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Group Think Essay

664 words - 3 pages

Everyone has experienced being in a situation where they wanted to speak up about an issue but was afraid if they did a giant target would be painted on their back. When an individual is among a group of like-minded people they may find it difficult to go against the grain and communicate a viewpoint that they believe is not right. The idea of drawing attention to themselves and standing out as the one that is different from the rest can be a very intimidating. It is not difficult to think of examples of people who have been ridiculed or even killed for standing up for what they believe issue because history is filled with them. Even when the individual has a great amount of information, knowledge and skills about an issue they can still be pressured to follow the majority to their own demise. Some people would rather be wrong with a lot of people than to be right all alone. This paper will reflect my understanding of Groupthink ...view middle of the document...

” (Rose 2011)

During the Bay of Pigs incident, the United States government was embarrassed after a failed invasion on Cuba. They were caught trying to overthrow the Fidel Castro’s government and deceiving the United Nations. Cuba wasn’t attacking the United States so they did not have the support of United Nations. In spite of the US government’s steadfast belief that they were doing the right thing hundreds of people were killed and over 1000 prisoner captured (Gilman, 2004).
At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese “destroyed much of the American Pacific Fleet and brought the United States into World War II.” (Chambers, 2000) The attack was in retaliation of a decision made by the United States not to continue to supply the Japanese with supplies. In this case, the US forces as a group did not allow themselves to foresee the Japanese attack and underestimated them entirely.
In his study on the NASA Columbia Shuttle incident, Ferraris identified that the NASA Columbia mission team as being highly trained, skilled, and educated professionals. These people invested years of their lives into the mission and were under extreme pressure not to be wrong or make any mistakes. On the other hand those in top management were not entirely privy to all of the pertinent information about the project and were not the subject matter experts. As a result, “the top managers had to rely on the assessments of others.” (Ferraris, 2003) The very fact that the manager s of such a sensitive mission lacked the knowledge about the task at hand would point to an apparent disconnect between the group’s thinking of how to protect themselves and the greater intent and safety of the mission itself.

Groupthink is a trend that has its inherent dangers. While there are positive attributes and benefits to groups of individuals working together to reach a common goal, there may also be a distinct threat to the integrity of the group’s mission. It is important to be aware of the group’s dynamics and to be cautious of closed-minded, agenda-heavy, and intimidating leadership. Power corrupts easily. If members of groups do not speak up the historical events cited above could certainly recur.

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