The Situationist has another very interesting post. Here, they offer an excerpt from an article in the January/February Yale Alumni Magazine:
[Irving] Janis studied several policy fiascoes, including the Bay of Pigs, the failure to protect Pearl Harbor, and the escalation of the Vietnam War. In each case, the participants “adhered to group norms and pressures toward uniformity, even when their policy was working badly and had unintended consequences that disturbed the conscience of the members,” he wrote. “Members consider loyalty to the group the highest form of morality.”
Participants in those critical decisions, Janis found, had failed to consider the full range of alternatives or consult experts who could offer different perspectives. They rejected outside information and opinion unless it supported their preferred policy. And the harsher the preferred policy — the more likely it was to involve moral dilemma — the more zealously members clung to their consensus: “Each member is likely to become more dependent than ever on the in-group for maintaining his self-image as a decent human being and will therefore be more strongly motivated to maintain group unity.”
Janis suggested several steps for preventing groupthink, though he cautioned that they were hypothetical. His recommendations include careful impartiality on the part of the leader as to what decision the group should make; formation of competing teams to study the same problem; and giving “high priority to airing objections and doubts.”
How easily we forget the hard-learned lessons. Read the rest of this excellent post...