Speaking back isn’t in my job description

Posted: June 20, 2011 in Responsible business
Tags: , , ,

No one expects heroic virtue in day to day situations. Granted, no one expects dramatic moral failings, either but, faced with an immoral situation, how does one react?

In a famous 1971 experiment at Stanford University, Dr. Phillip Lombardo asked volunteers to play the part of prison guards and inmates. He then began issuing instructions for the guards to humiliate the prisoners (it’s hard to imagine the study passing present-day ethics standards).

The guards all followed the script, as did the prisoners for that matter, with no one standing up to question the status quo.

Two lessons from this: Firstly, the hero we expect from movies does not usually turn up. Secondly, we are foolish to settle for decision-making structures that load the dice against such a person in the first place.


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