PSYCH232 Lecture Notes - Plausible Deniability, Scapegoating, Psychopathy
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Corporate Evil (Evil at the Organizational setting)
An extended Case study (from Darley, 1996)
What Organizations do harms?
o “Social Control” (e.g. military, government, peace makers or the authority) versus
“Civilian” (e.g.: corporations, community organizations, not part of the official
o Between social and civilian are educational and religious organizations
o All have the capacity for evil behaviors or harm regardless of the type of organizations
How do Organizations do harm?
1. Deliberate harm
Screwing over the employee. “I really don’t care about employee working
conditions”; To what degree are they interested in employee safety? Or are they
more interested in maximizing profit?
Screwing over the manufacturers. (Unfair to manufacturers)
“That information didn’t cross my desk”
no one could have necessary known the bad doings of the organizations (either
intentional or unintentional)
deceitful through products
The use of cellphone example – unknown long term effects that will not be
evident after 10 or 15 years in which we do not know
How do Individuals Get Sucked in?
0) Self-selection/recruitment – Enron; e.g. the recruitment of psychopath
Diffusion of information- many cases could result to neglectful harm; who receives the
Diffusion and fragmentation of responsibility – how you perceive your own role in relation on
how you perceive others’ roles in the organization; not clear who should be doing what or who
is supposed to be blamed
o Passive diffusion - you assumed that somebody else in the organization is taking care of
the problem; you assume that it is being taken cared elsewhere (e.g.: bystander effect)
o Active diffusion of responsibility
Scapegoating – you set things up so your subordinates will take the fall or wrong
doing (e.g. plausible deniability; sounds like PECS evil personality)
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