Organizational Behavior

GroupThink and GroupShift


It worsens an individual’s mental efficiency, reality, testing, and moral judgment due to group pressure.

The symptoms of the group think phenomena are-

  • Group members justify any resistance to the assumptions they have made. No matter how firmly the evidence contradicts their basic assumptions, members behave in the way so as to reinforce those assumptions continually.
  • Members apply direct pressure on those who briefly present their doubts about any of the views shared by the group or the one who question’s the validity of arguments supporting the substitute favored by the majority.
  • Members reserving doubt or holding contradicting viewpoints seek to avoid deviation from what appears to be group consensus, by maintaining silence about misgivings and minimizing the importance of their doubts to themselves.
  • An illusion of unanimity appears in the picture. If someone doesn’t speak, it is assumed that he or she is in favor. In other words, silence becomes viewed as a ‘Yes’ vote.


In balancing group decisions with the individual decisions of members of the group, evidence hints that there are differences. In some cases, the group decisions are timider than the individual decisions. More often, the shift is close to greater risk. What appears to happen in groups is that the discussion results in a significant shift in a position of members towards a more extreme position in the direction in which they were already leaning before the discussion.

So conservative types become more cautious and the more intrusive types take on more risk. The group discussion tends to fabricate the initial position of the group.

Group shift is the phenomena in which individual decisions make way for exaggerated group decisions. Group shift can be seen as a special case of groupthink.

The decision of the group shows the dominant decision-making norm that is developed during the group’s discussion. Whether the shift in the group’s decision is towards greater deliberation or more risk depends on the dominant ‘pre-discussion norm.

The greater episode of the shift towards risk has generated several explanations for the phenomenon. It has been argued, for instance, that the discussion creates familiarization between members. As they become more comfortable with each other, they also become more bold, confident and daring.

Group decisions free any single individual from accountability for the group’s final choice. Greater risk can be taken as even if the decision fails, no single individual can be held wholly responsible.