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Agency Theory THIS THEORY IS BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF AN “AGENTIC STATE” Milgram based the theory of Obedience (i.e. Agency theory) on the results of his.

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Presentation on theme: "Agency Theory THIS THEORY IS BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF AN “AGENTIC STATE” Milgram based the theory of Obedience (i.e. Agency theory) on the results of his."— Presentation transcript:

1 Agency Theory THIS THEORY IS BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF AN “AGENTIC STATE” Milgram based the theory of Obedience (i.e. Agency theory) on the results of his many obedience experiments

2 Agency theory suggests That when participants are giving shocks the person feels they are acting as the agent of the person in charge.

3 Autonomous State The agentic state is the opposite of Autonomy which means being under ones own control and being in charge of yourself.

4 Milgram (74) claims that our social systems encourage high levels of obedience.

5 Cognitive psychologists would say we have developed a schema for avoiding confrontation. In Milgram’s study, slipping into an agentic state whereby you do as your told and don’t think, helps you to cope with any conflicts, and avoid any direct confrontation.

6 Psycho-biologists have tried to explain this in evolutionary terms suggesting that we may have evolved to avoid unnecessary aggression. To survive in social groups on occasions obedience is necessary.

7 thinkact. Milgram claims that when we see ourselves as agents acting for someone else we no longer think we just act.

8 Strengths Milgram’s experiment can be used to support agency theory. It does provide an explanation of why people continued to give electric shocks just because another told them to. Other experiments into obedience such as Hoffling’s have also found very high levels of obedience to immoral orders. They can also be used to support agency theory. It is also possible to use agency theory within the context of the psycho-biological approach and evolutionary theory.

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10 Weaknesses There is no physical evidence that such a state exists. For example there are no Brain scans or e.e.g.’s that show when a person is or isn’t in the agentic state. Many of Milgrams participants do seemed to have been able to move out of the state and refuse at some point. The theory doesn’t explain how or why this may happen. The theory is very vague in many ways. Milgram is not clear with regard to the cognitive or the physiological features of this so called agentic state. French and Ravens social power theory provides an alternative theory of why people obey.


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