Groupthink Theory and Research: Implications for Decision Making in Interdisciplinary Health Care Teams
This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Interdisciplinary Health Team Care Conference, which took place September 20-22, 1990 at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is reproduced here with the permission of the authors.
Rather than synergistically enhancing performance, group processes, sometimes, can reduce the quality of judgements and the efficiency of team members compared to when each works alone. The "groupthink syndrome" (Janis, 1982) is one type of group process that leads to mistakes in judgment and decision making.
The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the relevance of groupthink theory to the functioning of interdisciplinary health care teams in situations similar to the one described above. The paper is organized in four parts: (1) a review of the theory of groupthink as proposed by Janis (1972 & 1982); (2) a review of research findings from studies in which facets of the theory have been tested; (3) a presentation of modifications to expand the theory; and (4) a discussion of the implications of the expanded theory for health care teams.