The Group Think mindset of HOA Loyalists

On September 9, 2009, I attempted to provide members of important information to better their understanding of the downside of HOAs. My post there was simply a summary and link to my commentary on a CAI lobbyist article, CAI lobbyist firm espouses HOA secessionist, un-American views. I was informed that this forum was “A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn”, and was summarily banned and declared an “unperson” — my posts and member replies were removed.

Not the first time I was so attacked by homeowners(1). However, in my 10 years of severe criticism of CAI I was only directly addressed twice by CAI, publicly. And it was polite and non-controversial. So, once again, analogous to CAI shutting down its Message Board and Skiba’s blog to outsiders, and its disparaging picture of homeowner advocates in 2006(2) , we see Group Think at work. Group think is an inbreeding of customs, beliefs, values, attitudes, etc where anything different is suppressed and rejected out of hand.

Let’s see what Psychologists for Social Responsibility has to say about group think.” (3)(emphasis added).

Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment”. Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are . . . insulated from outside opinions. . . .”

Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink, some of which include,
1. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
2. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
3. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
4. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
5. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
6. Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
7. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

The members of HOAtalk, (a more appropriate title would be, “HOAsweetTalk”) clearly exhibited these symptoms, and were not interested in dealing with reality, preferring to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. To do so would destroy their illusions of goodness, of being a member of something important, and their rationalizations of not doing anything wrong, harmful or unethical. These HOA Loyalists probably participated in all those “satisfaction surveys”, and legislators have accepted these extremely biased and irrational views when deciding on HOA reform legislation.

Of course, we know who has fostered this group think. CAI continues to mislead the legislatures, the homeowners, HOA boards and the public about life in an HOA, having omitted from their books, pamphlets, brochures, classes and seminars any mention of the downside of HOA living. Or is it “the darkside?”


[1] See HOA group think,

[2] Id. (I declined to be interviewed for this article, insisting on an open debate on the issues with a Q & A period.  I got no response from CAI).

[3] What is Group Think?,  Psychologists for Social Responsibility, Sept 2009, ( pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm)

Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 8:55 am  Comments (2)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello, George,

    I am happy to find your site during a search for HOA relief.

    I live in Nevada and so far, have not found anything like your site here. For the first time in my life, I have retired and moved from Illinois (by way of Wisconsin) into an HOA community in North Las Vegas.

    The HOA here is nothing more than a handful of people who treat the process as thought it were theri own private club. They are extremely secretive and do not respond to written complaints, phone calls, or emails.

    One homeowner, Charles, is officially the HOA manager’s assistant, but he runs the show. The manager, Doree, is quiet and shy, doesn’t speak much. Charles does most of the talking and bullying. He also takes the position of manager in Doree’s frequent absence. Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

    Up until recently, there were only two HOA board members. I pointed out that according to the law, there must be at least three board members and was told (with great hostility) that that simply was not true. I complained that none of my calls or letters are acknowledged and that obviously two people can’t handle ninety homes. But, Charles said they could.

    These people are extremely biased. They do not manage equitably. Twice, they stopped basketball playing in two courts, but refuse to stop it on my court. The CC&Rs state “No Basketball Playing,” but they refuse to enforce the rule that would solve my complaint.

    This, caused me to look deeper into HOAs and I am disheartened at the corrupt and evil nature inherent in them.

    Thank you for the insight you’ve provided.

  2. To paraphrase President Obama’s words, when considering all the factors that make an HOA, all of us should honestly answer the question: What is the “character of the community”?

    Please keep in mind that those arguing favorably for HOAs, must acknowledge that the supporters, promoters and lobbyists do not come with clean hands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s