evaluation of agency theory

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  • evaluation of agency theory
    • supporting evidence
      • 1a) milgrams research
        • in 1963 found that 100% of ppt would administer shock of 300v to a confederate as a punishment who made a mistake on a word task. found 65% would go to 450 v
          • in terms of agency theory - this clearly supports milligrams suggestion that in the face of a legitimate authority figure, people are likely to carry out orders, deposit high level of moral strain
      • 1b) hofling et al 1966
        • 22 nurses (hospital) instructed to give patient unfamiliar drug, order was given over phone by an unfamiliar doctor
          • results: 21/22 administered drug, they broke rules of following order over phone and administeringunfamiliar drug
            • this shows that legitimate authority figures still exert influence over phone
      • applictaion to the military
        • milgram maintained that when bonding factors outweigh moral strain- disobedience followed
          • the military devise and use strategies to reduce moral strain to ensure soldiers follow orders
        • shows that  authority figure communication can minimise moral strain - ensuring solider reminds in agentic state even when ordered top torture
    • refuting evidence
      • Gina Perry 2012
        • questioned the internal validity of the experiment.
          • said that ppt could see through deception.
            • when looking through archives at Yale, found evidence that ppt knew shocks weren't real. new =evidence + 60% disobeyed experimenter
      • Rank and Jacobsen 1977
        • a weakness of the theory = agentic shift isn't inevitable
          • did a study with nurse found 16/18 nurses failed to obey doctor who told to give overdose of valium
            • doctor = legitimate source of authority.
            • nurses = remained autonomous
            • nurses considered themselves responsible
            • study took place in natural environment-more applicable to real life studies
      • social identity theory ; an alternative theory to obedience
        • reicher et al 2012
          • explained obedience using  concept of ' engaged followership
            • suggested that people obey leaders who are seen as part of their 'social group' therefore followers 'identify'; with their leader
              • disobedience can be explained by this because disobedience = failure to identify with leader
          • this offers better explanation to why/when people disobey- something AT lacks


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