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Group Structure, Group Decisions, and Groupthink: Small Group Decision Making as a Social Network

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Abstract:

Scholars of foreign policy decision making have advanced numerous accounts of the role of groups in foreign policy. One of the most cited works on decision making is Janis' description of groupthink as a decision making process sometimes manifested in small groups that leads to flawed decisions. One of the antecedents of groupthink is group structure. We examine both formal group structure, and more importantly, the interpersonal decision making network structure that emerges in selected crucial meetings. We therefore model these key decisions as social or political networks. We test Janis’ two popular cases, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, by manually coding the group interactions using the declassified meeting transcripts. We develop coding procedures which will ascertain the conversational relationships of nodes (actors) in the social network of the meeting conversation. We believe that substantially different social structures will be manifest in the interactions contained in these different meeting transcripts. This procedure will advance a better representation of group structure which should in turn further inform us on the relationship between group dynamics and the quality of policy decisions. This paper provides an original contribution by visualizing and analyzing the network structure of decision making groups.
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Association:
Name: International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition"
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http://www.isanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p500882_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Duval, Robert. and Spahiu, Arian. "Group Structure, Group Decisions, and Groupthink: Small Group Decision Making as a Social Network" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition", Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, Mar 16, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p500882_index.html>

APA Citation:

Duval, R. D. and Spahiu, A. , 2011-03-16 "Group Structure, Group Decisions, and Groupthink: Small Group Decision Making as a Social Network" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association Annual Conference "Global Governance: Political Authority in Transition", Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p500882_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Scholars of foreign policy decision making have advanced numerous accounts of the role of groups in foreign policy. One of the most cited works on decision making is Janis' description of groupthink as a decision making process sometimes manifested in small groups that leads to flawed decisions. One of the antecedents of groupthink is group structure. We examine both formal group structure, and more importantly, the interpersonal decision making network structure that emerges in selected crucial meetings. We therefore model these key decisions as social or political networks. We test Janis’ two popular cases, the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis, by manually coding the group interactions using the declassified meeting transcripts. We develop coding procedures which will ascertain the conversational relationships of nodes (actors) in the social network of the meeting conversation. We believe that substantially different social structures will be manifest in the interactions contained in these different meeting transcripts. This procedure will advance a better representation of group structure which should in turn further inform us on the relationship between group dynamics and the quality of policy decisions. This paper provides an original contribution by visualizing and analyzing the network structure of decision making groups.


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