Front Page Titles (by Subject) Political Groupthink and Reality - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Political “Groupthink” and Reality - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Political “Groupthink” and Reality
“Identifying Victims of Groupthink from Public Statements of Decision Makers.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: 37(1979):1314–1324.
Irving Janis has hypothesized that decision makers are influenced by social pressures toward uniformity in a group and by a felt need for loyalty to the group. The results may be the suppression of potentially unpopular opinions within the groups and a consequent loss of cognitive efficiency and moral judgment. “Groupthink” is said to exist when these pressures outweigh an independent critical analysis of the problems at hand.
In previous research it was found that groupthink policy-makers generally did not“(a) adequately survey the full range of policy alternatives; (b) consider the full spectrum of objectives that might be affected by the chosen policy; (c) obtain adequate information for evaluating the alternative policies; (d) weigh the costs and benefits of each alternative carefully; (e) take proper account of information that contradicted prior beliefs and preferences; (f) reexamine evaluations of all known alternatives, including those previously regarded as unacceptable; (g) develop sufficiently detailed plans for implementing the chosen policy, with special reference to contingency plans in the event known risks materialized.”
The author conducted an evaluation of Janis's groupthink hypothesis using a standardized content analysis procedure on statements of key decision-makers. Archival records were analyzed for five American foreign policy crises, three reflecting groupthinking (the invasion of North Korea, the Bay of Pigs, and the Vietnam war escalations) and two reflecting non-groupthink processes (the Marshall Plan and the Cuban missile crisis). The research focused on: (a) the tendency to process policy-relevant information in simplistic and biased ways, and (b) the tendency to evaluate one's own group very positively and to evaluate one's opponents very negatively.
The results indicated that decision makers in groupthink crises showed less complex reasoning in their statements than decision makers in non-groupthink crises. Further, in the groupthink crises, political groups with which the decision makers identified were more positively evaluated than was the case in the nongroupthink crises. The expected effect for differences in the evaluation of opponent groups was not obtained. Overall, the results provided strong support for Janis's groupthink hypothesis. It is suggested that content analysis can be used to monitor the quality of the decision making of governmental leaders.