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How to Avoid Group-Think

Group-Think can ruin a business

Group thinking can be a big problem, particularly if people grow complacent in the growth of their company. Group thinking is the term used when people striving for the same goals begin to play the “yes ma`am” game. Nobody wants any controversy, and groups stop looking for alternatives, opting instead to take the path of least resistance. Rather than questioning each other’s ideas, they accept them without argument, and run the risk of missing out on a better alternative. Companies should try to avoid group think as much as possible.

There are several strategies any company can use to avoid group think. One of the most effective alternatives for group think is to have a devil’s advocate attend each meeting. This person questions all ideas indiscriminately in an attempt to get others to look for alternate plans. Other solutions might include dividing into groups, then discussing the differences between the groups, or calling a “last chance” meeting which gives people time to reflect, and possibly think of something that was missed.

I think the most important thing to remember when avoiding group speak is to always ask the questions nobody wants to hear. Nobody wants to hear there may be a flaw in their plan, but it’s the only way to discover problems, and rectify them before it’s too late.


Borchers, Tim (1999). Groupthink. Retrieved September 4, 2008, from Small Group Communication Web site