How are group decisions made?
(I had the following experience in what we called “charm school,” where various interpersonal skills were taught to us nerd techies.)
The short video was titled, Going to Abilene, and it explained something about human group decisions. The narrator was the husband, visiting with his new bride, at her parents’ farm, for the first time.
It’s hot, isolated, quiet. In a lull in the on-porch conversation, the paterfamilias mumbles something about, ‘we could have dinner at the restaurant in Abilene.’
‘Did you ever get the air conditioning fixed in your old station wagon?’ And the conversation goes on, and eventually, they do go to Abilene for dinner.
The restaurant in Abilene turns out to be four tables at the back of the drugstore.
After they all return, the narrator voices-over: ‘Ninety minutes each way in Texas heat.’ The paterfamilias remarks, ‘We could have stayed here on the porch and had cold cuts.’
It turns out nobody wanted to go to Abilene, but each went along with the others. Asked why he brought the subject up, the father-in-law, says, ‘I was just makin’ conversation.’
Going to Abilene meant, for the rest of that course, (and for the rest of my life,) coming to a group decision that nobody actually wanted as first choice, if at all.
I am reminded of a scene in Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger, wherein a mob stones an old crone falsely accused of being a witch. Satan mocks the three boys, and tells them that, while sick at heart, they threw stones – as did almost everyone else – because everyone else was going to, and could see them if they did not.
The United States of America is, imho, going to Abilene.
Although sick at heart, delegates will vote for Donald Trump to run for president.
Although sick at heart, delegates will vote for Hilary Clinton to run for president.
I need not itemize Trump’s interesting qualities. His say-anything, attack-with-noise approach is obvious to any not smoking his particular Trump brand of hallucinogen.
While there is more, that’s enough to make me question this candidate’s decision process.
I need not itemize Clinton’s interesting qualities. Her fabrications (caught by Trevor Noah) about her eMails, and the ‘chastising’ verdict. The new revelations that her party conspired, apparently, to sandbag Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Clinton is connected.
While there is more, that’s enough to make me doubt this candidate’s integrity.
They could both be in thrall to their handlers.
That seems unlikely in both cases; both are strong personalities, in the same sense that mustelids have strong defenses. (Some can kill prey much larger than themselves; a new measure of weight in politics.)
Now the American People, having allowed this momentous choice of leader to come down to these two candidates, must vote (or not vote) and face the consequences.
The result could be worse than three hours in a hot station wagon with a crummy sandwich as intermission.
The result could be (Trump’s promises) breaking of all trade treaties and weakening of all American allies’ trust in the USA coming to their aid. An ineffective government bound to persecute minorities.
The result could be (Clinton’s apparent ability to prevaricate and manipulate) a government run by the insiders that got us the crash of 2008. Trade deals that only help big business.
You’re going to Abilene, my American friends. Have a nice trip.
The dumb question: there are two:
How are group decisions made?
How are good group decisions made?