Networks of influence: Practising Safety Leadership in Low Hazard Environments – Project Launch 13 June 2013

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Date: June 13, 2013
Event: Speaking at IOSH Project Launch Event "Networks of influence: Practising Safety Leadership in Low Hazard Environments"
Topic: Networks of influence: Practising Safety Leadership in Low Hazard Environments
Sponsor: IOSH
Venue: Cranfield School of Management
Public: Public

10 stepping stones to mindless obedience

In a previous post I introduced the Milgram and Zimbardo experiments as possible explanations for the poor quality of care at Mid Staffs Hospital and questioned whether it was caused by bad apples, bad barrels or bad barrel makers.  In this post I summarize a piece by Philip Zimbardo, author of book – The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Turn Evil, on the  lessons from the Milgram studies.  Zimbardo draws on the Milgram experiments to explain the ten the characteristics of a situation that can lead good people to carry out, support or tolerate evil acts.

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Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/sculpies

The Milgram Experiments

Milgram conducted the infamous obedience to authority experiment involving an fake electric ‘shock generator’ with 30 switches. The switch was marked clearly in 15 volt increments, ranging from 15 to 450 volts.

In addition to the numerical label the increments  were also labelled with “slight shock,” “moderate shock,” “strong shock,” “very strong shock,” “intense shock,” and “extreme intensity shock.” The next two anchors were “Danger: Severe Shock,” and, past that, a simple “XXX.”