A shocking omission? The curious absence of Milgram’s obedience experiments from organizational behaviour textbooks

Organisation Studies

Speaker:Dr Todd Bridgman and Professor Stephen Cummings, School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington
Date: Wednesday 15 November 2017
Time: 13:30
Location: Building One, Constantine Leventis

Further details

The experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram in the 1960s, which measured the willingness of participants to obey an authority figure and administer what they thought were electric shocks to a stranger, have contributed greatly to an understanding of obedience, the social mechanisms that cause it, as well as its potentially devastating consequences. The experiments are covered extensively in introductory textbooks in social psychology, a field from which organization behaviour draws heavily from. However, they are largely absent from OB textbooks, despite Milgram’s explanations for why people obey being of great relevance to understanding human dynamics at work. In this seminar I consider the purposes and interests served by that absence and make the case for why management and organization studies needs Milgram more than ever before. Bio: Todd Bridgman is a senior lecturer in the School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington and currently an academic visitor of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His research on the representation of management history within management education appears in A New History of Management (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Human Relations and Academy of Management Learning & Education. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Management Learning.