Re: Bad Attitude

Hagbard Celine (
Thu, 04 Sep 1997 11:06:42 -0400 wrote:
> In a message dated 97-09-03 13:59:55 EDT, you write:
> << The idea is that if
> you have multiple people deliberate, argue and debate about the right
> thing to do, you are more likely to get a reasonable answer. >>
> One of those good ideas that never seems to work in reality. What is it they
> say about a committe? A creature with many mouths and no brains?
> It seems that a group is constrained by it's lowest common denominator. I
> read of a study years ago that indicated that the overall intelligence of a
> group decreased as the group size increased.

In a Political Science class in college, I read an interesting book
called "Groupthink." It was a study of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the
reasons for why JFK's administration pushed us so close to nuclear war.
>From what I remember, groupthink is a colorful term for an overemphasis
on consensus. In a bureacracy where nothing is unilaterally decided,
nobody is 100% responsible, and everyone sinks with the ship, nothing
will get done unless it is agreed upon by all. The real-world effects of
this have consequences for public policy. That is, where a committee
begins its deliberations on a matter with the understood assumption that
they all *must* eventually agree, they always will. This means that
other options are not fully explored, or "loose cannons" are brought
back in line not by argument but by outside political pressure, etc.
Unfortunately, I don't remember even the barest sketch of how it applied
to the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Boat Drinks,