Does Groupthink lead to Group Cheating

According to Psychology Today, Groupthink occurs when a group of well-intentioned people make irrational or non-optimal decisions spurred by the urge to conform or the discouragement of dissent. This problematic or premature consensus may be fueled by a particular agenda or simply because group members value harmony and coherence above rational thinking.

A recent news story that highlighted an entire class of incoming law enforcement officers being dismissed after it was found out they cheated on an exam. This got us thinking about the psychological concept of Groupthink. What could drive a cluster of individuals who self-selected into a program that would result in future employment in the realm of enforcing order, laws, and high standards, to cheat? One could assume that the entire cohort didn’t think of such risky behavior at the same time. Perhaps there was pressure to conform, desire for upward mobility, fear of breaking a consensus, or a combination of many factors. It was found that the cohort used tactics such as direct assistance from others, internet searches, and even social media applications to circumvent the rules of the examination. These are all methods that can be deterred through a combination of instructional design, communication, identity management, and proctoring. We share this because it’s an unfortunate reality that many organizations face. You can have the most well-intentioned group of candidates that could be exposed and susceptible to peer pressure, direct marketing from contract cheaters, and more.

All of it boils down to one important question. What is your organization doing to ensure the candidates taking your assessments are who they say they are, and how are you deterring cheating? While this is an unfortunate reality we face with technology and distance being introduced to both synchronous and asynchronous learning models, it doesn’t have to feel like an icky conversation.


ProctorFree is equipped as an organization and platform to help you address the challenges of measuring knowledge for large groups of students or candidates whether it be in-person, distance learning, synchronous, or asynchronous programs. Simply reach out to us and a member of our team will conduct a call with you at a time of your convenience.