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date: 11 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the psychological tensions between protecting the status quo within groups and engaging in intragroup change. In the first section we review two research traditions that imply self-reinforcing cycles of stability and preservation of the status quo: (a) research on conformity and the punishment of deviance and (b) research examining biases toward shared knowledge in small decision-making groups. In the second section we provide the counterpoint to these theoretical traditions, exploring several reasons why, despite psychological pressures that appear to favor majority opinions and shared assumptions, intragroup change and reform is a robust reality of group life. In the third and final section of this chapter we move on to examine who within the group is most likely to push for change; who within the group is more effective at pushing for change; and what are the effective strategies for initiating change.

Keywords: opinion deviance, dissent, criticism, conformity, groupthink, minority influence, task conflict

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