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11 Examples of Groupthink

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Groupthink is when nations, societies, cultures, political parties, organizations, teams and other groups produce irrational strategies, decisions, rules, plans, actions and designs out of a desire to reduce social conflict with the group and create a sense of connectedness and belonging amongst members.

Unquestioned Belief

Groupthink begins in unquestioned belief whereby the group adopts ideas that it considers beyond challenge. Anyone who does challenge such ideas is quickly admonished.


The group seeks to shelter itself from ideas that threaten the group's status quo. For example, members of the group may use filter bubbles to avoid dissenting ideas.


Members of the group seek to conform to norms established by the group.


Self-appointed members of the group begin to police thought to root out ideas or behavior that conflicts with the group's norms.


Members of the group carefully control their speech to avoid being accused of disagreeing with the group.

Social Pressure

Any non-conformity to group norms is met with social pressure.


The opposition is stereotyped with labels. The slightest disagreement with the group can cause an individual to be labeled. Such labels may have extremely negative connotations within the group.

Illusions of Unanimity

Members of the group begin to overestimate group unity as all opposition within the group is silenced.

Illusions of Power

The perceived unity and righteousness of the group leads its members to overestimate the group's power. The group has isolated itself from the opposition and tends to underestimate their strength. The group may begin to take excessive risks.

Design by Committee

The group begins to lack creative capabilities as members fear criticism and are unlikely to champion brave ideas.

Abilene Paradox

Decisions, plans and work products of the group may reflect social compromises as opposed to logic. Each individual member of the group may view work products as poor quality or irrational but may have little power or motivation to speak up.


The following are common examples of groupthink:


Groupthink is an environment where social pressure to conform influences thinking and behavior.
Overview: Groupthink
Groups that produce irrational strategies, decisions, rules, plans, actions and designs out of a desire to reduce social conflict within the group and create a sense of connectedness and belonging amongst members.
Related Concepts
Next: Abilene Paradox
More about biases:
Ambiguity Effect
Backfire Effect
Base Rate
Circular Reasoning
Cognitive Bias
Cognitive Dissonance
Complexity Bias
Crab Mentality
Creeping Normality
Curse Of Knowledge
Decoy Effect
Exposure Effect
False Analogy
False Hope
Fear Of Youth
Gambler's Fallacy
Golden Hammer
Halo Effect
Hindsight Bias
Negativity Bias
Optimism Bias
Peak-End Rule
Positive Bias
Sour Grapes
Survivorship Bias
Us vs Them
Victim Mentality
Wishful Thinking
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Janis, Irving Lester. Groupthink: Psychological studies of policy decisions and fiascoes. Vol. 349. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982.

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