Reduce Group Conformity & Get Access to Diverse Perspectives

This is a ‘Process’ Inclusion Nudge. You can learn more at www.inclusion-nudges.org

The Challenge 

Getting access to and leveraging a diversity of perspectives is crucial for good decision-making and innovation. Yet, implicit norms on the ‘right way‘ to perform or communicate, information bias (unconscious preference for known information), and group dynamics like socialisation, conformity, and groupthink (individuals adapt to the majority to belong) are barriers that can increase conformity and limit good decision making.

How it Works: The Inclusion Nudge

Instead of asking people in a group to speak up or share their perspective verbally;

  1. instruct them to write their perspective, critical view, new idea, or an argument pro/con on a piece of paper anonymously,
  2. put all notes in a pile on the table or floor (in standing meetings),
  3. have the participants take turn in reading the notes out loud,
  4. and apply the diverse perspectives as part of the task at hand

! Make it an integrated part of the work process (meetings, trainings, decision-making, discussions, talent reviews, etc.)

Why it Works: Behavioural Insights 

This intervention is designed to make the process inclusive, as well as, psychologically safe. All team members are being ‘pushed’ non-intrusively to participate. In this way, the perception of each individual is not being influenced by the first person who speaks or when several group members agree. This helps to avoid our social belonging need influencing our group conformity need. Conforming to the majority is a natural mechanism in all groups and cannot be avoided with only awareness. We need to design meeting processes to mitigate unconscious bias and group conformity.

 

 Before facilitating this way you might want to consider showing the participants how group conformity plays out.
Use one of the publicly available videos (on YouTube) about Solomon Asch ‘Group Conformity’ experiment. Read more in the Inclusion Nudges Guidebook