their individual rationality and try to become collectively rationale by trying group cohesion and forcefully coming to a consensus. The study of groupthink was conducted by Irving Janis in 1972 and according to a journal by Thomas Hensley and Glen. W. Griffin he described this as a process by which a small group of decision makers are subjected to powerful stress may become more concerned with achieving concurrence among their members than in arriving at carefully considered decisions. This data identify five key antecedent conditions: lack of tradition of impartial leadership, lack of tradition of logical procedures, overestimation of the group, closed-mindedness and pressures toward uniformity. It contradicts the terms of rational –actor model, cognitive variables. Although the literature refers this as an negative effect of group decision making for the individuals the paper will not look into the special aspect of groupthink- bandwagon from a negative perspective because groupthink may lead to disastrous consequences when it is related to an important decision making involving greater...

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