Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David Patrick Houghton
The rather Orwellian-sounding word groupthink is one of those pieces of social-scientific terminology that has entered popular usage, where it is now used rather loosely and colloquially to refer to defective or dysfunctional group decision making in general; the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in 2004, for instance, that there was evidence of groupthink in the mistaken assessment that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq prior to the 2003 American invasion. The chairs of that committee were using the term to refer to a kind of generalized or collective misperception. In the study of public policy, foreign policy analysis, psychology, and management, however, groupthink has a rather more precise usage. It was originated by the late social psychologist Irving Janis in his book Victims of Groupthink , first published in 1972 and later reissued in a revised form 10 years later as simply Groupthink . Although Janis ...