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While the negative aspects of groupthink are obvious – loss of innovative thinking, misplaced decision-making priorities, self-perpetuation of the internal “society,” etc. – the positive aspects are often overlooked. In conservative free-enterprise ventures (and healthcare management is certainly one of them), the value of “groupthink” is that the decision-making process stays inside the boundaries of scientific research and “proofs”, and inside the often unwritten social and moral protocols of health management. For example, in discussing budgets, groupthink precludes entertaining any business or budget solutions outside the Hippocratic Oath or outside socially acceptable boundaries, so that so-called “outside the box” suggestions are self-censored – euthanasia, experimental protocols not approved by certifying authorities, cheapening quality of medicine, etc. In more radical enterprises (for example, advertising), groupthink interferes with creativity, and can harm the enterprise severely. Also, groupthink can be confused with collective creativity; some businesses are already seeing the negative effect of flexible hours and at-home options for employees, because there is not enough “face-time” and exchange of ideas in the workday. Healthcare, too, sometimes benefits by conferencing, as long as it is not merely an exercise to cement groupthink.
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