The Gravitational Pull towards Groupthink

More evidence that groupthink is one of the biggest enemies of organisations.

Ingratiation and Favoritism: Experimental Evidence
Date: 2012-05-03
By: Stéphane Robin  and Agnieszka Rusinowska, Marie-Claire Villeval

We provide experimental evidence of workers’ ingratiation by opinion conformity and of managers’ discrimination in favor of workers with whom they share similar opinions. In our Baseline, managers can observe both workers’ performance at a task and opinions before assigning unequal payoffs. In the Ingratiation treatment, workers can change their opinion after learning that held by the manager. In the Random treatment, workers can also change opinion but payoffs are assigned randomly, which gives a measure of non-strategic opinion conformism. We find evidence of high ingratiation indices, as overall, ingratiation is effective. Indeed, managers reward opinion conformity, and even more so when opinions cannot be manipulated. Additional treatments reveal that ingratiation is cost sensitive and that the introduction of performance pay for managers as well as a less noisy measure of performance increase the role of relative performance in the assignment of payoffs, without eliminating the reward of opinion conformity.

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1 Response to The Gravitational Pull towards Groupthink

  1. john walker says:

    “not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs…the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline” John Monash

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