Effects of Groupthink on Tactical Decision-Making
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Irving Janis introduced the theory of groupthink in his classic study Victims of Groupthink in 1972. He attempted to determine why groups, often consisting of individuals with exceptional intellect and talent, made irrational decisions. He concluded that groups often experienced groupthink, a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive group, when the members striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action. His major proposition was groups that displayed groupthink symptoms were more likely to produce poor decision outcomes. His initial works sparked an explosion of research into how group behaviors, biases, and pressures affect group decision-making. Groupthink has become a widely studied and accepted phenomenon. Groupthink is a widely utilized theory in social psychology, organizational theory, group decision-making sciences, and management fields. Research into the phenomenon of groupthink is a pertinent area of study that involves understanding how group processes influence the making of decisions. This includes the analysis of the conditions under which miscalculations faulty information processing, inadequate surveys of alternatives, and other potentially avoided errors are most probable. Many professional fields have recognized the impact of group behaviors, and specifically the phenomenon of groupthink, on decision-making. Unfortunately, US Army doctrine does not address how group behaviors influence decisions. This is a critical weakness in doctrine since tactical level decision-making and planning occurs in a collaborative group environment. The military decision making process, the Armys doctrinal decision-making process, relies on analysis, inputs, and recommendations from the commander and staff.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics