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From Groupthink to Polythink in the Yom Kippur War Decisions of 1973

Alex Mintz, Itai Schneiderman

Abstract


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Abstract

Numerous studies on decision making in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 claim that a groupthink syndrome led to the faulty assessment and processing of information prior to the Yom Kippur War. In this paper, based on official transcripts of the meetings held on the morning of October 6, 1973 in the office of then Defence Minister Moshe Dayan and in the office of then Prime Minister Golda Meir, and based on the Agranat Report (the inquiry into the circumstances leading to the 1973 war), we show that the well-known groupthink syndrome which characterised decision-making until the evening of October 5, 1973 changed in the early morning of October 6, 1973 to a polythink syndrome – a polarised and divided decisionmaking dynamic among members of the decision unit. Important theoretical insights and policy implications are derived from this case study.

Keywords: Groupthink, Polythink, Yom Kippur War, Moshe Dayan, Israel

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Bibliography: Mintz, Alex/Schneiderman, Itai: From Groupthink to Polythink in the Yom Kippur War Decisions of 1973, ERIS, 1-2018, pp. 48-66. https://doi.org/10.3224/eris.v5i1.03


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