Bays of Pigs Invasion is a 1961 historical event about America’s invasion in Cuba that resulted in great failure. This event is used to as a perfect example of Irvin Janis’ Groupthink theory (Schmidt, 2016). According to Janis, Groupthink is a form of collective thinking where the members of a group agree on something without evaluating various alternatives. Janis contends that Groupthink acts as a barrier to efficient decision making within a group. In addition, the theorist asserts in a group that is driven by Groupthink, various characteristics are identical to the members of such groups such as the belief that they are morally upright, stereotypes that opponents are inferior, presence of a key decision-maker who acts as a barrier to alternatives and inadequate attention negative consequences.
The effect of Groupthink on Bays of Pigs invasion is that it led to the failure of the American invasion in Cuba. It is documented that the plan to invade Cuba was conceptualized by President Eisenhower and when the administration of President Kennedy assumed leadership, it adopted the plan and decided to execute it without questioning it (History.com Editors, 2018). President as the chief decision-maker rejected opposing opinions from the likes of Senator Willian Fulbright who later came to support the plan. Moreover, Kennedy’s team saw the then president of Cuba, Fidel Castro, as unable to lead to successful military operation due to perceived weak air force and his inability to cease public unrests in his country. However, Fidel Castro was able to fight them at the Bays of Pig in Cuba (History.com Editors, 2018). The American invaders would later surrender and many were imprisoned in Cuba by Castro’s administration.
While Groupthink has led to many failures, it is not always negative. It might depend on the chief decision-maker. If the key decision-maker is competent enough and conversant with the matter at hand, then the results are more likely to be positive. Also, Groupthink encourages harmony, cooperation, and removes the possibility of external influence meaning that it can post positive results in various places if used effectively. Be-that-as-it-may, there are more failures than successes in groups that rely on Groupthink.
Groupthink can be avoided through two major approaches. One is allowing the members of a group to air their opinions whether opposing or proposing and holding a consensus to decide on the best opinion (Schmidt, 2016). The second approach is avoiding to underrate the opponents by carrying out an in-depth analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent to come up with an effective strategy that can guarantee success.
History.com Editors. (2018, September 20). Bay of Pigs Invasion. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/bay-of-pigs-invasion
Schmidt, A. (2016). Groupthink | psychology. In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/groupthink