The phrase destructive obedience refers to the idea of a person following the orders considered to be immoral, which later on will cause them a lot of regret and distress. This usually occurs with conformity which basically is the adoption of behaviors and attitudes of others even though they are against a person’s own inclinations. Factors such as prestige or the appearance of authority or power have a direct influence on destructive obedience. Obedience could also occur for instance to a superior officer such as in the military.
2. The following are strategies that may help resist destructive obedience-educating the public about dangers of the same, publicly promote and encourage dissension and lastly inoculation which is early intervention in the life of the individual.
3. Dynamics of social influence refers to the process by which people revise their beliefs, adapt their opinion or change their behavior due to social interactions with others. There are two procedures to gain compliance that usually rest with Cialdini’s consistency principle. the foot-in-the-door procedure which involves making a small request and once compliance is gained, a larger request is made (which was originally desired).This normally works since refusing the larger request is not consistent with allowing the first request. The other technique is that of lowball procedure which gives a very ideal deal to an individual. Once accepted, the terms are changed so that they become less advantageous. Thus the first commitment makes it complex to decline the changed deal since subsequent decline would not be consistent with the earlier acceptance.
4. a) Commitment (and consistency)-Cialdini claims that we have a deep seated desire to be always consistent. Due to this reason, the minute we have committed to doing something, we are more likely to it. For example you are more likely to support a comrade’s project proposal if you had been interested the first time s/he explained to you about his/her ideas.
b) Reciprocity-Being human, we are generally inclined to returning favors, treat others the way they have treated us and pay back our debts. According to this idea, we can be led to feel obliged to offer discounts or concessions to others if they have initially offered them to us. This is because we feel indebted to them. For instance, if a supplier has offered you a discount before you may feel indebted to buy from his store.
c) Liking-Cialdini argues that we are most likely to be influenced by the people we like or love. Likability may portray itself in several forms such as people who are similar to us, those who give us compliments and simply the people we trust. For example companies that make use of sales agents from the local community apply this principle with tremendous success.
d) Social proof-This idea mostly relies on the sense people have in safety in numbers. For instance we are most likely to work late if our colleagues in the team are doing the same, eat in a joint if it looks busy and contribute money in a jar if it already has some money in it.
e) Authority-people will feel a sense of obligation or duty to individuals in positions of influence or authority. This is the main reason why advertisers of pharmaceuticals use doctors to spearhead their campaigns and the reason why most people will execute duties requested by their managers.
f) Scarcity-This principle claims that things are more likeable and attractive when we stand to lose an opportunity to get them on favorable terms or when their availability is limited. For example people will tend to buy an item immediately if they are told that it is the last one or rather a special offer is expiring soon.
Gigerenzer Gerd, Todd Peter. Simple heuristics that make us smart. London: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Stanley, Milgram. Obedience to authority. New York: Harper Publishers, 1974.