Groupthink is a process that kills individual thinking and makes people act and make decisions based on one dominant idea that is not always correct. Groupthink prevents alternative ideas to be analyzed and evaluated. As a result, groupthink leads to people making the same decision without thinking it through. They think it is the best option as a result of collective pressure and inability to accept something else. Thus, groupthink has to be avoided otherwise it can lead to fiasco which can be seen with Coca Cola and New Coke beverages.
The decision managers made was obviously based on groupthink. Hence, it was unsuccessful and showed that groupthink could damage the entire company. In order to avoid groupthink, many steps could be implemented.
Firstly, a team should never be isolated if it does not want to fall under the pressure of groupthink. It should be able to interact with various people who represent various approaches. In case of Coca Cola Company, it obviously had to make some market research and then constantly communicate with people responsible for the customers’ department and managers/supervisors of various sectors in order to determine the best ideas.
Secondly, it was stated that the team was cohesive. In many ways, some people could disagree with the general decision, but they did not want to reveal the truth because they felt it was against the team’s decision. In such a situation, “a devil’s advocate” would be a good person to fire up the discussion. In order to avoid groupthink, there should always be a person who is intelligent, confident and strong enough to be able to contradict the major decision, give constructive criticism and explain why this decision is worse than another one.
Thirdly, the entire team should be able to discuss constantly. People have to be able to express their ideas freely without feeling pressure. This way, they would be able to be honest and state what they really think about company’s decisions. Thanks to such an opportunity, every team member would be able to evaluate the decision like the one about New Coke and give fair account on it.
Fourthly, the team has to have a considerable amount of time in order to make a needed decision. People do not have to rush because in hurry, it is much easier to agree to a mass decision without thinking it through. People have to be able to make a decision after analyzing it for some time and seeing their options.
Finally, a good way to avoid groupthink is by stating clearly the objectives and goals a team has to meet. This way, every decision will be evaluated and analyzed according to its ability to meet the requirements and achieve the set goal. People would be able to express their ideas freely without pressure or criticism, but then, these ideas will be reevaluated in order to see whether they are good enough for the company’s objectives. This way, there will be an objective analysis that will exclude the possibility of groupthink.
Hence, groupthink could be avoided and even prevented so any team would be able to work together without falling for a trap of mass decision-making. Groupthink is a negative factor that influences team decisions in a bad way making them less effective. Thus, every team member has to think individually and be able to work successfully in a team where each opinion is valued. This way, it will be possible to avoid groupthink, make the best decision for the company as well as establish norms and rules within an organization that would encourage people to express their ideas freely and provide constructive criticism.
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