I recently came across this description of Groupthink by William H. Whyte, Jr, who coined the term in March 1952, in Fortune magazine. It has particular relevance to party political decision making.
‘Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimise conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.
‘Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the ‘ingroup’ produces an ‘illusion of invulnerability’ (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the ‘ingroup’ significantly overrates their own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of their opponents (the ‘outgroup’)’.
If, two weeks ago, the leader of Horsham District Council felt that Roger Arthur was the best man for the job of cabinet member for finance, then why not now?
Mr Dawe could easily change the constitution to enable a cabinet to be formed on the basis of ability rather than party political allegiance. Does he want his cabinet to be formed on the basis of merit or rosette?
Or does Groupthink dictate that a member of the ‘ingroup’ is now preferable to a member of the ‘outgroup’, even if he is obviously the best person for the job?
And by the way, Horsham MP Francis Maude’s ‘legacy’ to the Conservative Party is now clear for all to see.
(Independent) Barons Close, Westergate, Chichester