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Group Thinking
Know of a resource missing from this page? Let us know... 

This category is concerned generally with critical thinking in group, institutional, or organizational contexts.

Groupthink by Tim Borchers
Succinct summary of groupthink as defined by Irving Janis, who coined the term. "Groups experiencing groupthink do not consider all alternatives and they desire unanimity at the expense of quality decisions."

If anyone finds a good web resource on groupthink, let me know. 

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay
"A classic book, written in 1841 and available in full online. "THE OBJECT OF THE AUTHOR in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes..."

Overcoming Obstacles to Critical Thinking in Your Organization by Richard Paul and Linda Elder.
A chapter from their recent book Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. Warning: this website requires you to register by providing your email. "Here is our plan. We will deal with the logic of organizational structures in some detail first, approaching their potential transformation from a number of different standpoints, including that of three predictable obstacles: the struggle for power, group definitions of reality, and bureaucracy. We will also look at the problem of "misleading success" as well as the relation between competition, sound thinking, and success. We will spell out some essential questions each of us should ask when working within a corporate or organizational setting. Following that, toward the end of the chapter, we will analyze six hypothetical cases illustrating some of the ways critical thinking might be applied to decision-making in a corporate or organizational setting. We will close the chapter with a list of conditions essential for success in facilitating a culture of critical thinking."

Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions by Jared Diamond
"What I'm going to suggest is a road map of factors in failures of group decision making. I'll divide the answers into a sequence of four somewhat fuzzily delineated categories. First of all, a group may fail to anticipate a problem before the problem actually arrives. Secondly, when the problem arrives, the group may fail to perceive the problem. Then, after they perceive the problem, they may fail even to try to solve the problem. Finally, they may try to solve it but may fail in their attempts to do so." [29 Apr 03]

Last updated: 20 Nov 2005