Groupthink: How Should Clinicians Respond to Human Trafficking?
The AMA Journal of Ethic, January 2017
Human trafficking is a pervasive problem that exceeds the capacity of social and organizational resources to restrain and for which guidelines are inadequate to assist medical professionals in responding to the special needs of victims when they present as patients. One obstacle to appropriate disagreement with an inadequate status quo is the lure of group cohesion. "Groupthink" is a social psychological phenomenon in which presumed group consensus prevails despite potentially adverse consequences. In the context of the medical response to human trafficking, groupthink may foster complacency, rationalize acquiescence with inaction on the basis of perceived futility, create an illusion of unanimity, and accommodate negative stereotyping. Despite these inhibiting influences, even in apparently futile situations, medical professionals have unique opportunities to be a force for good.
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