Detrivialization as a Strategy to Challenge Organizational Groupthink


  • Salaheddine Mnasri
  • Stavros Papakonstantinidis



Detrivialization, knowledge construction, knowledge sharing, groupthink, discourse analysis, organizational culture, organizational communication.


This paper aims to contribute to the literature on knowledge construction and knowledge sharing within the field of organizational communication. The research underlines the importance of exploring human learning contextually, descriptively, interpretively, and inductively. Through a participant‑observer methodological approach, the study contributes to the literature by introducing detrivialization as a strategy to explore ’participants’ rhetoric related to their organizational procedures. The paper describes a case study that took place for 18 months in a cancer research lab in Belgium, where employees seemed unable to question several taken‑for‑granted practices. The present research primarily reveals the consequences of trivialization, when the rationale of essential organizational practices go unnoticed until observer‑participant challenges the status quo. Also, the study highlights the outcomes of the detrivialization approach, which triggers unprecedented knowledge. Finally, the paper introduces the (de)trivialization dynamic model, which can depict the consequences of opening black‑boxes in organizational contexts. This research is a new approach in organizational ethnomethodology, revisiting ’Garfinkel’s (1967) breaching experiment to describe science in action. The suggested model offers a methodological approach for exploring trivialized organizational dynamics and challenging groupthink. Detrivialization is an opposite approach to trivialization, to offer a new debate topic to scholars aiming to conduct ethnographic research and discourse analysis in organizational communication.



24 Feb 2021