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Definition of Groupthink

I have always had a different idea of what groupthink really means, to me I thought of it as a bad idea from someone amongst a group of people that had not been voiced seemingly because the person having this thought lacks confidence or backing.

More like trying to proof to your business partners that an idea of using an outdated tactic to target a young crowd is not the best idea In its own definition Wikipedia(2013) describes groupthink as a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision- making outcome, whereas it can also be viewed as the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.

All different versions of what it is but also giving a detailed well round idea and description. Good examples of groupthink situations as studied by Janis in the book “fiascoes” are such as the United States government failure to anticipate the Pearl Harbor attacks, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the escalation of Vietnam War, and the ill-fated hostage rescue in Iran (Janis,1972) Some recent past examples of groupthink would be in the hastened decision making of the Bush administration and Congress to pursue an invasion of Iraq based on a policy of “preemptive use of military force against terrorists and rogue nations.

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It is definitely an undeniable fact that groupthink has been a large part of decision making in the United States government for a long time.

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As we speak, arguably the best current example of groupthink that the American government is facing is the Obama Care. This is so because some might see it as a majority of democrat leaders refusing to see or identify with different ideas that are outside theirs, thus leading to what psychologist consider as a mental deficiency commonly known as groupthink.

“Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups” (Janis, 1972). I found it rather interesting reading the article by the net advisor to bring out reasons as to why the Obama care was created under the influence of groupthink. The net advisor article reads “the patient protection and affordable care act or “Obama Care” was passed by majority of the then Democratic House.

The house leadership under Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to allow the US senate of any party to even consider debating, let alone voting on Obama care. The house by passed the entire U.S. senate by using a controversial self-executing rule or “deem and pass” procedure then quickly sent it to president Obama to sign”(Net advisor). This brings out the question, what if the Democratic Party had not made such an irrational decision to pass the Obama Care, would it have made any difference in the case of the government shutdown.

Since the main reason that led to most of the republican members to oppose raising the debt ceiling that would have prevented the government from shutting down was primarily a disagreement in the Obama care. This is arguable in both sides since the republican party might also have made a groupthink decision to prevent the Obama care under any circumstances, leading to a government shutdown that has dented the government debt even more, ironically an issue that they (republican party) are trying to avoid with the Obama care.

The united states is established in two well defined parties and many are the times that the conflicting views from each party, makes it harder to make any decisions or view the others opinion. Hopefully in the future the decisions from our leaders can be viewed in a more universal dimension, thus the administrators of our president can challenge each other to eliminate groupthink.


  1. Janis, I (1972, Victims of groupthink (1st edition ed) retrieved from http:// leadership theory
  2. Obama care is an example of Groupthink gone wrong. Retrieved from
  3. Definition of Groupthink. Retrieved from

Cite this page

Definition of Groupthink. (2018, Sep 27). Retrieved from

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