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Finally, the lack of a template or protocol for decision making, or what Janis calls "norms requiring methodological procedures for dealing with decision making tasks," can also contribute to groupthink.There are several things businesspeople can do to avoid groupthink: follow good meeting procedures, including the development of an agenda; aim for proper and balanced staff work; present competing views; and attend to correlative meeting problems, like exhaustion. One suggestion is to use an "options memo technique" in which information is presented as a problem statement, a list of options, and a preliminary recommendation.Seventh, the members spend little time deliberating about how the chosen policy might be hindered by bureaucratic inertia or sabotaged by political opponents; consequently, they fail to work out contingency plans. Negative, stereotypical views of opponents are created and used. This lack of dissent results in what Janis calls an "illusion of unanimity." If any difference does occur, group pressure is applied to bring the dissident into line.Three general problems seem to be at work: overestimation of group power and morality, closed mindedness, and pressures toward uniformity. Linked to this attitude of perfection is a correlative close mindedness. Janis also mentions "the emergence of self-appointed mindguards—members who protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their shared complacency." If these precipitating problems support tendencies to groupthink, there are predisposing conditions as well.Groupthink occurs when the pressure to conform within a group interferes with that group's analysis of a problem and causes poor group decision making.Individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking are lost in the pursuit of group cohesiveness, as are the advantages that can sometimes be obtained by making a decision as a group—bringing different sources of ideas, knowledge, and experience together to solve a problem.Just as groups can work to promote effective thinking/decision making, the same processes which enhance the group's operation can backfire and lead to disastrous results.Janis identified seven points on how groupthink works.
To avoid groupthink, it is vital for the group leader to become a statesperson or conductor instead of a partisan virtuoso.
Lack of impartial leadership is a third contributing cause.
When powerful leaders want to "get their way" they can overtly and covertly pressure the group into agreement.
(the logic may be fine, but the judgment may be poor); 3) are there any problems or errors remaining in the preliminary recommendation?
; and 4) can the preliminary recommendation be improved?