CHAPTER FOURTEEN

GROUP DECISION MAKING IN CONFLICT

From Groupthink to Polythink in the War in Iraq

Alex Mintz

Carly Wayne

Political leaders around the globe routinely make critical decisions concerning war and peace. As citizens, we hope and believe that these leaders are engaging in thorough, careful, systematic and thoughtful decision-making processes, rationally weighing the costs and benefits of each potential action. However, as Irving Janis demonstrated in his famed book, Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes (1982), group decision-making dynamics and processes at the highest level of government are prone to suboptimal, defective decision making. Whether the extreme cohesiveness of Janis’s ...

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