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Leaks, Drips, and Spills

17 Nov 2011
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... it might as well be!

Yesterday, Paul Orwig posted to the Google Joomla Leadership Group that the OSM board had suggested that he extend his solicitation to the leadership seeking their opinion on whether they go forward with the proposed structural changes to the Joomla! Project. The original post was made October 30 and there had only been one reply and that was from Brad Baker who didn't necessarily see the proposed changes as a solution to the issues raised but said "Still, I am happy to support the majority". Which is, of course, one of the problems I see with the Joomla Leadership as a whole. (See Groupthink blog.)

Unfortunately, Paul Orwig is not only a member of OSM, he is also its Treasurer - one of the now four officer positions of the board. He is also a member of the Community Leadership Team (CLT). That definitely puts him up there as one of the leaders within Joomla.

16 Nov 2011
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What the heck is Groupthink?

Coined by now-deceased psychologist and researcher Irving Janis, Ph.D., “groupthink,” was first written in a 1972 examination of foreign policy disasters and fiascos. He studied high-level policy-making groups that had a high-degree of cohesiveness and need for affiliation (think “inner-circle”) as opposed to groups (such as the U.S. Congress) that consist of opposing factions.

Symptoms of groupthink can include:

  • Direct pressures on dissenters -
    • members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views
    • Does voicing a contrarian opinion isolate someone as a non-team player? Do healthy debates divide or foster better relationships? Are individuals able to respectfully disagree or must consensus rule the day?
  • Collective rationalization -
    • members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions
    • Are discussions frequently held which debate the assumptions underlying conclusions? When is the last time a risk assessment of unlikely outcomes was discussed? When was the last "what if" meeting you participated in held?
  • Self-censorship -
    • doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed
    • When was the last non-unanimous vote on your Board? Have you withheld a question in discussion which might be viewed as opposing the CEO's/Chair's expressed view?
  • Illusion of unanimity-
    • the majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous
    • Does your internal process require documented votes by individuals? In the past year how many votes either opposed or abstained due to disagreement with majority?