comm paper 2 final | Theory | Decision Making

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Isaac Stevens Perspectives in Communications 2050 April 2018 Paper 2 Final Theory Analysis Introduction This paper will analyze the groupthink theory. First it will define the theory, identify the approach and author, then describe the current status of the theory, evaluate the theory using the Seven Theory Criteria and finally make recommendations on how to improve the theory and how the theory can improve communication. Theory Definition, Author and Approac
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  Isaac Stevens Perspectives in Communications 2050  April 2018 Paper 2 Final Theory Analysis Introduction This paper will analyze the groupthink theory. First it will define the theory, identify the approach and author, then describe the current status of the theory, evaluate the theory using the Seven Theory Criteria and finally make recommendations on how to improve the theory and how the theory can improve communication. Theory Definition, Author and Approach Groupthink affects and influences our society as a whole, our traditions, values and what we were raised to believe is all a product of this theory. This theory states that a person that has an opinion in the minority is less likely to speak out against an opinion or belief that is a majority favorite among their peers. The person in the minority will either not speak out against the majority, or will think that they’re wrong, due to being in the minority and change their mind to the popular belief. Groupthink helps you know how to thrive in a family or organization and what inhibits that growth and makes these relationships stagnant. The Approach is empirical/scientific because the theory tries to predict the decision-making outcomes of a group by the unhealthy groupthink behaviors the group uses. The goal is to predict how forces moving group members to become cohesive, to mute opposing views and assume the group will make moral decisions all combine to prevent the group from making effective decisions. When group members withhold their input for fear of group rejection, it is defined as affiliative constraints. These constraints lead to a false concurrence seeking , which is the effort to reach a unanimous decision. If group members are afraid to speak out, and share their opinion, a conclusion may be made without the total agreeance of a certain decision. They simply have shown pressure towards uniformity  which is when members go along with other’s opinions to reduce conflict. This is the opposite of true concurrence seeking. Since this pressure towards uniformity happens so often, in every work situation, groupthink was born and has had such an impact on how we view decision making in the modern days.  This theory was developed by Irving Janis in the form of an essay that was published in the Yale Alumni Magazine in 1972 (Lassila, 2008) as a way of explaining how a group of intelligent people working together to solve a problem, can sometimes arrive at the worst possible answer. Janis was a social psychologist that one day was pondering after reading about the Bay of Pigs fiasco and wondered how such a thing could have come about. He studied similar fiascos and eventually wrote “Members consider loyalty to the group the highest form of morality.” (Lassila, 2008) It was this that confirmed his notion of groupthink and has let the world try to understand and overcome this action that we as humans so naturally partake in, the theory of groupthink. Current Theory Status  The idea that people work better and are more productive in groups is being challenged by the idea of groupthink. It has been a popular belief that open workspaces, combined brainstorming activities and generally working together will increase productivity. This belief has recently been challenged by the idea that a group, may in fact not be as productive than everyone working separately due to the harms and outcomes of groupthink. Such as those that occur in pressure towards uniformity.  An article in the New York Times states that in fact, those who are in a work environment that are left to work alone, are found to be more productive and get more done than those that are in an open environment and work together. The article goes on to say “In a fascinating study known as the Coding War Games, consultants Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister compared the work of more than 600 computer programmers at 92 companies” They go on to say that those coders performed at roughly the same level however that there was an enormous performance gab between organizations that had open offices and those that allowed their coders a private space to work and solve problems. (Cain, 2012) This article clearly shows that people are beginning to grasp the knowledge of the negative effects of groupthink and are taking the appropriate steps and procedures to try and limit those effects from happening. It has been a common belief that groups are better, however since the introduction of groupthink it is becoming more and more apparent and understood in these modern times, that this may not be the case. It is affecting the way the world views productivity and the way we get things done. Because of this theory and bringing the negative effects of groupthink to light, it has positively affected us as humans to realize that this is potentially a less effective way to work. Work places are becoming more and more secluded and letting the workers think for themselves and solve problems the way they see best fit. It has allowed this new concept to become more of the norm in workplaces around the world.  Theory Evaluation This theory has done an excellent job in explaining why something may happen the way it does in a society and it has helped us solve the problems that working in groups may have. There are many strengths to the theory, as we can see, this theory has truly affected many things about our daily lives and jobs. This theory has great parsimony as there are many different situations this theory can be applied to our daily lives and it offers a resolve and explanation on why that thing may have happened. The logical consistency of the theory is undoubtable, this theory simply makes too much sense and anyone who has had a few experiences with decision making in groups can and will attest to the truthfulness of this theory. Most of all I feel as if this theory has great heurism, as I’ve  spoke of many times before, because of this theory, the world has changed. Business’s took its concept to their workers and have increased productivity and work ethic due to better working procedures. Schools and other places of learning have greatly been affected in the way that classwork and homework is accomplished and how it is gone about. People ’ s new-found knowledge of the way we as humans work in a group makes us more aware and capable for success. This theory is remarkable as it stands up to all of the theory evaluators and passes them with ease. These are not many weaknesses to this theory other than the fact that one may totally disprove the idea of working in a group at all. This theory exploits the negatives of group working, however working in groups can still be very beneficial. As long as all people in the group are confident enough and stand up for the ideas and opinions they have, and voice those opinions, willing to talk about and discuss the best plan of action, this theory wouldn’t have much validity behind it, however since we as humans fear rejection , this in most cases is why the theory stands up to its name so much. Improvements to the Theory To improve the theory, I would suggest an edit to be made along the lines that just because people are falling under the theory of groupthink by thinking the same as other social pressures, doesn’t always mean that the pressure is wrong. Someone could have the right answer and be pressuring others to think the same way as them, in this sense the theory would not always be negative. You should always want to have people think for themselves and come to the best conclusion on their own, however if someone is unable to see the vision, while another is on the right track, it wouldn’t always be bad for the one in the right to pressure the others or show the other group members why they think their insight is correct. Of course, this may have negative effects as well, I’m just  stating that the theory should talk about how some pressure, may in fact not be negative. Conclusion In closing, groupthink has positively affected the world in many ways, by helping us see things in a new perspective, that wouldn’t have been possible without the thoughts of Janis and his sharing of them with the world. There are good uses and bad uses of groupthink and slowly overtime since the introduction of this theory, we have been able to study and understand more of how we can be the most effective and not make the same silly mistakes that committees and groups have in the past. With this new found knowledge of how groupthink still effects both positively and negatively in our daily lives, I’ ll personally be able to spot the times that this is happening, and perhaps have the confidence to speak out against the popular opinion and perhaps be able to shed some new light and perspective that wouldn’t have been available if I were to have stayed quiet in the minority. I feel as if this theory is so important for everyone to learn about so that they too can be aware when situations arise that the negative effects of groupthink may come to pass. No one wants to see something fail or not get the most out of an experience due to someone not sharing or  just going along with what the majority of the group believes. If we all were to have such confidence, the world would be a more peaceful and happy place. References Cain, S. (2012, January 13). The Rise of the New Groupthink. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html   Cherry, K. (2018, March 12). Groupthink: Why We Strive for Consensus. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-groupthink-2795213 Janis, I. (1972). GROUPTHINK. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://department.monm.edu/cata/mcgaan/Classes/INTG415/Group-think.pdf Lassila, K. (2008, January/February). A brief history of groupthink. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://yalealumnimagazine.com/articles/1947-a-brief-history-of-groupthink Rose, J. D. (2011). Diverse Perspectives on the Groupthink Theory - A Literary Review. Retrieved from https://www.regent.edu/acad/global/publications/elj/vol4iss1/Rose_V4I1_pp37-57.pdf   
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