Beyond groupthink: political group dynamics and foreign policy-making

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University of Michigan Press, 1997 - Education - 384 pages
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Strategic issues and crises in foreign policy are usually managed by relatively small groups of elite policymakers and their closest advisors. Since the pioneering work of Irving Janis in the early 1970s, we have known that the interplay between the members of these groups can have a profound and, indeed, at times a pernicious influence on the content and quality of foreign policy decisions. Janis argued that "groupthink," a term he used to describe a tendency for extreme concurrence-seeking in decision-making groups, was a major cause of a number of U.S. foreign policy fiascoes. And yet not all small groups suffer from groupthink; in fact many high-level bodies are handicapped by an inability to achieve consensus at all.
Beyond Groupthink builds upon and extends Janis's legacy. The contributors develop a richer understanding of group dynamics by drawing on alternate views of small-group dynamics. The relevant literature is reviewed and the different perspectives are explored in detailed case studies. The contributors link the group process to the broader organizational and political context of the policy process and stress the need to develop a multi-level understanding of the collegial policy-making process, combining the insights drawn from micro-level theories with those derived from study of broader political phenomena. The contributors include Alexander George, Sally Riggs Fuller, Paul D. Hoyt, Ramon J. Aldag, Max V. Metselaar, Bertjan Verbeek, J. Thomas Preston, Jean A. Garrison, and Yaacov Y. I. Vertzberger.
This book should appeal to political scienctists and international relations specialists, as well as researchers in social psychology, public administration, and management interested in group decision-making processes.
Paul 't Hart is Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Leiden University and Scientific Director of of the Leiden-Rotterdam Crisis Research Center. Eric Stern is Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University. Bengt Sundelius is Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University.

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Contents

From Groupthink to Contextual Analysis
35
Moving
55
Beyond Decision Making in Formal
95
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

ROD RHODES is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He is the author or editor of 25 books including recently; "The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions" (joint editor, 2006); and "Governance Stories" (with Mark Bevir, 2006). He is also editor of "Public Administration"; life Vice-President of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom, and a Fellow/Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in both Australia and Britain. PAUL 'T HART is Senior Research Fellow, Political Science Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University and Professor of Public Administration, Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University. He is the editor and author of 21 books including most recently "The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership under Pressure" (2005). MIRKO NOORDEGRAAF is an associate professor at the Utrecht School of Governance, Utrecht University, Netherlands. He specialises in public management. His books include "Attention! Work and Behavior of Public Managers amidst Ambiguity" (2000); and the widely used (Dutch) textbook on "Management in Public Domains" (2004). He published/s in "Public Administration," "Public Management Review," "Administration & Society," "International Journal of Public Sector Management," "Evaluation," and "Journal of Management Studies,

Professor Bengt Sundelius is the Founding Director of CRISMART and Professor of Government at Uppsala University. He is Chief Scientist of the Swedish Emergency Management Agency and responsible for promoting research in the area of homeland security.

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