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Groupthink in accounting education

Advances in Accounting Education

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1458-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-519-2

Publication date: 27 June 2008


Professional organizations are encouraging accounting educators to better prepare their students for their professional careers by improving students’ interpersonal skills. Although accounting instructors are responding by including group activities in their courses, they may not be considering the negative impact of the phenomenon known as “groupthink” on the outcome of group problem solving. Our search of the Social Science Citation Index (2007) provides evidence that groupthink continues to be an area of research interest in academic disciplines other than accounting. Our search provides no evidence that accounting educators are acknowledging or addressing the potential influences the groupthink dynamic may have on students working in groups. The dynamics involved with groupthink have the potential to affect the quality of decisions made by accounting students in their classroom assignments as well as in their future professional lives. We describe the dynamics leading to groupthink, provide examples from our own experience, and offer accounting educators guidelines to discourage the impact of groupthink on the process of student work groups.


Riordan, M.P., Riordan, D.A. and Kent St. Pierre, E. (2008), "Groupthink in accounting education", Schwartz, B.N. and Catanach, A.H. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 189-204.



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