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In principle, a cohesive group one whose members generally [#permalink]
18 Dec 2011, 13:46
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In principle, a cohesive group—one whose members generally agree with one another and support one another’s judgments—can do a much better job at decision making than it could if it were (5) noncohesive. When cohesiveness is low or lacking entirely, compliance out of fear of recrimination is likely to be strongest. To overcome this fear, participants in the group’s deliberations need to be confident that they are members in good standing and (10) that the others will continue to value their role in the group, whether or not they agree about a particular issue under discussion. As members of a group feel more accepted by the others, they acquire greater freedom to say what they really think, becoming less (15) likely to use deceitful arguments or to play it safe by dancing around the issues with vapid or conventional comments. Typically, then, the more cohesive a group becomes, the less its members will deliberately censor what they say out of fear of being punished socially (20) for antagonizing their fellow members.
But group cohesiveness can have pitfalls as well: while the members of a highly cohesive group can feel much freer to deviate from the majority, their desire for genuine concurrence on every important (25) issue often inclines them not to use this freedom. In a highly cohesive group of decision makers, the danger is not that individuals will conceal objections they harbor regarding a proposal favored by the majority, but that they will think the proposal is a good one (30) without attempting to carry out a critical scrutiny that could reveal grounds for strong objections. Members may then decide that any misgivings they feel are not worth pursuing—that the benefit of any doubt should be given to the group consensus. In this way, they (35) may fall victim to a syndrome known as “groupthink,” which one psychologist concerned with collective decision making has defined as “a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures.”
(40) Based on analyses of major fiascoes of international diplomacy and military decision making, researchers have identified groupthink behavior as a recurring pattern that involves several factors: overestimation of the group’s power and morality, (45) manifested, for example, in an illusion of invulnerability, which creates excessive optimism; closed-mindedness to warnings of problems and to alternative viewpoints; and unwarranted pressures toward uniformity, including self-censorship with (50) respect to doubts about the group’s reasoning and a concomitant shared illusion of unanimity concerning group decisions. Cohesiveness of the decision-making group is an essential antecedent condition for this syndrome but not a sufficient one, so it is important (55) to work toward identifying the additional factors that determine whether group cohesiveness will deteriorate into groupthink or allow for effective decision making.
1. Which one of the following, if true, would most support the author’s contentions concerning the conditions under which groupthink takes place? (A) A study of several groups, each made up of members of various professions, found that most fell victim to groupthink. (B) There is strong evidence that respectful dissent is more likely to occur in cohesive groups than in groups in which there is little internal support. (C) Extensive analyses of decisions made by a large number of groups found no cases of groupthink in groups whose members generally distrust one another’s judgments. (D) There is substantial evidence that groupthink is especially likely to take place when members of a group develop factions whose intransigence prolongs the group’s deliberations. (E) Ample research demonstrates that voluntary deference to group opinion is not a necessary factor for the formation of groupthink behavior.
2. In line 5, the author mentions low group cohesiveness primarily in order to (A) contribute to a claim that cohesiveness can be conducive to a freer exchange of views in groups (B) establish a comparison between groupthink symptoms and the attributes of low-cohesion groups (C) suggest that there may be ways to make both cohesive and noncohesive groups more open to dissent (D) indicate that both cohesive and noncohesive groups may be susceptible to groupthink dynamics (E) lay the groundwork for a subsequent proposal for overcoming the debilitating effects of low cohesion
3. Based on the passage, it can be inferred that the author would be most likely to agree with which one of the following? (A) Highly cohesive groups are more likely to engage in confrontational negotiating styles with adversaries than are those with low cohesion. (B) It is difficult for a group to examine all relevant options critically in reaching decisions unless it has a fairly high degree of cohesiveness. (C) A group with varied viewpoints on a given issue is less likely to reach a sound decision regarding that issue than is a group whose members are unified in their outlook. (D) Intense stress and high expectations are the key factors in the formation of groupthink. (E) Noncohesive groups can, under certain circumstances, develop all of the symptoms of groupthink.
Official answers will be provided after discussions.
Re: A good 700+ level RC [#permalink]
19 Dec 2011, 03:37
1. A 2. E 3. C I am hugely skeptical about my answers because I spent a lot of time reading the passage and on the first question. Took 6.5 minutes to answer just 3 questions. Please provide the OA soon...