What Lessons Should A Manager Take From Stanley Milgram 's Theory Of Obedience Essay

1599 Words7 Pages
What lessons should a manager take from Stanley Milgram 's studies of obedience? How does obedience impact on organisational ethics, and what steps can a manager take to take to reduce this problem?

Introduction
Organisations struggle to achieve their goals without at least some level of obedience from the people in the organisation. If everyone disobeyed their superiors in organisations then very little would be achieved. However, can too high a level of obedience be a bad thing for an organisation? Stanley Milgram’s original obedience test in 1961 tested subjects’ responses to authoritative pressure showed that a higher number of participants would deliver a lethal shock to someone if instructed to do so by a person they perceived to be an authority figure. There are some implications from this in terms of how managers work with their staff, as well as implications relating to ethical behaviour inside organisations which will be discussed here. In the following essay, a brief description of Milgram’s studies into obedience will be provided, then two key implications of the studies as they relate to managers will be discussed, followed by a brief discussion on organisational ethics and the dilemmas relating to obedience. Finally, we will look into ways to reduce the both managerial and organisational dilemmas discussed.

Stanley Milgram’s experiments
Stanley Milgram conducted studies into obedience of authority in order to understand how something like the Nazis’

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