The answer to these questions is something you might not expect:
a phenomenon called “mismanaged agreement” – also known as:

The Abilene Paradox

Keep your team from “goin’ to Abilene.”

Many years ago, Professor Jerry B. Harvey’s research showed him that the fundamental problem of contemporary organizations is not conflict, but rather the inability to cope with agreement. He found that most agreement in teams is actually false consensus. This occurs because many people feel that they’ll be ridiculed or censured if they voice objections. This often leads groups to act on inappropriate goals and sets them up for organizational failure.

CRM Learning’s all-time best-selling training video program, The Abilene Paradox, 2nd Edition, dramatizes mismanaged agreement in organizational and personal settings. In it, Dr. Harvey brilliantly describes the psychological causes, and the cure, for “goin’ to Abilene”.

Trainers find that the video’s scenes on a single central theme – managing agreement within a group – remain effective illustrations of a problem that is more prevalent today than ever.

Our workshop includes exercises for a flexible training design to help participants learn:

  • The 5 psychological principles of The Abilene Paradox
    • How to avoid false consensus and achieve effective decision-making within a group

    The Abilene Paradox Trailer

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    See The Abilene Paradox video in its entirety!

    If you’re thinking of using The Abilene Paradox video in an educational or group training setting, you may preview the video in its entirety for purchase or rental consideration. (You will need to create a preview account on, but signing up is free and easy.)

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    News about The Abilene Paradox and group decision-making

    Where does the phrase “the Abilene Paradox” come from?

    As you will see when you view this amazing video, it all began one sizzling afternoon in Texas with a family game of dominoes, a 1958 Buick, and a cafeteria in Abilene. (From there, this term for the phenomenon of false consensus made its way into boardrooms and workplaces everywhere.)

    Check out the original book by Jerry Harvey, The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management.


    “It works for so many topics — conflict, communication, change, etc. The variety of examples used connects with the audience, and all levels (from entry to management) can relate to the issues brought up.”
    Judy Sherkow, President, Training Dynamics
    “If this video training program will help your organization “skip the trip” to Abilene at least once, then it will be worth your while. CRM Learning should be commended for their attention to detail in this training package.”
    Training Media Review