Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
Groupthink Best paper proceedings.pdf (113.65 kB)

Whyte-Out: How the Creator of Groupthink Became Unseen by Management's History

Download (113.65 kB)
conference contribution
posted on 2020-07-30, 00:49 authored by Oliver Pol, Todd BridgmanTodd Bridgman, Stephen Cummings
Irving Janis’ (1971) concept of ‘groupthink’, the idea that the desire for consensus overrides the realistic appraisals of alternatives and leads to poor decision making, is a staple of management and organizational behavior textbooks. Despite gaining little support in empirical studies, Janis’ eight symptoms of groupthink remains a popular framework taught to budding managers. What has been forgotten, however, is that nearly 20 years before Janis’ supposed invention, groupthink was created by William H Whyte, author of one of the 1950s’ most influential and popular books on management. We investigate how Whyte’s link to groupthink became invisible to management’s history, why this matters, and how recovering Whyte’s ideas can provide fresh, critical insights into people dynamics in contemporary organizations."


Preferred citation

Pol, O., Bridgman, T. & Cummings, S. (n.d.). Whyte-Out: How the Creator of Groupthink Became Unseen by Management's History.

Contribution type

Published Paper

Publication status

Published online

Usage metrics

    Conference papers


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager