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Corporations Ignoring Unethical Financial Activities

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Discuss how regular employees of certain large corporations (such as Enron or Goldman Sachs, etc.) could ignore or support highly unethical and/or illegal financial activities, devised by their company's leadership, resulting in a massive negative economic impact on a large portion of the population.

Frame your discussion using the Milgram experiment as a resource.

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Solution Summary

This solution will assist the student in discussing how employees of a large corporation could ignore unethical and/or illegal financial activities. Discussion is framed using the Milgram Experiment.

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The Milgram experiment, being a psychological test, contributes to sociology in that it informs how people behave in society.

I present three points that I have drawn from the experiment:
1. The issue of authority
2. The issue of humanity/inhumanity
3. The issue of legitimacy and power

Milgram, himself, states that "The dilemma posed by the conflict between conscience and authority inheres in the very nature of society...For the problem is not "authoritarianism" as a mode of political organization or a set of psychological attitudes but authority itself." (p. 179)

When people submit to authority, it is usually because they do not feel or don't want to feel pressured to make their own decisions. These people believe that not having to think for themselves takes away the worries of attempting to decide what to do. These people usually place too much confidence in the leaders to make the final decisions believing that what the leaders choose is appropriately the "final truth." This goes back to Freud's philosophy pertaining to the id, ego, and superego with regards to how we deal with authority, however, I wouldn't go into further discussion on Freud. (If you want to explore Freud further, you can read the following article: http://www.bookslut.com/psychoslut/2007_10_011780.php).

Authority also ...

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