Milgram’s Experiment, Horrible Bosses and Dwight Shrute Co-Workers

Milgram’s Experiment, Horrible Bosses and Dwight Shrute Co-Workers

The recently released movie, Horrible Bosses, is about three friends who have three . . . you guessed it, horrible bosses.  While it might be fun to watch Jennifer Aniston play a bad character, the movie brings up some interesting issues about authority figures and their power to affect people’s lives.

In the early 60s, a guy named Stanley Milgram did some research into the willingness of people to follow directions given by those in authority. The question Milgram contemplated was:  If you were asked to shock someone with 400 volts of electricity, would you do it just because someone in a white lab coat told you to do it as part of an experiment? You may think not, but you may be surprised.

What Milgram was looking for was how authority leads to obedience. Isn’t that kind of what happens to you at work? You’re at the mercy of your leader or manager. You do what they tell you to do, because they are your superior, and you figure you should listen. Part of what makes up your personality is the part that is willing to obey commands that may not necessarily make sense to you.

There may be a few people you’d like to shock some sense into at work. We’d like to think we’d be the test subjects that wouldn’t have pushed the button to deliver the shock to the recipients. The thing was, though, although the people thought they were delivering a shock, they weren’t delivering any voltage at all. The people who were supposedly being shocked were actors who were just pretending to be shocked.

The people Dr. Milgram used as the “shockers” in his experiments were only paid $4.50, and were found through advertisements placed in newspapers. The reason Dr. Milgram wanted to do these experiments in the first place was what he’d seen the people in Germany doing in response to Hitler’s leadership. He was interested in answering a question that had haunted him from childhood: “What psychological mechanism transformed the average, and presumably normal, citizens of Germany and its allies into people who would carry out or tolerate unimaginable acts of cruelty against their fellow citizens who were Jewish, resulting in the death of six million of them?”(Blass, 2004).

His interest in this led him to conduct experiments into obedience, and he set up a simulated shock-generator box that had a label on it that read, “SHOCK GENERATOR , TYPE ZLB,

DYSON INSTRUMENT COMPAN Y, WALTHA M, MASS OUTPUT 15

VOLT S – 450 VOLT S” (Blass, 2004, p. 79). Initially, the “shocker” started giving a low voltage of what they believed was an actual shock, and they were then asked to gradually increase the voltage in response to suggestions from the experimenter, who would say things like:

1. Please continue.

2. The experiment requires that you continue.

3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.

4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

The experiment was intended to show just how far the “shocker” would go, based on receiving commands from someone in authority. This was all part of an experiment done at Yale. Predictions on how many people would be willing to continue to shock at high voltage levels were low … about 3%. In actuality, however, 65% were willing to give them the juice at the maximum level. Only 1% of the participants in the experiment, after having learned that it had been fake, were sorry they had participated.

Milgram had the following to say about the results: “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority” (Milgram, 1974). Milgram went out of his way to ensure that this simulation looked real. He wanted those doing the shocking to believe they had actually caused the person receiving the voltage pain. Those receiving the fake jolts would emit pitiful screams, begging the person to stop shocking them.

“The obedience experiments presented a disturbing view of human behavior. Milgram, his colleagues, and later the public were surprised by the sheer power of an authority to compel someone to hurt an innocent person, despite the absence of any coercive means to back up his commands” (Blass, 2004, p. 93).

What does this say about our personalities? Think about Dwight Shrute on the TV show The Office? Isn’t he willing to do just about anything that Michael tells him to do to please his boss or, in other words, a person of authority? We’ve all worked alongside the Dwights of the world. Is it Michael who is to blame for how Dwight acts because he takes advantage of his willingness to please? Possibly. How do you keep from turning into Dwight? How are you supposed to question your boss? In hard economic times such as we have experienced recently, many people find it difficult to turn down any request at work. Fear of losing one’s job is a big factor in what we will allow. Unfortunately, many may not feel as if they have a choice, and will comply with demands.

Is it OK to never question authority? There comes a point when employees feel psychologically abused, whether they recognize it or not. When someone is constantly a target of abuse of authority, they may not realize what’s happening right away. One instance of someone in authority making a negative comment may go unnoticed, however, should the comments continue, that can constitute an abuse of authority. This abuse can lead to poor work performance as the employee’s self-esteem drops.

This excerpt is from the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality . . . Click here to read the rest of the book.

