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.

Controlling Emotions at Work: Part of Core Employment Skills?

 

Lesley Wright’s recent article in the Arizona Republic offered some insight into a new book by author and ASU professor Vincent Waldron.  Waldron’s book, titled, “Communicating Emotion at Work”, due later this year, will include information from his 20 years of studying emotions in the workplace.

In the book, “It’s Not You It’s Your Personality” similar topics are covered in chapters about emotional intelligence and concern for impact.  Concern for impact may be defined as how much we care about how others perceive us.  In the Arizona Republic article, “Waldron argues that emotional communication should be a core employment skill.”  Emotions are a buzz word in the workplace since Daniel Goleman helped increase the popularity of emotional intelligence with his book about why emotional intelligence could matter more than IQ. Books about emotions in the workplace can be a very effective tool to help explain why people act the way they do.  This can be very important, especially in a team setting.  As more companies are creating teams, understanding one’s fellow employees and their emotions can be critical to the success of a team and their projects.

Some of the things that Waldron pointed out in his interview with Wright tied into having concern for impact which can be an important part of one’s success in the workplace. Waldron claims, “The theme of this book is that emotions, both positive and negative, have in a sense evolved to serve a purpose. Emotional communication is a tool for making our organizations and our lives richer, more moral, more humane and potentially building better workplaces. Sometimes that means regulating and suppressing emotions. So we need to be competent at understanding the emotions and learning to regulate them. I’m sort of arguing for a heightened awareness of how emotion makes us good. I don’t think there is any competitive disadvantage to being emotionally competent.”

What is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Personality Type? See How Your Personality Compares to Theirs

Have you ever wondered if you shared a personality type with a famous celebrity?  While it is very important to learn about our own personalities, it can also be very helpful to learn about other people’s personalities as well.  By looking at famous celebrities and their personality types, it can help us recognize qualities that we may possess that can be helpful or hurtful to our own success.

People are often described as being introverts or extroverts.  How can you tell which one you are?  One way is to answer the following question:  Do you find that you often speak before you have had a chance to really think about what it is you want to say?  If so, you may be an extrovert.  Extroverts are often thought of as outgoing because they can be talkative. They can be talkative because they are processing what they are thinking out loud. You might think that Hollywood celebrities must be extroverts.  That is not necessarily true.

Think about how you prefer to process information.  If you think as you are speaking rather than taking time to process the information, you might be an extrovert.  If you are an extrovert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Matthew Perry
  • Tom Hanks
  • Oprah
  • Johnny Depp
  • Robin Williams
  • Bill Cosby
  • Jim Carrey
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Bruce Willis
  • Madonna

There are actually more extroverts in the world than introverts.  Introverts like to take their time to develop their thoughts before they speak.  If you prefer to process information this way, you may be an introvert.  There are far more introverts in Hollywood than you might expect.  If you are an introvert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Britney Spears
  • Brooke Shields
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Julia Roberts
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Lady Gaga
  • Tom Cruise

There are a lot of different personality tests out there that give information about personality preferences.  The previous examples of introverts and extroverts are a part of what the Myers-Briggs MBTI personality test can explain about our personalities.

There are plenty of other assessments that can give insight to who you are.  A lot has been written about birth order, and how it affects personality.  Are you a first-born child?  Then you may be interested in learning that the following celebrities are also first-borns:

  • Jessica Simpson
  • Nick Lachey
  • Josh Hartnett
  • Sylvester Stallone

If you are a middle child, you share that in common with the following celebrities:

  • Elijah Wood
  • Bill Gates
  • Jay Leno
  • Princess Diana

If you are the youngest, you may be interested in seeing which celebrities were last-born children:

  • Halle Berry
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Whoopi Goldberg

If you are an only child, you may relate to these celebrities:

  • Freddie Prinze, Jr.
  • Alicia Keys
  • Tiger Woods
  • Natalie Portman

To find out more about how to analyze your own personality as well as those in others, check out the book: It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.  Millennials and post-boomer groups should be able to relate to many of the examples in the book.  Some of the top personality assessments are explained, along with celebrity examples so that you can visualize the personality traits.  The following personality assessments are also discussed in the book:

You might have noticed that emotional intelligence is covered in the book. Part of being emotionally intelligent is having the ability to understand your own emotions and personality as well as those in others.  The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, includes a fun way to develop your personality skills.  You can also learn tolerance of others’ personalities, while being able to compare your own traits to some famous celebrities as well.

Gaining the Competitive Edge in this Economy May be Based on How Well You Know Your Personality

In a fun, light-hearted manner, dynamic mother and daughter duo, Dr. Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz, share with readers their insight on the importance of understanding personalities. People and their different personalities are what make the workplace fun. Using tried and true personality tests can put modern workers ahead of the game—and ultimately make them successful in their career endeavors. In their just-released book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace, Hamilton and Rothpletz desire to not only have their book be informative, but have readers laugh along the way.

