Janis Irving’s Theory: Negativities of Groupthink

Janis Irving’s theory states that members of a small consensus group tend to a viewpoint given by a person perceived to be intelligent. Groupthink minimizes the effectiveness of collaborative problem solving within such groups (Al Kharusi & Al-Abed, 2021). Government officials, together with health officers, were supposed to come together and help curb the pandemic. However, the UK response to this virus was alleged of Groupthink. The cabinet members did not respond to what Dominic Cumming, a fellow cabinet member, was doing, even though most people disagreed with his activities. He claimed that the government was handling the virus with secrecy, which was not good.

Fighting the disease in privacy was increasing the impact of COVID-19 instead of curbing it. Mr. Cumming explained that he and the UK government’s principal scientific consultant, Sir Patrick Vallance, had supported the formation of the Sage agency. This is an institution comprised of experts who would direct ministers on how to manage tragedies before allowing the extensive examination of the situation by the medical specialists (Oláhová et al., 2019). He said that the wait in releasing the notes until late May last year was because of Whitehall’s “cultural antipathy to transparency (Bernstein, 2020).” Mr. Cumming also believes that “human challenge” studies, in which people are purposefully affected by the disease, should have started as soon as the virus was discovered in the UK (Mahase, 2020). Mr. Cumming resigned from his government post and has been critical of the government since then.

Another example indicating Groupthink was the opening up of the black box about collective decision-making on lunar energy. That happened in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2018 throughout the case of a strata building. During the meeting, the association of owners failed to make a decision, there was a discussion that took place, but there was no official voting. That means that even though there were no voting officials decided in secrecy because it was included in the annual meeting plans. It is assumed that the inventors either agreed not to submit the final judgment or failed to formulate a proposal. Finally, it indicated Groupthink because most people did not vote for solar energy, but they went ahead to install it on people’s rooftops.

The final example showing Groupthink was the Washington Nationals’ winning in 2019 over the favorite Astros players. Astros are known for stealing signs during games as a technique of fighting their opponent. Catchers indicate to pitchers whatever type of pitch to play by crouching behind the plate and pressing a specific number of fingers on their hand without gloves between their knees. It is usually not relatively as easy as one thumb for a fastball and two for a curve, but it’s not much more complex.

Before making a decision, Janis thought of the following process; Groupthink would be minimal. First, examining the alternatives to the same conclusion and encouraging people to challenge ideas openly was also a remedy. Second, before settling for the picture, it is also essential to study the risks involved and test the assumptions. Finally, gathering information from exterior sources and objectively processing it will help avoid Groupthink. The main objective of inventing solar energy was to get a supplement for electrical power. The owners would not have forcefully put the solar panels if they had reasoned with the people and tried to convince them that the main reason for having solar energy is by using the final remedy.


Al Kharusi, A., & Al-Abed, A. (2021). The Effectiveness of a Program Based on Problem-Solving in Mathematical Problem Solving among Grade Ten Students. Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS Journal), (23). Web.

Caligor, E., & Levy, K. N. (2015). Narcissistic personality disorder: Diagnostic and clinical challenges. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 415–422. Web.

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