The false consensus effect and the blinders it creates for teams of peers

The more that people are centrally connected to their peers, the more they tend to overestimate the degree to which their judgments are in agreement. Social scientists call this the “false consensus effect.” So, for example, lawyers who report directly to the general counsel and who spend time together in weekly senior staff meeting exaggerate the illusion that they all agree on something. This warning from social psychologists comes from MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 50, Summer 2009 at 14.

The article explains that “people who are the center of social networks,” such as general counsel, are likely be even more susceptible to the false consensus effect because they “perceive themselves as being more in touch with the opinions of others than they really are.” The antidote is to discuss explicitly views that are assumed to be shared.

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