Assignment (Student Choice)
Select one of the following assignments to complete.
Option 1: Group Tyranny Essay
Review Ch. 7, “Group Tyranny and the Gunsmoke Phenomenon,” of The Abilene Paradox
Write a 700 (minimum for minimum grade) – to 1,050-word essay that responds to the ideas and arguments that Harvey advances in Ch. 7 of The Abilene Paradox. Your essay must answer the following questions:
- Harvey sites from history the Bay of Pigs incident, where key policymakers in the Kennedy administration were allegedly pressured by group members to take a course of action that was contrary to their beliefs. Harvey then asks, “Why do we consistently blame such actions on conformity pressures, when the behavior is probably attributable to our fear of separation?” (p. 110). What is Harvey implying with this question?
- Harvey observes that bad group decisions, which are actually contrary to what individuals truly want, are often blamed on a phenomenon known as group tyranny—that is, the pressure to conform when faced with ridicule, ostracism, or threats from the group. However, he argues that group tyranny is often not the true culprit. Rather, he asserts that the real cause is the fear of separation and lack of courage. Do you agree with this argument? Why or why not?
- Is there such a thing as mob rule (conformity pressure)? Do you agree with Harvey that there is no such thing?
- Identify a personal experience or an example from history where decisions or actions were blamed on conformity pressure and group tyranny. If you chose a historical example, you may want to investigate the Bay of Pigs incident under the Kennedy administration or the Challenger disaster in 1986.
Does your selected example really illustrate conformity pressure and group tyranny, or is it an instance of Harvey’s gunsmoke phenomenon? Defend your response using the text.
Adhere to APA style guidelines, including using third person language.
Submit your essay to your instructor.