GROUPTHINK… and its symptoms

Groupthink is a psychological term used to describe the mode of thinking that people develop when seeking group concurrence.  Groupthink becomes so dominant in a cohesive ingroup that it overrides realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.  Groupthink refers to a deterioration in mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgments as a result of  group pressures.

The symptoms of groupthink arise when the members of decision-making groups become motivated to avoid being harsh in their judgments of their leaders’ ideas or their colleagues’ ideas.  People exhibiting such symptoms adopt a soft line of criticism and avoid conflict. They even re-arrange their own thinking to avoid conflict.  At meetings, members are amiable and seek complete concurrence, which is likely to be recognized — erroneously — as consensus on every important issue.

Groupthink conformity increases as group cohesiveness increases.  Groupthink involves nondeliberate suppression of critical thoughts as a result of internalization of the group’s norms.  The more cohesive the group, the greater the inner compulsion on each individual to avoid creating disunity, which inclines him/her to believe in the soundness of whatever proposals are promoted by the leader or by a majority of the group’s members.  However, not all cohesive groups necessarily suffer from Groupthink.  All in-groups may have a mild tendency toward Groupthink, displaying from time to time one or another of eight interrelated symptoms.  Groupthink need not be so dominant as to influence the quality of the group’s final decision.  The eight Groupthink symptoms are:

Pressure:  Victims of groupthink also apply direct pressure to any individual who expresses doubts about any of the group’s shared illusions, or who questions the validity of the arguments supporting a policy alternative favored by the majority.

Self-censorship:  Victims of Groupthink avoid deviating from what, to them, appears to be group consensus.  They keep silent about their misgivings and even minimize to themselves the importance of their doubts.

Unanimity:  Victims of Groupthink share an illusion of unanimity within the group concerning almost all judgments expressed by leaders and members who speak in favor of the majority view.  When a group of persons who respect each other’s opinions arrives at a unanimous view, each member is likely to feel that the belief must be true.   This reliance on consensual validation within the group tends to replace individual critical thinking and reality testing.

Invulnerability:  Most or all of the members of the ingroup share an illusion of invulnerability that provides for them some degree of reassurance about obvious dangers and leads them to become over-optimistic and willing to take extraordinary risks.

Rationale:  No only do victims of groupthink ignore warnings, but they collectively construct rationalizations in order to discount warnings and other forms of negative feedback that, taken seriously, might lead the group to reconsider their assumptions each time they recommit themselves to past decisions.

Morality:  Victims of groupthink believe unquestioningly in the inherent morality of their ingroup.  To the extreme end, this belief could incline the members to ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

Stereotypes:  Victims of Groupthink hold stereotyped views of the leaders of  “enemy groups,” that “They are so evil that genuine attempts at negotiating differences with them are unwarranted,” or that “They are too weak to too stupid to deal effectively with what ever we do to defeat their purposes.”  Organizations where competing groups co-exist should be cautious about this symptom because the damage of inter-group attacks and mis-communications can counteract the totality of productivity of all groups.

Mindguards:  Lastly, victims of groupthink sometimes appoint themselves as mindguards to protect the leader and fellow members from adverse information that might break the complacency they share about the effectiveness and morality of past decisions.

Adapted from:
Irving Janis,  (1972). Victims Of Groupthink: a psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes.
1972,  Boston: Houghton, Mifflin.  ISBN 978-0395140024.


Stone Soup Tuesdays

Dear All,

Cabin fever is setting in and I’m ready to see some friendly faces again, so this note is to invite you to a couple of “Stone Soup Suppers” I’ve organized.

Remember the story of stone soup?

You start with a pot of water and a stone and everyone brings one thing to add until, at last, you have a delicious soup that feeds everyone. Well, that’s the inspiration for Stone Soup Suppers—only the soup will be hot and ready for you when you walk in the door!

Bring something to share if you like—or just show up for sustenance, warmth, and companionship. All are welcome!
Tuesdays, April 14 & 28, drop in anytime between 6 and 8
Allenspark Community Center (if you haven’t been there, it’s a nice, cozy place to get together)

See you soon,


RSVPs appreciated, but not necessary: Edie DeWeese, 747-2927

Community Members! Come to the Board Meeting…

ACCC Board Meeting
Friday, April 3, 2009
7:00 pm

In the cabin behind the Community Center Building…

Come witness, perhaps even volunteer to be on YOUR ACCC Board!


7:00-7:15 Minutes of March Meeting, Glenn

7:15-7:30 Treasurer’s Report, Janet

7:30-7:40 IRS update, Robert

7:40-8:10 Nominating Committee report
and recommendations, Wilma and Barb Baring

8:10-8:25 Rental/Meeting Space document, Robert

8:25-8:30 County update, Margie

8:30-8:40 Fundraising, Glenn

8:40-8:50 Scheduling, Margie

8:50-9:00 Arts, Ben


Activities…and Yes, We Still Need A Name!

