Indiana Wesleyan University
4SP2022 Psychology of Leadership (LDR-370-01A)
Dr. Michael Linville
May 9, 2022
The Stanford Prison experiments and the Milgram experiment are two of the most controversial experiments. The experiments explored taking orders and receiving orders and what people would do if they were in an unbalanced relationship where one issues orders while the other receives (Aroyo et al., 2018, August). However, the experiments focused on understanding human nature relatively rawly. This Paper will offer an in-depth personal insight based on the two experiments on social agency in my life and how the social dynamics influence others.
In my life, I have observed social influence several times, especially at home and at work. I have witnessed social influence positively at home. Coming from a Christian background, we are taught to respect and obey our parents and elders. Anyone more senior than you is classified as your elder in our family. Parents are the two people in power, just like in the Milgram experiment. They are responsible for the day-to-day governing of a home. They lay down rules and orders that we follow due to the parents’ heavy and “powerful” positions in our households. The social influence aspect comes in how we execute our duties as told by our parents with little to no question. It is a master-servant relationship. Like in the Stanford and Milgram experiments, those receiving the orders were in little to no position to question the orders. The orders tend to be positive as we are ordered to read the Bible, go to church, and perform or do household chores, among others. The aspect of social influence tends to hand over most people’s heads heavily when it comes to their parents. Most people have a reduced say in what goes on in their homes because they simply take and follow orders.
People are not merely programmed to behave based on how the social groups behave (Smeulers, 2020). Other internal factors overall shape the behavior of an individual. Taking the example of terrorism, both external and internal factors play a role in a person becoming a terrorist. Personal beliefs that one has developed can play a crucial role in one’s behavior. Internal factors such as abuse, family relationships, and unreasonable expectations influence most people’s behavior. The mannerisms or behaviors based on their social groups arise due to the modification of thought (Smeulers, 2020). Forces beyond their control force people to modify their thinking to fit in a particular group or setting. This means that if people can modify their thinking, they can also avoid modifying it to fit certain contexts (Smeulers, 2020). This disqualifies the notion that people are destined to behave based on their social groups. Spirituality may address this issue because the Holy Spirit gives people knowledge and wisdom. The power of discerning good and bad also comes from the Holy Spirit. If people are to abide by Christ, then the Holy Spirit will abide in them and possess power. Power to discern good from bad, knowledge, wisdom to order them, etc.
Understanding: a good leader ought to be understood. The social dynamics state that people are bound to follow orders, and if a good leader is more understanding, they will stick to rules and orders.
Developing one’s followers: a good leader should have their team back. He or she achieves high-performing teams through understanding how the roles interface with each other and ensuring that he or she keeps communication lines open (Jacobsen & Salomonsen, 2020). The followers ought to know that the leader or I care about their contributions as a leader. The leader ought to empower team members with the skills, information, and resources needed to perform their jobs effectively.
Educating oneself: as a leader, one ought to improve their leadership skills and style and constantly evaluate their leadership qualities, strengths, and weaknesses. All this will help one become a good leader.
To become a better follower, one should develop listening skills, open-mindedness, critical thinking, and willingness to follow the rules (Jacobsen & Salomonsen, 2020). With critical thinking and open-mindedness, the individual will become a good follower, allowing for critical thinking. One will not follow the rules and orders blindly because one ought to follow them.
In conclusion, the Milgram and Stanford experiments opened people’s eyes to the concept of social influence. Social influence is everywhere; in my case, I witnessed social influence at home. How my parents managed to weigh their power and authority on us positively is one of the greatest examples of social influence. As a leader, communication, critical thinking, and educating oneself are the greatest strategies.