groupthink

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Coined by William H. Whyte in 1952, from group +‎ think, modelled on earlier doublethink from Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

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Noun[edit]

groupthink (uncountable)

  1. A process of reasoning or decision-making by a group, especially one characterized by uncritical acceptance of or conformity to a perceived majority view.
    • 1973 May 28, Irving L. Janis, “Groupthink in Washington”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      At present we do not know what percentage of all national fiascoes are attributable to groupthink. Some decisions of poor quality that turn out to be fiascoes might be ascribed primarily to mistakes made by just one man, the Chief Executive. Others arise because of a faulty policy formulated by a group of executives whose decision‐making procedures were impaired by errors having little or nothing to do with groupthink.
    • 2005 July 12, Jacob Weisberg, “The Anonymity Trap”, in Slate Magazine[2]:
      This gang-bang speaks more to journalistic groupthink than to any real moral or legal reasoning.
    • 2012, Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, Penguin, published 2013, page 395:
      A militant group-think seized hold of the ministry.

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