He maintained that "strong group cohesion can in fact contribute to defective decision making which, in turn, may lead to a policy disaster. He defined groupthink as a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members’ strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action".
Paul 't Hart states that the results can be devastating, leading to
“To preserve the clubby atmosphere,” says ’t Hart, “group members suppress personal doubts, silence dissenters, and follow the leader’s suggestions”. Alternative opinions, questions and statements of uncomfortable truth – even silences – are interpreted as personal attacks on the leadership.
- Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
- Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
- Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
- Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
- Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
- Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
- Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
- Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions. (emphasis added).
Looks like the University of Newcastle would be a perfect case study on Groupthink.