Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people when the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. It is a term introduced by social psychologist Irving Janis in 1972. Groupthink tends to happen when the members of a group prioritize consensus and unanimity over critical thinking and independent judgment.

Key characteristics of groupthink include:

1. **Illusion of Invulnerability:**
– Group members may develop an inflated sense of their own capabilities and ignore potential risks or negative consequences associated with their decisions.

2. **Collective Rationalization:**
– Group members engage in the collective justification of decisions, even if they are flawed. Rationalizations are made to downplay or dismiss contrary information.

3. **Belief in Inherent Morality:**
– The group may believe in its inherent morality and ignore ethical or moral consequences of its decisions. This can lead to actions that would be considered unethical or morally wrong.

4. **Stereotyping of Out-Groups:**
– Members of the group may develop negative stereotypes about individuals or groups outside of their own, viewing them as enemies or adversaries.

5. **Direct Pressure on Dissenters:**
– Group members who express dissenting opinions or raise concerns may face direct or indirect pressure to conform to the majority view. This can discourage open discussion.

6. **Self-Censorship:**
– Individuals may withhold their dissenting opinions or concerns, fearing social rejection or isolation within the group.

7. **Illusion of Unanimity:**
– Group members may believe that everyone is in agreement, even if there are unexpressed concerns. This perception of unanimity reinforces conformity.

8. **Mindguards:**
– Some group members may take on the role of “mindguards,” actively preventing dissenting information from reaching the group and shielding members from potential conflicts.

9. **Incomplete Survey of Alternatives:**
– The group may fail to thoroughly consider all available options and alternatives, leading to a limited exploration of potential solutions.

10. **High Cohesiveness:**
– High levels of group cohesion, while generally positive, can contribute to groupthink if it leads to a desire for unanimity at the expense of critical thinking.

Groupthink can occur in various settings, including corporate boardrooms, government bodies, and social organizations. It has been linked to poor decision-making and is considered a potential threat to effective group and organizational functioning. Recognizing the signs of groupthink and promoting a culture that encourages diverse perspectives, open communication, and critical thinking can help mitigate its negative effects.