Now Available on Amazon

Quote startThe latest book by Diane Hamilton and Toni Rothpletz helps you become more aware of yourself and puts YOU in charge of your life. ~Mark R. Grandstaff, PhD Award-Winning Scholar, Clinton Appointee, CEO Renaissance ThinkersQuote end

New York, NY (PRWEB) December 8, 2010

What drives the economy? People. People are behind every transaction. Business leaders will be the first to say that the most costly thing in business is personnel turnover. Unemployment is at 9.7%. This has led to an unstable work environment filled with a diverse group of workers. No matter what age, it is necessary to understand the different personality types that workers possess. For post-Baby Boomer generations, it can be a challenge to educate them about personality assessment, while still maintaining their interest. The recently released book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality: Skills to Survive and Thrive in the Modern Workplace, may have the solution.

There is an undying stratification in how the “new generation” of workers relate to their older peers. Technology sets them apart. A feeling of entitlement is out there for many workers. Each experience in life creates the personality a worker brings to the table. Dr. Diane Hamilton and co-author daughter, Toni Rothpletz, argue that if Americans want to be successful, it’s time to look inside and find out what inherently makes them tick. The authors explain how to do this in their fun and sometimes irreverent look at the current workplace.

It is essential for people to understand their own personality and to realize the impact their interactions may have on others. This is becoming increasingly more important as business owners and managers look to keep harmony among workers. Morale is important and if there is friction among personalities, managers are forced to make some tough decisions.

“Toni and I believe that it is the worker’s responsibility to know their own personality and how their responses may be judged by others,” says Hamilton, “If anything, this economy has shown us that it is essential that we take ownership of our roles in the workplace. We wrote this book to help the modern worker learn some important personality skills while still having fun in the process.”

Personality tests can be an informative tool. Myers-Briggs, DISC, The Big Five, Birth Order, Color Tests, Emotional Intelligence and other top personality tests are used by employers to assess potential and current employees. Hamilton and Rothpletz argue that it gives workers a leg up to have these powerful self-learning mechanisms. There are so many personality assessments, it can get confusing to know which one to research. It’s Not You, It’s Your Personality explains the top assessments and shows readers that learning about themselves and their coworkers can be a lot of fun.

Mother/daughter team of Hamilton and Rothpletz, set out to edutain (educate and entertain) their post-Baby Boomer working world audience. If someone has ever wondered how their personality compared to famous celebrities like Lady Gaga or Johnny Depp, they may get some answers. However, one of the most valuable things they will learn from this book is why these personality tests are so important to their success and future ability to get ahead in the working world.

About the Authors:
Diane Hamilton currently teaches bachelor-, master-, and doctoral-level courses for six online universities. Along with her teaching experience, she has a Doctorate Degree in Business Management and more than twenty-five years of business and management-related experience. She is a qualified Myers-Briggs instructor as well as a certified Emotional Intelligence trainer.

Toni Rothpletz has a Bachelor Degree in Global Business Marketing and is currently working on receiving her MBA. She currently works as a business developer/sales executive in the computer industry. Her background includes working in several industries including computer software, identity theft, and social networking organizations.

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

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How to Ace the Job Interview by Understanding Introverts and Extroverts

For those of you who have taken a Myers-Briggs MBTI personality assessment, you may already know if you are an introvert or extrovert.  It gets confusing to some as many say extrovert.  Myers-Briggs uses the term extravert.  What is important is that you understand the differences between how introverts and extroverts/extraverts prefer to process information.  Why is this important to acing the job inteview?  Watch the video below for more answers.

How to Get a Job: Why Employers Value Emotional Intelligence

Check out why it is so important to understand how your emotional intelligence may impact your ability to get a job.  If you are interested in reading the book by Daniel Goleman that I refer to here, it is called Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ.   In our book,  It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I write about the major personality tests that employers use.  We include a very detailed chapter about the importance of understanding emotional intelligence in the workplace.  

How to Market You or Your Product Using Social Media

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane: I just wrote a book that is available through Amazon.  I’m just not sure about the best way to market it?  Any suggestions?
 
That is a good question.  The tips I’m about to give can also be used to market things other than a book. 
 
You could market it through several ways.  I would create a link to it on your site like I have links on my main website to Amazon.  If you don’t want to do that, you could offer it directly from you as a PDF through your site and charge them using PayPal
 
You might want to make a video (3-4 minutes at most) and put it on Youtube.  At the end of the video make mention of a free offer or newsletter and where to go for more information.  If they go to that site, it should be a capture page to get people signed up  to receive free newsletters (through a site like aweber.com) to get them interested in you and your book. 
 
You definitely need to be on Facebook and create fan pages like the ones I have for each of my books there.  See:
 
 
I would be on Twitter as well.  You can tie all of your Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc. accounts into one area on sites like Hootsuite . . . but I like to use Posterous a lot. It is like a blog but it has a great share information toolbar that you can get that and it also allows you to share your updates on multiple sites like Hootsuite does. 
 
If you want to learn about social networking and “how to do it” . . .for a reasonable price you can go to  Letsgetsocial and sign up to get their videos.  I watched them and they are really very informative.  They are designed to teach people how to be media managers but people who don’t want to do the job of media management can learn how to do their own media management from them. 
 
