Inside the Abilene Paradox: When Management Agrees on a Decision, Can It Actually HURT the Business?
It’s a hypothetical story that management science professor Jerry Harvey likes to tell: On a hot, dry summer day, a family decides as a group to drive one hour to Abilene, TX for dinner, even though in the minds of each individual, nobody particularly wants to go, but they don’t want to rock the boat of the group “consensus”. As they make the miserable return home from the trip nobody wanted to take, they each express their lament aloud, and wonder why they decided to go in the first place. Jerry calls this form of “Groupthink” the “Abilene Paradox”, and, if translated to a boardroom setting, itcould be devastating to a company on the cusp of making an impactful decision for the business. He talks with “The International Capitalist” David Iwinski about the psychology behind the Abilene Paradox, and why someone who “rocks the boat” could turn out to be the savior of a company.