chapter 11 - groups - performance and decision making

chapter 11 - groups - performance and decision making -...

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11.1 Chapter 11 Working Groups: Performance and Decision-making Thinking like a Social Psychologist (What causes poor group decisions?) ................................... 6 Social Facilitation and Social Inhibition ................................................................................. 7 WHAT IS A SOCIAL GROUP? .................................................................................................. 12 Similarity ............................................................................................................................... 12 Communication, Interdependence and Group Structure ....................................................... 13 Social Identity ........................................................................................................................ 14 The Stages of Group Development ........................................................................................ 14 GROUP PROCESS: THE PLUSSES AND MINUSES OF WORKING TOGETHER ............... 18 Person Variables: Group Member Characteristics ............................................................... 19 The Importance of the Social Situation: Task Characteristics ............................................. 20 PROCESS LOSSES: COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE FACTORS THAT HURT GROUP PERFORMANCE ............................................................................................................. 25 Research Focus, Social Loafing ................................................................................................... 26 Process Losses Due to Group Conformity Pressures: Groupthink ....................................... 29 Cognitive Process Losses: Lack of Information Sharing ..................................................... 31 Research Focus, Poor Information Sharing in Groups ................................................................ 32 Brainstorming: Is It Effective? ............................................................................................. 34 Group Polarization ................................................................................................................. 36 Social Psychology in the Public Interest: Jury Decision- making ............................................... 40 IMPROVING GROUP PERFORMANCE ................................................................................... 44 Motivating Groups to Perform Better by Appealing to Self- Interest .................................... 44
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Cognitive Approaches: Improving Communication and Information Sharing .................... 46 Setting Appropriate Goals ..................................................................................................... 47 Group Member Diversity ....................................................................................................... 48 THINKING LIKE A SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST ABOUT INTERGROUP RELATIONS ...... 50 CHAPTER SUMMARY ............................................................................................................... 51 REFERENCES ...................................................................................................................... ....... 56 Chapter 11 Opener Poor Decision-making in the Leadup to the Iraq War In 2003, President Bush's State of the Union address made specific claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction: "500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent; mobile biological weapons labs"; and "a design for a nuclear weapon." In 2004, Bush called for an investigation of intelligence failures about such weapons preceding the invasion of Iraq. Many Americans are surprised at the vast failure of intelligence that led the United States into war. In fact, Bush's decision to go to war based on erroneous facts is part of a long tradition of decision-making at the White House. Psychologist Irving Janis popularized the term groupthink in the 1970s to describe the dynamic that afflicted the Kennedy administration when the president and a close-knit band of advisers authorized the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba in 1961. The president's view was that the Cuban people would greet the American-backed invaders as liberators who would replace Castro's dictatorship with democracy. The reasons for the consensus are easy to understand. Kennedy and his advisers largely relied on testimony from Cuban exiles coupled with a selective reading of available intelligence. As is
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natural, the president and his advisers searched for information to support their point of view. Those supporting the group's views were invited into the discussion. In contrast, dissenters were seen as not team players and had difficulty in getting a hearing. Some dissenters feared to speak loudly, wanting to maintain political influence. As the top team became more selective in gathering information, the bias of information that reached the president became ever more pronounced. In fact, no Cubans greeted the American-backed force as liberators and Cuba rapidly defeated the invaders.
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