Leavitt and Janis’ Theories

Subject: Decision Making
Pages: 6
Words: 1674
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: PhD

The utilization of the groups is of the most critical aspects of the functioning of the organization, and the necessity of groups for system thinking was highlighted by a substantial number of the researchers. Leavitt viewed that the small groups have to be constructed due to the natural flow of the organizational behavioral patterns (Brest & Krieger, 2010). Meanwhile, he was pioneering in the understanding that the groups will have a substantial influence on the maintenance of the effectiveness at the high level (Brest & Krieger, 2010). This theory contributed to the development of the approaches associated with the essentiality of the groups while gaining rapid popularity.

Janis could be regarded as another contributor to the understanding of the essentiality of the groups in the decision-making process. In this case, groupthink implies isolation from the externalities and avoidance of the controversial issue related to the rise of the conflict while determining the defeat (Hart, Stern, & Sundelius, 2004). Meanwhile, the researcher highlighted symptoms related to defective decision making such as the underestimation of risks, lack of objective setting, and the inability to discover alternatives (Rose, 2011). It could be said that the development of groupthink can be viewed as a primary source of failure due to the inability to acquire the full image of the situation in the organization.

The goal of the paper is to determine the probability of Leavitt and Janis’s approaches in the context of the workplace-based problem and describe the abilities of various groups in organizational decision-making. Meanwhile, the significance of groupthink and individual roles will contribute to the determination of problem-solving and critical thinking while assessing the possible risks and issues. Furthermore, the potential solutions will be described to define the potential ways of the groupthink elimination and avoidance of the negative consequences. In the end, the conclusions are drawn to summarize the findings and determine their critical application to the workplace-based issue.

Application of Leavitt and Janis’ Theories

Firstly, the theories displayed above can be actively reflected in the context of the workplace-based case due to their potential application in the different scenarios, and this section will help determine the validity of these theories. In this instance, the organization is a complex mechanism with the interdependent components, which have a tendency to affect the overall decision-making and efficiency of the firm (Hass, 2011). Meanwhile, the dysfunction of one of them will lead to the ultimate failure and loss of the market share.

In the context of the workplace-based problem, the inability to provision and evaluate the potential risks related to the economic downturn and expansion led to the inability to discover the issue from dissimilar perspectives while assessing the alternatives simultaneously. In this case, the occurrence of groupthink cannot be unnoticed due to the rise of the risks connected to the relevance of the utilized acquisition in future. Alternatively, the absence of the connection between the components is regarded as core matter, which will have an adverse influence on the company’s imminent productivity and success. In the context of the workplace-based issue, the lack of the trusting relationships was the primary reason for the prioritization of the acquisition as a core method while contributing to the one-sided decision-making without the analysis and projections of the consequences. Based on the information provided above, this practical example revealed the applicability of the theories and underlined their critical impact on the organizational efficiency, as the groupthink cultivates the deterioration of the decisions related to the acquisitions while altering the overall firm’s expansion strategy.

Despite emphasizing the importance of the groups for the overall performance, the groupthink as a psychological phenomenon tends to use the psychological pressure to cultivate deviant behavior while leading to wrongful decision-making and malfunction of the other entities participating in the process (Golkar, 2013). Consequently, it can change the flow of the company’s strategy in the wrongful direction while diminishing the critical principles of the corporate organizational culture. In the context of the workplace-based issue, the core instances of the groupthink are highly related to the functioning of the company while affecting the decision-making adversely. In this case, the opinion of the group was limited by the inability to consider acquisition from different angles, as the current matter lacks relevant risk assessment of the potential jeopardies. Meanwhile, the adverse implications of the groupthink are highly visible in the instances, which require the application of the critical thinking practices, as, in the context of the workplace-based scenario, the inability to consider externalities was a cause of the potential wrongful decisions and outcomes.

Groupthink is often correlated with the ability of the group members to underestimate the essence of the group norms, as the pressure and tensions generated in the groups diminish common sense and value of the corporate culture among the members (Golkar, 2013). The group norms are vital for the efficient functioning of the organization, as they determine the frame of discussion while respecting the rights and freedoms of each participant. In the context of the case, the management tended to underrate and exclude the employees from the decision-making process while not being able to assess the validity of the firm selected for the acquisition and other externalities affecting the situation. The violations were presented in the form of mistreatment and highlighted the absence of the compliance of the current actions with the company’s corporate culture.

