What is Groupthink in the Workplace & How to Fix It Harmoniously

It is surely a sign of groupthink when you have a collaborative team but still do not receive any innovative ideas. Hearing the term, do you think it is a positive word? No, it’s not! And today we are going to find out what groupthink means and the effects it’s causing on your work culture. 


Here Is The Definition Of Groupthink

Let’s start from scratch, the groupthink definition. The terminology was 1st introduced by Irving L Janis, back in 1972 through the book Victims of Groupthink. It’s a psychological phenomenon that happens almost in all workplaces no matter how popular the company is. 

When people support popular decisions at the expense of their own opinions, it is referred to as groupthink. Employees are sure to ignore warning signs along the way when they begin to feel invulnerable and take the moral high ground on suggestions coming from their team. Because coherence comes before individual thought in small groups, groupthink is more common.

This in turn promotes group uniformity and less than ideal decision-making. In other words, groupthink prevents people from deviating from the group’s consensus and leader.

5 Symptoms Of Mind-Tool: Groupthink In Work Culture

While you know the exact symptoms it’s easier to predict groupthink and take initial steps to fix it. Here we are mentioning the top 5 symptoms of groupthink that will help you to figure it out easily. 

Ostracizing Other Members 

Usually, for the act of a few members’ discrimination, groupthink occurs in the whole team. So, members who disagree with the majority’s viewpoints are shunned and labeled as outsiders. Dissenters are seen as ignorant by groups.

Engage In Self-Censorship

It’s pretty common in human nature that some will lead and some will follow. But the dilemma starts when few people start taking the privilege of this psychological phenomenon. Your employees will self-censor in addition to censoring one another. When they realize their viewpoint conflicts with the group’s or the public’s consensus, they will be hesitant to share their own unique ideas.

Unquestioned Morals In Practice

Employee Misconduct This is another common scenario in workplaces where groupthink happens. Every choice is assumed to be right, and individual morality and convictions are disregarded. Additionally, the group’s judgments’ implications are disregarded.

Illusions Of Invulnerability

The illusion of invulnerability causes the staff to become overconfident, which encourages them to take unnecessary and harmful risks. Overly optimistic team members are also likely to be affected by groupthink.

Collective Rationalization In Decisions

Members of the team won’t change their minds and won’t pay attention to warning indicators. As a result, if anyone has objections or alternative ideas, those are despised. In your team, you can see the outcome while assigning any group task.

5 Causes Why Groupthink Happens At Workplace

Time to find out why groupthink happens in the workplace. If your organization’s decision-making processes are opaque, it is isolated from outside influences, and its employees all come from similar backgrounds, groupthink is quite prone to occur. The principal causes are as follows:

🛑 Poor Leadership In the Work Environment

The importance of strong leadership can’t be denied while working as a group. Without the right leader, the whole team collapses and bad practices like groupthink enter the mind of employees. 

Groupthink thrives on closed leadership, which is a prescription for disaster. The decisions of a team are frequently influenced by strong, charismatic leaders. Additionally, prominent, vocal people win over the more reserved ones and have their viewpoints accepted. Similar to the aforementioned examples, these viewpoints might not be the best ones for the business.

🛑 Lack Of Diversity In the Workplace

Having employees with comparable backgrounds and values is a major contributor to groupthink. They believe they are better than others and that outsiders are inferior. According to research, businesses with a diverse workforce have a 70% greater chance of expanding into new markets.

They might even deem a different viewpoint to be immoral and not worth their time. Hiring practices that favor a specific group of employees deprive your company of a comprehensive perspective in debates or disagreements.

🛑 Fear Of Negative Consequences 

Nobody likes to be the outcast on small teams, which is one of the biggest problems. Nobody expresses opposing views, especially if the group tends to keep out dissenters. Employees self-sensor as a result when they anticipate a negative response from the team leader or the other members of the group. Businesses fail to receive innovative criticism, which leads to the adoption of disastrous judgments that could cost you.

🛑 Lack Of Information Flow

Members are more inclined to engage in idea exchanging and accept whatever is put forth if they are ignorant about the subject being discussed. Additionally, this issue can easily be caused by the assumption that some employees are more qualified than others.

🛑 Undeniable Stress On Teammates

When the group is working under micromanagement and constantly poking fun at individual idealism, they feel stressed and consider themselves out of the folk. The minority with individual ideas feel stressed to express themselves which can also cost them losing positions or priorities. Members may accept the consensus as long as the discussion is over under the pressure of stress.

