Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


This research study examined how groupthink affects educational decision making for building level administrators by identifying the most prominent symptoms of groupthink and by exposing the characteristics that create an increase of vulnerability to groupthink.

Participants for this study included building level administrators of 25 public high schools in a Midwest suburban county. These volunteers completed a three part survey which addressed the central research questions for the study:

1) What perceptions do current building level administrators have about the shared system of belief within their institution?

2) Among the administrators that believe they were hired because they share the district's belief system, within which of the following area(s) (curriculum, assessment, discipline, and safety), have they experienced symptoms of groupthink?

3) Among the administrators that acknowledged symptoms of groupthink within any of these four areas of educational decision making, which symptom was the most prominent?

4) Within the most prominent symptom(s) of groupthink, what characteristics seem to influence building level administrators' vulnerability to groupthink?

A quantitative analysis was completed in order to answer the four research questions. The results of the study found that (1) when administrators are hired into a leadership position, their personal beliefs vastly matched that of the district they got hired to serve, (2) the educational decision making areas of curriculum, assessment, discipline, and safety embodied symptoms of groupthink, but in which no one area greatly exceeded the others, (3) unanimity and mindguarding were two symptoms that had significantly higher contrasting group means, and (4) the categories of change agent, mission driving decision making, mutual respect of colleagues, conversations between administrator and superintendent, the inclusion of curricular decision making, and the inclusion of assessment decision making yielded significant results.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.