Activities at the Community Center/Gallery*
(*yes, we still need a name!)

From Yoga, Knitting, Art classes, the Food Coop, a Raw Foods class and the popular potluck dinners, things are happening at the center!  Go to the Upcoming Events page for details on these activities.

Potluck – February 14

Potluck – February 14

Sat., Feb. 14 at  6:00 pm at the Center.  Contact Betsy Skinner 747-1013 or Margie Patterson 747-2089.

Community Cultures Council Gets Grants – Needs Your Support!

Allenspark Community Cultures Council Receives Grants  – Now Needs Your Support!

We’ve topped the $100,000 mark!

Most of the these funds went toward the down payment on the property with additional funds for not-very-exciting but necessary things such as insurance, an energy audit, the Boulder County Special Use Review, a new furnace, and to begin an operating fund.  We have received two small grants:  $1,000 from the Boulder County Arts Alliance for an arts workshop early this summer, and $400 from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO).  The CTO grant requires $400 in matching funds.  We are also in the process of applying for grants from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and from the Scenic Byways program.  We are encouraged by the response we have received from these agencies and are cautiously optimistic. (These grants also include matching funds.)   Stay tuned!

Two family trusts recently made generous contributions to ACCC:  The Harry L. Green, Jr. Charitable Foundation (thanks to Ann Green and her sister), and the Thomas P. Waters Foundation (thanks to the Waters and Guarascio Family).  We appreciate their generosity.

In order to continue to operate the building and to make the necessary renovations  we still need your support.  Please make as generous a contribution as you can.  Your tax deductible donations can be sent to ACCC, P.O. Box 431, Allenspark, CO.

Organic Food Co-Op!

Try out Allenspark’s new Organic Food Co-op!

Order from either or both of our suppliers…
Pick up your food in Allenspark at the gallery
(14863 Highway 7)

Local Roots Co-Op:
Order any items from their extensive catalog.

Door-to-Door Organics:
Order fresh produce (local in season), meat, fish, and/or coffee.

Weekly deliveries begin Monday, November 17,
for orders placed by Thursday, November 13.

Order online or by phone.

See the November Wind article (text is below) for details.

Or call Mary Hunter (747-2602)

Or call Margie Patterson (747-2089)

Or come to a meeting…
Wed, November 12,
7:00 at the gallery.

Find out how you can get a discount by volunteering once a month!

Buy locally!

Save time, gas, and money!

Get to know your neighbors!

Support the community center!


A Great Organic Food Co-op is Getting Underway
in Allenspark…

The first delivery date is November 17, 2008.

Would you like to order fresh organic produce and groceries and have them delivered to a central location in Allenspark with no mark-up?  Then the food co-op at the new community center may be for you!

Through arrangements with the new Local Roots Co-op in Estes Park and Door-to-Door Organics of Louisville, weekly group orders from both sources will be delivered to the community center on Mondays.

Volunteers (who will receive a discount) will sort and package the orders for pickup.  Both food suppliers will contribute funds to the new community center.

How to order
You can choose to order from either or both suppliers.  All food will be available for pick-up at the gallery (14863 Hwy 7) in Allenspark on Mondays from 4:00-6:00.

If you have internet access, place your order by visiting one or both of the web sites below.  If you do not have internet access, call Mary Hunter at 303-747-2602 to place your order.

Order deadline:
Thursdays by
(First order deadline:  Thursday, November 13)

Mondays from
(First pick-up:  Monday, November 17)

Local Roots
You can select any item you want from an extensive on-line (or print) catalogue.  If you order items carried in the store (produce, dairy, and packaged items; eventually bread and other items), you may order any quantities you wish.  If you order items not stocked in their store, we will try to assemble case lots from the group order.  You do not have to place an order every week.

To order go to: and log in using the following group user info:



Identify yourself with your name or email address.

Then just follow the directions on the screen.

Door-to-Door Organics
Deliveries each week.  You might want to pair up with someone to split a weekly order (or order on alternate weeks).   They offer a menu of box sizes and products with different quantities and selections of fruits, vegetables, or both, with options to add on fish, coffee, and other items.


Tell them you are part of the Allenspark Food Coop.

Door-to-Door will deliver to the gallery and Lee Skinner will be picking up our group order from Local Roots in Estes Park.

Hungry for more information?

Attend the Food-Coop Meeting
Wed., November 12,
7:00 at the gallery (14863 Highway 7).

Learn more about what’s available, place your order, and find out about volunteering once a month. Volunteers receive a discount.

Save gas-save time-save money.

Buy organic-get to know your neighbors-order today!