From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Fri 02 May 2003 - 14:02:34 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Groupthink"

    Thanks for the useful citations on group think, Scott.

    I assume you meant the U-2 shot down over Russia, rather than Cuba?

    Cheers, Lawry

    > If one wants to talk about social dynamics, politics and policy decisions
    > they might want to consult Irving Janis. After reading his example of a
    > NON-"groupthink" counterpoint of the Cuban missile crisis I rewatched
    > Thirteen Days (starring Kevin Costner et al) and realized how
    > close I (and
    > the rest of you) may have been to never being born. My parents could have
    > easily joined the millions of other crispy critters that would
    > have resulted
    > if cooler heads hadn't prevailed, especially after the U-2 being
    > shot down
    > over Cuba. 9-11 would have been eclipsed, if it could have even happened,
    > given New York City might have met several Soviet nukes.
    > Yet that was a non-"groupthink" counterpoint, an example where groupthink
    > was supposedly not prevalent. Janis offers several putative examples of
    > actual groupthink in his book _Groupthink_ (1983. Houghton
    > Mifflin Compny.
    > Boston) such as Bay of Pigs, Pearl Harbor and the Vietnam escalation ("We
    > Were Soldiers" anyone?).
    > Kirsten Schulze (Fall 1998. Israeli crisis decision-making in the Lebanon
    > war: group madness or individual ambition?. Israel Studies
    > (v3:i2), p. 215)
    > considers the phenomenon of groupthink, as opposed to Arik's personal
    > ambition, being important in Israel's invasion and subsequent war in
    > Lebanon. John Schwartz and Matthew Wald discuss the Challenger and recent
    > Columbia space shuttle disasters in their New York Times article
    > (March 9,
    > 2003) on groupthink (called "'Groupthink' is 30 years old, and
    > still going
    > strong; NASA's curse?").
    > Janis' groupthink notion sounds more like a workable sort of
    > "psychohistory"
    > to me than either the psychoanalytical or scifi versions I've read about.
    > Janis applies social psychology to historical events. I wonder
    > what memetics
    > could add to what Janis puts forward with groupthink?...

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