Features of Groupthink
All the antecedents taken together lead to members seeking concurrence and agreement with the group members. This behaviour of trying to achieve greater harmony and seeking approval and concurrence from the group manifests a series of groupthink symptoms.
The symptoms of groupthink start to occur when decision makers become motivated to avoid being too harsh to their team-members’ or leader’s ideas/decisions (anon, 2003). These symptoms also arise when people opt for a soft line of criticism, to shun conflicts and sometimes their own ideas too. In other words, group members are mostly looking for amiability and concurrence with other group members rather than the optimum plan of action (anon, 2003). These symptoms are categorized in three types and eight sub-types overall:
Type I: Overestimations of the group—its power and morality
When a group becomes more optimistic and willing to take greater risks, and clings to the delusion that they are invulnerable to obvious dangers of that decision, the group has become a victim of groupthink and this invulnerability is the first symptom of groupthink. It overestimates the power of the group and may end up ignoring clear signs of danger.
When a group starts to ignore his or her own ethical or moral values for the sake of achieving harmony within the group and gain concurrence with everyone, the group is facing groupthink and unquestioningly believes in the inherent morality of their group.
Type II: Closed-mindedness
When group members start to collectively justify their selection, discounting warnings or other negative comments, they have become a victim of groupthink. This symptom becomes vivid when group members begin presenting rationales for doubts and ignore signals which may lead them to rethink their past decisions.