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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Group Think Stifles Creativity

Published January 30, 2010 11:12 AM by Glen McDaniel

When someone does not speak up or goes along with the crowd, we are fond of saying that person "does not have an independent thought in his/her head." Actually sometimes it's not that they don't think independently, but for whatever reason they are reluctant to express their opinion.

Group think is the tendency to be swayed by the predominant opinion; or to refuse to speak up in an effort to appear to be a team player. To many people, expressing dissonant opinions, however justified, is seeing as being disloyal or tantamount to being a traitor.

While clinical laboratory scientists are used to change-in fact the profession ahs been characterized by ever changing legislation and regulations- the last few years the entire society ha shad to adjust to changes in the workplace, the marketplace, politics and society itself.  It has become even more important for those who will be affected by change to speak up and help to mold the direction of change as much as possible.

In the lab, hours might be cut, the reporting structure might change, or specialist laboratorians might be required to cross train, but they owe it to themselves to speak up and make suggestions that will meet the organizational needs while minimizing personal shock. Speaking up often sparks discussion that results in crafting solutions that no one would have thought of otherwise. Also, I always point out that no matter what the motivation of someone doing something to us, we can mold the change to derive some benefit to ourselves as well.

Two take-aways: 1. group think has its own steep price-psychological and practical; and 2, refusing to voice your opinion means implicit agreement with the change being contemplated, however inimical it is to your own interests.


Glen, I totally agree with you, "we can mold the change".  We may not be able to get everything we want or ask for, but if we do not try, we had better be prepared to accept what comes.   Change and fear of the unknown hold a lot of us back from being able to do what is right.  We should be able to accept the fact that change is unavoidable and nothing will ever stay the same, but sometimes that is very hard to do.  I think it helps to view change in a positive light, as a way to improve on what we are doing and as an opportunity to make things better for our patients and ourselves.      

Stephanie Schaible, Transfusion - MT February 1, 2010 4:04 PM
Ogden UT

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