Groupthink and Individual Roles

The list of individuals has to be provided to assist in finding the resolution to the workplace-based problem. In this case, it will consist of the representatives of different levels of subordination as this approach will bring clarity to decision-making while avoiding risks and uncertainties. The participation of the representatives of various departments including regular employees and managers will contribute to the formation of the understanding of the current problems in the company. Alternatively, the organization can invite one professional from the outside of the organization as it will assist in assessing the company’s situation from the dissimilar perspective while proposing alternative solutions to the presented issue. Based on the information above, the group will consist out of two managers of financial and marketing departments, two employees, two general managers, and one expert of the industry.

Furthermore, the potential development of the groupthink occurrence has to be evaluated, as it will contribute to the understanding of the possibility of the development of this psychological phenomenon among the selected group members. Despite a high diversity in the group, the tensions and pressure might tend to rise due to the presence of the representatives of the managerial positions and their potential domination in the decision-making process in future. Additionally, the decision-making and problem-solving process might be biased due to the prioritization of the internal company’s opinion over the viewpoint of the external industry expert. Nonetheless, the groupthink can be diminished by the introduction of the skillful leader, who will be able to apply relevant strategies for the appropriate diversification of duties while balancing the involvement of each member in the discussion.

Consecutively, the groupthink is correlated to an extended variety of risks, as it tends to have an adverse influence on the overall decision making while eliminating the individuality and continuous rise of the conflict. Meanwhile, it has a tendency to encourage the communication deficiency and be a reason for the loss of reputation, decline in stocks, and decrease of market share as a similar situation occurred with Mark & Spencer (Eaton, 2001). In the context of the presented case, the groupthink creates a threat of the violation of the corporate norms while leading to the inability to discover the externalities affecting the situation. In turn, it might contribute to the changes related to the flow of the overall strategy of the company and its success in future, as the commonly accepted opinion will be prioritized while avoiding the discovery of the potential alternatives, which comply with the initial company’s direction and vision.

Nonetheless, the resolutions tend to exist, and they are highly related to the risk-avoidance, as the groupthink is vehemently related to the wrongful decision-making. In this case, the actions of the members of the group have to be monitored while encouraging the importance of ethics and checking the correspondence with the defining components of this psychological phenomenon (Riordan & Riordan, 2013). Meanwhile, the leader of the group can ensure the relevance of the decisions by checking the linkage to the evidence while using the ladder of inference to establish communication between with the employees and contribute to the effective problem-solving (Tompkins & Rhodes, 2012). A combination of these aspects will help eliminate the possibility of the development of this psychological phenomenon within the firm while diminishing the possibility of the expansion of the adverse consequences associated with the wrongful decision-making.


In the end, it remains apparent that the discussed above approaches contribute to the understanding of the roles of the groups in the decision-making, as they have a high correlation to the efficiency of the organization while altering its productivity in a positive direction. Meanwhile, groupthink is discovered as a negative phenomenon, which expands the potential factors affecting the relevance of the decision-making and problem-solving in the organization, and its presence has to be eliminated to ensure the efficiency in the organization.

Alternatively, the findings provided above have a tendency to highlight the potential risks, which were related to the functioning of the firm and not depicted previously including the inability to assess the relevance of the acquisition as an expansion instrument and evaluation of the potential economic drawbacks associated with this activity. Simultaneously, the results have a tendency to explain the rationale for the occurrence of the particular decision-making principles, as the pressure of the group cultivated the development of biased opinions while affecting the relationships with the different levels of subordination negatively. Based on the factors displayed above, the findings contribute to the ability to consider the development of the groupthink as a potential threat and highlight an essentiality of its monitoring to ensure the compliance of the group decision-making with the corporate culture.


Brest, P., and Krieger, L. (2010). Problem solving, decision making, and professional judgment. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Eaton, J. (2001). Management communication: The threat of groupthink. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 6(4), 183-192.

Golkar, H. (2013). Groupthink principles and fundamentals in the organizations. Interdisplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 5(8), 225.

Hass, K. (2011). The enterprise business analyst: Developing creative solutions to complex business process. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts Press.

Riordan, D., & Riordan, M. (2013). Guarding against groupthink in the professional work environment: A checklist. Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 7, 1.

Rose, J. (2011). Diverse perspectives on the groupthink theory – A literary review. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 4(1), 37-57.

Tompkins, T., & Rhodes, K. (2012). Groupthink and the ladder of inference: Increasing effective decision making. The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, 8(2), 84-90.