Groupthink or Deadlock: When Do Leaders Learn from Their Advisors?

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SUNY Press, Jan 24, 2002 - History - 265 pages
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The danger of groupthink is now standard fare in leadership training programs and a widely accepted explanation, among political scientists, for policy-making fiascoes. Efforts to avoid groupthink, however, can lead to an even more serious problem—deadlock. Groupthink or Deadlock explores these dual problems in the Eisenhower and Reagan administrations and demonstrates how both presidents were capable of learning and consequently changing their policies, sometimes dramatically, but at the same time doing so in characteristically different ways. Kowert points to the need for leaders to organize their staff in a way that fits their learning and leadership style and allows them to negotiate a path between groupthink and deadlock.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
MATCHING ADVISORS TO LEADERS
2
DOES LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTER?
5
WHAT IS LEARNING?
7
CONCLUSION
9
Who Learns and When?
11
LEARNING STYLE
15
MANAGING ADVISORS
19
Alaskan Statehood
73
LEARNING IN A CLOSED ADMINISTRATION
78
The International Debt Shock
79
The Withdrawal from Lebanon
88
CONCLUSION
94
Groupthink
97
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS DEFICITS
99
MCCARTHYISM
112

A THEORY OF LEADERGROUP RELATIONS
23
CONCLUSION
28
Eisenhower and Reagan Comparing Learning Styles
31
THE EISENHOWER ADMINISTRATION
33
Learning Style
35
Advisors
40
THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION
46
Learning Style
47
Advisors
52
CONCLUSION
57
Learning
61
LEARNING IN AN OPEN ADMINISTRATION
62
The Fall of Dien Bien Phu
64
CONCLUSION
122
Deadlock
125
THE BUDGET DEFICIT
127
THE IRANCONTRA AFFAIR
135
CONCLUSION
147
Conclusion
151
THE POLITICS OF ADVICE
153
WHY LEARN?
165
Notes
169
Bibliography
231
Index
257
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Paul A. Kowert is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Florida International University, and coeditor of International Relations in a Constructed World.

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