On the road to Abilene, Calvetti and other (poor) group decisions

And thinking of psychometric testing, I was reminded of a course I attended run by Laree Kiely. The course was on “Influencing” and it looks something like this Leading through Influence document.

It was also where I did the DiSC test.

It was a fascinating course and including two examples of bad group descision making, somewhat akin to GroupThink. Till now I’ve not found many good references to the cases but I recently found:

  • The Abilene paradox

    Where a group get so caught up in the grand plan that they fail to recognise its failings.

  • The Calvetti Exercise (page 4 of the PDF)

    Where individuals in a group make their minds up too early and it becomes impossible for them to change their position.

Fascinating stuff, and reminds me of a chapter in James Surowiecki’s Wisdom of Crowds where he discusses NASA’s failure to prevent the Columbia shuttle disaster.

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