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Enterprise Transformation

A Pragmatic Approach Using POET

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The Milgram Experiment

Humans are trained to take direction from authority figures from very early in life. An infamous experiment conducted in 1961 by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, measured this willingness to obey authority figures by instructing people to perform acts that conflicted with their morals. Participants were told to play the role of “teacher” and administer electric shocks to “the learner,” who was supposedly in a different room, every time they answered a question incorrectly. In reality, no one was actually being shocked. Instead, Milgram played recordings to make it sound like the learner was in a great deal of pain and wanted to end the experiment. Despite these protests, many participants continued the experiment when the authority figure urged them to, increasing the voltage after each wrong answer until some eventually administered what would be lethal electric shocks.

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Questions to ponder...

Do people in your Enterprise do what they are told to do, rather than or what they should do?

Can you think of examples where this has happened in the past?

Who were they? What was the impact? Why do you think they acted in this way?

What needs to change to reduce the likelihood of it happening in the future?

Who needs to drive that change?

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