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Assignment (Student Choice)

Select one of the following assignments to complete.

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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?

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  • 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.



Student’s Choice Assignment

James Aaron Goodman

Averett University



Assignment Choice

Brilliantly to disprove the negative fantasy of group tyranny and/or conformity pressures Jerry B Harvey appropriately cited the Aschexperiment. The experiment seemingly was a perception study, when seven invited people sat in a row opposite oftheexperimenter to complete a rudimentary task. Contributors to the experimentation were coached to account which of the assessment lines equally matched the standard line. Inevitably on account of essential judgments being so palpable, an individual would practically have to be visually impaired to generate a mistake.

Yet astonishingly the individual identified as the critical subject made the superficial mistake without thepossession of any visual failings. This is because unbeknownst to him the other six participants within the experiment were clandestinely collaborating with the experimenter. Accordingly, they had received prior instructions on how to respond to each set of cards. Strategically the inexperienced was placed as the last person to express perceptual judgment, so to give a response in accordance with the other majority.

Although the information was clearly understood by the subject he was faced with a discrepancy whether to believe his eyeballs or eardrums.Consequently, he selected the concluding consciously denying the correct visual judgment. Although some individuals would inadequately use the excuse of enforced group pressure towards this particular situation, honestly it must be unambiguously acknowledged that there was not any hint of it.

Thus, the other six participants did not in any way disparage, scorn, or torment the critical subject. Instead, they noticed and preyed upon his fear of separation. Consequently, some individuals like constantly blame actions on account conformity pressures when the reality is we had the opportunity to exercise free will. People would rather deflect blame on other persons instead of accepting sole responsibility for shown behavior. When Jerry B Harvey mentions “fear of separation” he his implying the dread when individuals face when being secluded or alienated from other groups members this is something that humans significantly avoid. Unlike group tyranny or conformity pressures in actuality, fear of separation along with lack of courage is truly the recognized culprit, Henceforth I firmly agree with Jerry B Harvey arguments and believe the blame shouldnot be placed upon peer pressure because regardless the person has the opportunity to demonstrate freedom

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