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GroupThink

Updated: Aug 28

Groupthink, one type of unhealthy team agreement, as a phenomena in which team members avoid promoting ideas which differ from the comfort zone of consensus thinking, of the group. Potential negative outcomes of Groupthink are diminished team performance and decreased individual creativity.


Dyer (2013) suggests incorporating the objective perspective of an outside consultant, to help teams overcome unhealthy agreements. Dyer suggests the following questions, as a guide to understanding the underlying components of unhealthy agreements:


  • What problem does this team have that you have a hard time accepting, facing, or discussing?

  • What decisions have been made, or actions taken recently, that you have not really agreed with?

  • What actions or decisions do you feel would produce the best results for the team, over the long term?

  • What will happen if you don’t discuss your concerns, feelings and suggestions with all members who are involved with the problem? What will happen if you do?


Neck (1994) postulates that team leaders must develop a mindset of teamthink, within their teams. Teamthink is defined as a, “collective thinking of a group, which serves as a catalyst for positive outcomes”. Teamthink is evident in teams who are able to practice the following:

  • Encouragement of divergent views

  • Open expression of concerns and ideas

  • Awareness of limitations and threats

  • Recognition of member’s uniqueness

  • Discussion of collective doubts


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References

Dyer, W. (2013). Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance, 5th edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc., San Francisco, California


Neck, C. (1994). From groupthink to teamthink: Toward the creation of constructive thought patterns in self-managing work teams. Human Relations (97)8, 929

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