“social construction of compliance” (Adams and Balfour 2009, 9)
“…ordinary human beings have a feeling of duty to an organization or hierarchical order in which they act as principal agents.” (Rendtorff 2014, p.55)
“It is thus impossible to, following Kant, state that this evil was a result of an “evil will.” Rather, it came from ordinary and incomprehensible thoughtlessness where no one really cared for the consequences of the actions. The individual perpetrator was just a part of a long chain where the distance to the victims both physically and psychologically resulted in their invisibility. He or she was actually not aware of contributing to the killing of innocent victims.” (Rendtorff 2014, p.53)
“people involved in modern organizations…can be dominated by technical and instrumental organizational goals without really being aware of it. Dimensions of this creation of evil include acting at a distance, masking evil with language and technology, and compartmentalizing and socializing people into compliance with the technical analytical mindset of the organization within the social dynamics of compliance in strong hierarchical orders (Adams and Ingersol 1990).” (Rendtorff 2014, p.52)
“the banality of evil it is not possible to explain the Holocaust by criminalizing or pathologizing the Nazis (Finkelstein 1998, 100; Finkelstein and Bettina 1998; Finkelstein 2000). The Holocaust should rather be explained in terms of a complex interaction between technical rationality, lack of moral sensibility, and total obedience by people who can be considered as normal according to conventional psychological standards.” (Rendtorff 2014, p.49)
“destroys the space for reflective judgment, resulting in actions without moral sensibility or
ethical imagination. This helps to explain how well-educated bureaucrats and administrators…are able to commit evil actions by combining obedience to the system with lack of concern for human dignity.” (Rendtorff 2014, p.48)
“Tyranny is a product of group processes, not individual pathology.” (Haslem & Reicher, 2005, para 4)
This general accomplishment of rationalizing tendency has been codified and institutionalized within modern bureaucratic hierarchy. In this, the silencing of morality to maintain efficiency is a primary concern of businesses and government. (Though if this is recognized by an actor, it becomes self-censorship, if they bring it up to the correct mechanism – see Snowden – and are told to remain silent, this is top-down-censorship.)
“Ordinary people simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.” (Dr. Stanley Milgram)
Hierarchy causes: the domination of the individual, timidity, conservatism (not political), technicism, goal conflict, conformity, stifles judgment, limits innovation, alienation, and anomie. Max Weber identified hierarchy as a source of domination, which destroys individual personality through dehumanizing regimentation. In such it makes the individual feel out of control, once internalized this feeling causes us to buck personal responsibility for our actions within the hierarchy in order to maintain our self-conception and protect our own belief that we have not acted outside of our personal ethics and moral preferences. Vertical authority thereby dampens our ability to take responsibility for the moral consequences of our actions through this loss of individual choice and preference. It does this by shattering and fragmenting human experience to the extent that any sense of reason, meaning, or morality is lost. In becoming and agent of authority individuals displace the responsibility for their actions onto that authority.
Organizations designed in a rigidly hierarchical structure causes members to exhibit less autonomy – which is a sine qua non for higher levels of moral development. (White, 1999)
The more malevolent of destructive the purpose, the easier it will be to design an organization to pursue it.
Individuals who have internalized a role within an organization no longer engage in a conscious process of self-interested rational calculation, but tend to surrender their personal moral choices and preferences and supplant them with the those of the role, organization, and society. This can be seen in the case of police…..
Bureaucracy and anonymity exacerbate diffusion of responsibility.
Vertical authority (hierarchization) exacerbates obedience to authority and displacing moral agency onto organizational superiors. (Hughs, 1937, p.406; Paken, 2004; Coffee, 1981)
Organizational identification, group loyalty, and framing or euphemistic language can all affect the likelihood and extent to which individuals justify their actions. Moral disengagement, hypocrisy, and licensing are intrapersonal consequences of social facilitators of moral justification. (Moore, 2013, p.64)
Obeying Authority figures allows us to relinquish personal agency for our own actions.
If in a group setting and defiance of authority is subtle it will do little to reduce compliance. (Burger, 2009; Milgram, 1963, p.74; Brief, Buttram, Elliot, Reizenstein & McCline, 1995; Brief, Dietz, Cohen, Pugh, Vaslow, 2000; Moore 2013)
People who are given roles of aggressive power over others can begin to display pathologically aggressive behavior against the powerless (Staub 1989)
“The organizational process implied in this “Lucifer effect,” where good and evil merge, combines system and situation, obedience to authority, group-think, dehumanization, and gradual escalation from little violations to a high level of abuse (Zimbardo 2007, 355).” (Rendtorff 2014, p.58)