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Just as the Milgram experiments have been used to demonstrate the weakness of character in the face of situation-based pressures, Zimbardo’s experiments have been used to demonstrate the fragility of moral and personal identity. Powerful roles overwhelm moral integrity and conscience; individuals give way to the corrupting demands of immoral roles.

Nevertheless, Milgram and Zimbardo both pull up well short of this extreme position. Milgram talks of a former subject who used the knowledge he gained about himself as a subject in the obedience to authority experiment to strengthen his character and successfully take a leadership role in the protest movement against the Vietnam war. And Milgram also profiles two individuals who offered firm and resolute disobedience when asked to continue the experiment over the objections of the victim/learner. When the experimenter prompted Jan Rensaleer that he “had no other choice [but to continue],” he replied, “I came here on my own free will.” Gretchen Brandt, a woman who spent her youth in Nazi Germany, responded similarly. To the same prompt she replied, “I think we are here on our own free will.” During the post-experiment debriefing, both emphasized not giving over responsibility for their actions to others and acknowledged that their experience with the Nazis (Rensaleer lived in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation) may have helped them in carrying out their acts of disobedience. In reflecting on her reason for disobedience, Brandt also added, “Perhaps we have seen too much pain.”

Zimbardo also thinks that individuals can develop strategies, skills, and practices to keep hold of their moral selves in the face of strong situation and role-based pressures. These consist of exercises to gain distance and perspective on the situation and to recall oneself to one’s character and personality. Here are some examples from The Lucifer Effect of his “Ten-Step Program:”453-454

  • “I am responsible.”
  • “I will assert my unique identity.”
  • “I respect just authority but rebel against unjust authority.”our second item here
  • “I will not sacrifice personal or civic freedoms for the illusion of security.”

From gyges, milgram, and zimbardo to moral ecology

These thought experiments raise the question of the influence of environment on character and on individual agency. As we have repeatedly seen this semester, the environments of the organization (ethical, technological, organizational, and economic) all constrain agency in certain ways and enable or empower it in others. This module is designed to help you identify how the organizational environment creates a moral ecology that constrains and enables your ability to act. (You can be pressured to act against conscience as the Milgram experiments show. And you can lose your sense of self in a particularly power role and role-supportive environment.) It is also designed to suggest strategies that increase the strength of moral character by identifying different organizational environments (finance-, customer-, and quality-driven corporations)and calling upon you to develop special skills that help you to keep moral and personal commitments in tact.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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Source:  OpenStax, The environments of the organization. OpenStax CNX. Feb 22, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11447/1.9
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