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Focus Groups Should Use The Role Of The Devil’s Advocate To Ensure Groupthink And Unethical Behavior Doesn’t Occur Among Group Members. • 1500 Words

1900 words - 8 pages

This essay will establish the relationship between groupthink and unethical behaviour among group members. The first part of this essay will define unethical behaviour and the phenomenon of “groupthink”. It will describe how groupthink arises from extreme elevated negative group cohesion. It will outline the behaviour of groupthink dynamics (such as self-importance, over commitment, and excessive devotion to the group) and how groupthink dynamics contributes to unethical behaviour. Next, the essay will identify how groupthink has contributed to the unethical behaviour in the highest levels of decision making. The second part of this essay will identify the role and definition of the ...view middle of the document...

, 2013). Being immune to outside factors and rejecting external information results in the group basing decision making on the dangers of hindsight preference and ignoring alternatives. (Harris 2002 cited in Kossen et al., 2013).
The dynamics of groupthink is a combination for promoting and supporting unethical behaviour, here, Lunenburg, (2012) lists Janis’s eight symptoms of group think:
1) Rationalization – Members disregard warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions resulting negative consequences, and poor decision making;
2) Illusion of invulnerability - The notion of being invincible courses of actions are made in haste without contingency plans;
3) Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause resulting in unethical behaviour and decision making;
4) Direct pressure on dissenters – Compliance pressure to force others to yield to the will of the group and to extend to those who threaten the group’s cohesiveness by voicing opinions, views and options that endanger the group’s beliefs in its ability to reason, standpoints and management;
5) Stereotyping - stereotyped views are formed within the group of opposition leaders as negative to warrant sincere attempts to negotiate or as poor and unintelligent to counter whatever risky attempts are made to defeat their purposes.
6) Self-censorship – Restriction of information where gatekeepers keep other members being informed with information that can challenge the validity’s of the group’s aim, practices and leaders;
7) Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous;
8) Self-appointed ‘mind-guards’ – Members do not reveal information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.
The 1986 Space Shuttle Launch disaster and the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco were the consequences of high levels of group cohesiveness. The disaster for the 1986 Challenger space shuttle was the outcome of extreme pressure on team members to launch the craft despite critical evidence showing that the craft had structural flaws, validating the launch to be cancelled, instead the crucial evidence which rang alarm bells was covered up and restructured to look less alarming (Evans 2007 cited in Kossen et al., 2013). The Bay of Pigs fiasco was a decision made under external threats pressuring the Kennedy’s administration to act. The tactics of Kennedy’s administration was to overthrow the Castro government which was known as the so-called Bay of Pigs decision (MacDougall & Baum, 1997). The team of men who deliberated on the Bay of Pigs decision were all intelligent men capable of objective, rationale analysis (Janis 1982 cited in MacDougall & Baum, 1997). With the absence of the devil’s advocate they collectively ignored crucial information which gave them the opportunity to critique and rectify the flaws in their false assumptions (Janis 1982 cited in MacDougall & Baum, 1997) which resulted...

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