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Sunday, 19 January 2014 12:17

OSM Groupthink Over? Dissension Has Begun

If you haven't taken the time to read the new and revised OSM Bylaws, you should start there before reading any further. Much of the additional discussions you will hear about and read center around these bylaws. Pay particular attention to ARTICLE III - MEMBERS & MEMBERSHIP. The revised Bylaws were apparently approved at the leadership summit held in Boston on Thursday, 21 November 2013. I said apparently approved because OSM has not seen fit to release the minutes of any November or December meeting held in 2013 no matter where the location. This is a perennial problem with minutes unpublished up to three months at a time. Kind of shameful performance actually. Once you have read the bylaws, you will then want to read the proposed election process that would take place at the Annual General Meeting of the Members of OSM. Carefully read the back and forth comments for the highlighted sections. It is interesting to note that Paul Orwig is having difficulty adhering to a democratic election process. It is also interesting to note that if the board of OSM doesn't explicitly vote themselves as members before their Annual Members Meeting, only two people will be electing the new OSM board! You might also remember if you have read other blogs by me, that the OSM board is required both by its own bylaws and by New York Charities Bureau regulation to hold an Annual Meeting. Check back through the minutes. Bet you don't find a single one declared. This could be a first!

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:28

Is OSM Guilty of Groupthink?

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?
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