I gave a presentation yesterday to a local group here where others were presenting to career-seekers … they all agreed that Youtube is one of the biggest things you can do to get noticed. 
 
I watched a video a while back on Pitchengine.com about videos and they had some good information.  They are more costly though. You might watch their video for information.  If you are going to spend that kind of money, you need to have a major product to promote.  Books probably won’t have the return to support that. 
 
Talks are another great way to promote your book . . . so are radio interviews.   You can go to radioguestlist.com or other sites like that to find people looking to interview you.
 
Blogging is one of the best ways to get your name out there.   I like to use WordPress because it is free and uncomplicated. 
 
You can also release press releases on prweb or other such sites.  I am on wooeb who also has press releases that are not as expensive.  You can send out free releases on pitchengine.
 
You might check out some books . . . .I liked a book called Career Renegade . . . had some good ideas.  (on a different side topic . . .I liked the book The Happiness Advantage written by ex Harvard professor – very entertaining)

How to Get a Job Marketing You as the Product

Click on the picture below to watch the video of Dr. Diane Hamilton’s presentation:  “How to Get a Job Marketing You as the Product”:

Millennial Job-Seekers Have Unique Expectations

 

Millennials in the workforce are the focus of many articles lately.  I deal a lot with post-boomer generations due to the fact that I teach for several different online universities.  Millennials have been singled-out as having different personality issues. In all three of my books, I address how personality issues affect our expectations and preferences. 

Tomorrow I will be delivering a talk at a local university’s annual forum.  The topic will be, “Obtaining Your Dream Job by Marketing YOU as the Product”.  I often give talks about how to find jobs and market talents. Tomorrow’s topic will be specifically focused on a younger generation.  Many in the audience will be millennials. When talking to post-boomer generations, it is important to realize they have unique expectations.

Many claim that millennials have entitlement issues.  Sixty Minutes did a nice job on a piece they did titled: The Millennials Are Coming.  In that article they stated: You now have a generation coming into the workplace that has grown up with the expectation that they will automatically win, and they’ll always be rewarded, even for just showing up.  

In another interesting article by ere.net, the following questions were actually asked by millennials in job interviews.  

  • If I don’t like my boss, how can I get that changed?
  • How many hours per day will I be expected to work?
  • Do you allow the use of Facebook?
  • If I don’t like my pay, who do I talk to about fixing that?
  • If we do reading for the job, can we do it at the gym during work hours?
  • Who will be my mentor and coach while I’m learning my new job?
  • What does the company do to make work fun?

For anyone that is older than the millennials, these questions may come across as humorous or brazen.  However, they are a good example of how different newer generations may be, in regard to their work expectations. 

In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I explain how newer generations are often seen as the “me” generation.  Jean Twenge did a nice job of addressing this in her book, Generation Me

In my talk tomorrow, I will be discussing the importance that companies put on emotional intelligence when looking at potential new hires.  Part of having emotional intelligence is having the ability to have good interpersonal skills and empathy.  The interviewee must be able to “read” the interviewer and present themselves accordingly. 

Generational differences can be a big issue that many millennials need to be aware of.  Asking questions like the ones listed above may not endear you to the interviewer . . . unless, of course, that interviewer is a millennial with similar expectations as well.  My guess is, that probably won’t be the case. 

If you didn’t see anything wrong with the above list of questions, my suggestion to you is to do some research into proper interviewing etiquette.  I wrote about the mistakes people make in interviews in my book, How to Reinvent Your Career

For more reading, check out articles like:

You May be Looking for a Job . . . But it is Your Emotional Intelligence That Needs Work  

Millennial Workers – New Ways of Doing Things  

How is Your Job Satisfaction? It May Be Based on Your Personality Type 

The Happiness Advantage: Not What I Expected . . . It was Better

I have been reading the new book, The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. I have read a lot of books about personalities and psychology when doing research for my book: It’s Not You . . .It’s Your Personality. I noticed an ad for this book on AOL and thought I’d check it out. I’m glad I did because if I had seen this book, I may not have picked it up.

The cover does not do it any justice. The plain orange cover, containing what I assume is a partial smiley face, doesn’t really portray how interesting and entertaining this book is. I immediately liked the author’s style and content. He comes across as someone who would be very approachable.

The author, who not only went to Harvard, but taught there as well, comes across as much more of a common-man, than I expected. I mean that in the best of ways. He writes in a light, entertaining way and still educates the reader. Sometimes when you hear big name university instructors have written things, you imagine that their writing might be stuffy, and have too strong of a scholarly or dry tone. This is not the case with this author’s work. Achor has a strong idea of how to connect with the reader. He must have been a wonderful instructor. Perhaps that is why his course in happiness was one of the most popular Harvard course offerings at the time.

The book is about using his 7 principles learned from psychology to be happier and more successful. Filled with anecdotes about his travels and speaking experiences, Achor does a nice job of holding your interest. It is a very optimistic book about how we can all be happier if we follow these 7 principles.

What I really enjoyed about the book, other than the lighter tone, was that he explains some very interesting psychological experiments that are the basis of his work.

I highly suggest checking it out.