In 1952, the sociologist William H. White coined the term “groupthink” to conceptualize the mechanism by which tightly knit groups, cut off from outside influence, rapidly converge on normatively “correct” positions, becoming, as they do so, institutionally impervious to criticism: indifferent to out-group opposition, averse to in-group dissent, and ever more confident of their own unimpeachable rectitude. The psychologist Irving Janis, who conducted much of the empirical work on the phenomenon, describes the process 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.”
It’s not exactly good decision making.
The complete inventory of groupthink symptoms runs as follows: feelings of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking; discounting of warnings that might challenge assumptions; unquestioned belief in the group’s morality, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions; stereotyped views of enemy leaders; pressure to conform against members of the group who disagree; shutting down of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus; illusions of unanimity; “mindguards”—self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting opinions (Janis, 1972)
The Wisdom of Psychopaths
Kevin Dutton 2012