Dwight Schrute is an Obsessive Pleaser: It’s Not You It’s Your Personality Gives Readers Insight into What Makes People Tick

PRweb Press Release – It might be obvious that Dwight Schrute is a control freak. But, who knew that Chris Rock was an introvert? Understanding how to read personalities is important according to mother and daughter co-authors, Dr. Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz. They blow the lid off what many thought they knew about personalities in their latest book: It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality. This is the ultimate handbook for understanding the inner-workings of not just celebrities—but co-workers, friends and family. Chris Rock, like many celebrity comedians is, indeed, an introvert according to a popular personality test. Are people prepared to work with the Rock and Schrute personalities of the world? Hamilton and Rothpletz help answer some important personality quandaries like this as well as: How should people interact with introverts? Does the boss’s birth order matter? How does one climb the corporate ladder of success by developing emotional intelligence?

There’s no question that Diane and Toni are the type of authors that readers would want to hang out with. It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality is as fun of a read as the title dictates. It takes readers on a journey through the many ways one can analyze personalities. Along the way, a lot is learned about the personalities of celebrities, coworkers, friends and family. The Myers-Briggs personality test, also created by a mother-daughter team, indicates Ari Gold of “Entourage” fame has the personality trait of a “thinker.” Though not all thinkers are cold-hearted, the “thinker” is all business. There is no time to worry about how others are reacting. Truly, however, even Ari has a soft side—or viewers wouldn’t continue watching. People, including Ari, have different personality preferences. Even a “thinker” may sometimes be a “feeler,” depending on the circumstances.

“With It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality we are taking what would normally be a tough topic to address—personalities—and making it fun and light-hearted,” says co-author Dr. Diane Hamilton, “The celebrities we know and love are out there to analyze, so why not have fun with the personality name game?”

It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality is geared toward the new generation of workers, those generally born in the late 70s and beyond who are currently in the workforce. This generation, dubbed by Hamilton and Rothpletz as the “NewGens,” is taking a large chunk of the job force as baby boomers are set to retire. As cited in the book, companies far and wide are now trying to find new ways to train and interact with the NewGens. Personality tests abound. Which ones are the right ones? How can these assessments be used for success?

“We recommend that you get a jump start on knowing your place in the office environment before you land that job,”says co-author Toni Rothpletz, “There are plenty of free tests out there. Being ready to deal with people is half the battle at any job on a day to day basis. By giving celebrity examples of personalities in our book, our hope was to better explain people’s individual preferences, while still entertaining the reader.”

There is a noted severe uniqueness of very strong personalities in the NewGen community. Even with the advent of technology, people are the most valuable asset. Turnover costs money. Hiring the wrong person (or personality) costs money. Job hunters that know themselves the best, are setting themselves up for success because ultimately how they handle themselves on a day-to-day basis is what will get them ahead in the long term.

So what about the personality preferences of Chris Rock, Ari Gold or Dwight Schrute? Bottom-line is it doesn’t matter the personality—certain things cannot be changed. However, the way people interact can be changed. Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses is the key to advancing from even the seedling of a career.

To find out more about their writing or to schedule an interview, visit Dr. Hamilton’s website at https://drdianehamilton.com or her blog at http://drdianehamilton.wordpress.com/.

Review copies are available.

It’s Not You It’s Your Personality –December, 2010 ($19.95/Amazon). ISBN: 9780982742839 Approximately 220 pages

Rebecca Crowley – PR Contact – 649-619-1178

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How Much Is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Net Worth? Fun Site Gives You An Idea

Celebrity Net Worth

Have you ever wondered how much an actor, musician, politican, businessman, athlete, rapper or someone else famous was worth?  Perhaps you wondered if Bruce Willis was worth more or less than Demi Moore.  There is a site called CelebrityNetWorth that can answer some of these questions for you.  The site is pretty easy to navigate.  You can ask questions like:  What rapper makes the most money?  Or . . . .Who are the richest people in the world?  You can even ask it how much a plumber makes . . .And  you can get some answers.  You can also input celebrity names and find out how much money they have.  I looked up a few that interested me but here are some of the most popular searches:

Some other names I noticed on their site included, Dr. Phil, Suze Orman ( worth $35 million), Huge Hufner, Mark  Zuckerberg (worth $6.9 billion) according to that site, and many more.  What I thought was interesting was there was a random celebrity button that, when pushed, would pull up random people that you may or may not have thought of in your quest for financial knowledge.

How reliable is the data?  According to their site, “All information presented on CelebrityNetWorth.com is gathered from sources which are thought to be reliable, but the viewer should not assume that such information is up to date or completely accurate or final. CelebrityNetWorth does not assume responsibility for any errors in the information it presents on this site.   All information on this site is based solely on public information and is subject to change without notice.”

If you are interested in finding out more about celebrity personalities like Chris Rock, Dwight Shrute, Ari Gold and more, click here

For more about celebrity net worth being knocked off line, click here.

For more information about increasing your own net worth, click here:  How to Reinvent Your Career.