Antecedents of groupthink: A quantitative study

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This article reports results of a quantitative analysis of I. L. Janis's (1982) original specification of the groupthink model. The study builds on the earlier work on 19 cold war crises conducted by Herek, Janis, and Huth (1987), who found that information-processing errors in group decision making were directly related to unfavorable outcomes. The present research looks further back in Janis's casual story to investigate the factors that give rise to the information-processing errors. This data identify five key antecedent conditions: lack of tradition of impartial leadership, lack of tradition of methodical procedures, overestimation of the group, closed-mindedness, and pressures toward uniformity. Several factors that Janis anticipated as important antecedent conditions do not correlate with faulty decision making, such as group homogeneity and a recent failure. The results indicate that faulty decision making has its roots in leadership style, traditional group procedures, and patterns of group behavior.

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Journal of Conflict Resolution

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