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What Is Groupthink?

Updated on June 25, 2014
GroupThink | Source

This article will examine what groupthink is and how it might be detrimental to the process and or outcomes of a group's goals. Reflected below are some groups I am aware of that suffer from groupthink. Examples include groups I am familiar with from society at large.

I will explain if these groups I have listed seem to be made up of people who have a collective consciousness formed by a sharing of fantasies. Also, if groupthink is necessarily the outcome of symbolic convergence.

Groupthink Is...

Groupthink is the illusion of agreement exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas (Allyn and Bacon 168).

Groupthink can be detrimental to a group’s goals because groupthink usually causes group members to arrive at poor decisions and a false consensus. A group that is practicing groupthink will push aside critical thinking because it is not rewarded or encouraged within the group.

Groups exhibiting groupthink tend to think that their group can do no wrong and are overly concerned about reinforcing their group leader’s thoughts and actions while trying to justify the rest of the group's actions. These are just a few of the symptoms of groupthink that can hinder a group’s outcomes and goals.

GroupThink Model


Examples of Groupthink

Current examples of groups that exhibit groupthink are political parties, world governments, sports teams, gangs, businesses and corporations to name a few. Also, the media tends to reinforce the collective consciousness of groupthink.

In regards to the concept of symbolic convergence theory, such groups seem to be made up of people with a shared consciousness and identity. The group's consciousness and identity is shared through their collective fantasies that are chained together or have a common theme (Allyn and Bacon 42).

I think that groupthink can result from the outcome of symbolic convergence. Most groups share common fantasies and overtime the group may avoid conflicts to preserve those shared fantasies. As a result, the group develops groupthink.

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Symbolic Convergence Theory

Groupthink and symbolic convergence are similar concepts. Groupthink is the illusion of agreement, and symbolic convergence is a shared fantasy through collective consciousness, etc.

As stated, groupthink is the outcome of symbolic convergence theory. Groups usually have the same fantasies, and a group will avoid conflict in order to keep their shared fantasies or stories, and, as a result, they develop groupthink.

Not every group develops groupthink as an outcome of symbolic convergence. As pointed out, not every group avoids conflict or has miscommunication or misunderstandings, such an outcome depends on the group's relationship.


  • Allyn and Bacon, Introducing Group and Team Principles and Practices. 2008.


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    • profile image 6 years ago

      Would Jehovah witnesses be a group like this. They have to all believe the same or you are out and if not you can't get in. Thank you for the information!