3 Examples Of Groupthink And Its Negative Impacts

Groupthink is not only a theoretical concept but also affects the performance of a company as a whole. Here is mentioning some undeniable impacts of groupthink on your workplace: 

  1. Absence of creative conflict
  2. Ignoring crucial facts
  3. Ignorance of unsuccessful outcomes
  4. Avoiding fresh concepts
  5. Excessive faith in group judgment
  6. Not challenging authority 
  7. Lack of readiness for adverse consequences
  8. Ignoring opposing viewpoints

Now we are going to share the after-effects of groupthink in renowned companies that cost them a lot. 

  1. Kodak Cameras Falldown: Kodak once had the top spot in the world for camera innovation. The corporate leaders felt invulnerable because it appeared to be unbeatable. After the invention of digital cameras, everything changed. As a result of the effects of groupthink, Kodak resolutely refused to embrace this new technology. This ultimately contributed to the company’s demise, coupled with the failure to make other crucial choices.
  2. The collapse of Swissair: The airline was once so financially solvent it was called the “Flying Bank.” However, they began to believe they were invulnerable and as a result of failing to question poor decisions and gross mismanagement, the airline eventually went bankrupt.
  3. Pepsi’s Black Lives Matter campaign: Pepsi released the Kendall Jenner-starring Black Lives Matter advertisement in 2017, unprepared for the negative feedback they would receive. The audience perceived the advertisement as being disrespectful and believed the firm was exploiting a serious situation to increase sales. It seems unthinkable that no one observed and objected to the implementation of such a campaign given how many people are involved. The crew must have fallen prey to groupthink, which is the more likely explanation. Adopting a poorly thought-out advertisement was caused by the absence of an alternative viewpoint.

5 Healthy Practises To Fix Groupthink In Team

If you don’t fix groupthink in your workplace, then the above-mentioned collapse can happen to your company anytime. Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon, not a crime, so you have to handle it carefully. In general, it is likely that the people who contain groupthink are unaware of the consequences of what they are doing. So, it’s your responsibility to point out groupthink and fix it seamlessly.

Here are the top healthy practices that will help you to omit groupthink from the work culture:

Inclusion Of Diversity In Your Team

Better decision-making is supported by cultural and social diversity in the workplace. Everyone contributes unique ideas and points of view, which helps to clarify issues and increases the likelihood that the best solution will be found.

According to research, a diverse team has a 60% higher likelihood of making wise decisions than one that is not. For instance, having members of the black community on the team would have provided insight into how the community would react to the failed Pepsi advertisement.

campus recruitment

Learn How To Promote Workplace Diversity And Inclusion 

Promote Open Leadership 

The tone for employees to feel valued is set by you, the leader. Some employees may feel intimidated if you start out in a dominant manner, and as a result, they may follow your instructions out of fear of being fired or penalized. As much as you can, try to involve members in the conversation instead of imposing your agenda.

You can prompt your team members effectively if you are aware of how each member of the group communicates. Your company culture should provide psychological safety, which will motivate all employees to contribute freely.

leadership myths

 Check Out 7+ Popular Leadership Myths To Avoid

Encourage Quiet Voices To Speak Up

Although a workforce can be varied, it cannot be inclusive. A smart leader should encourage quiet employees who are frequently silenced by noisy ones in order to foster inclusivity.

One technique to make sure all attendees participate in meetings is to ask for hands-ups. If you see signs of groupthink, try posing counterarguments to allow different opinions a chance to be heard.

Offer Learning Growth Opportunities

Employee empowerment through learning empowers them to confidently voice opposing viewpoints. You can permit them to enroll in courses that will educate them and help them perform better.

Accept Outside Perspectives & Sharing

Encourage a shared culture where involvement is valued. One method to support this culture and make sure that opposing viewpoints are given a chance to be heard is by rewarding staff. Additionally, whether it comes from internal or external sources, all information should be objectively analyzed.

Emphasize On Individualism For Healthy Work Culture

Working collaboratively can help your team grow and skyrocket the performances of individuals. You need to be careful that it doesn’t turn into groupthink and starts affecting your workplace. In a perfect world, every employee would feel safe coming to work and feeling like they belong. Coworkers shouldn’t be made to feel as though their opinions are unimportant. Once you’ve done that, your decision-making and inventiveness should have increased.

Hopefully, this in-depth guide will help you to overcome groupthink and provide enough space for individualism to grow and shine. If you want to keep yourself updated with more of these kinds of guides, tips, and tricks, subscribe to our blog now.

Picture of Faguni


Faguni is a tech enthusiast by heart who loves to work on diverse topics. She has a deep interest to work with new marketing strategies and different buyer persona. In free times she loves to travel and explore new peoples.

Share This Story