Monday, 5 September 2011

Stanford experiment, bullies and public info announcements!

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard.
Twenty-four students were selected out of 75 to play the prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. Roles were assigned randomly. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond what even Zimbardo himself expected, leading the "officers" to display authoritarian measures and ultimately to subject some of the prisoners to torture. In turn, many of the prisoners developed passive attitudes and accepted physical abuse, and, at the request of the guards, readily inflicted punishment on other prisoners who attempted to stop it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his capacity as "Prison Superintendent", lost sight of his role as psychologist and permitted the abuse to continue as though it were a real prison. Five of the prisoners were upset enough by the process to quit the experiment early, and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days. The experimental process and the results remain controversial.

OK, This is a pretty hardcore example of how human nature can turn people into monsters but it does have good foundational roots in peoples attitudes in other scenarios. So if we put this experiment into the context of non military non prison but a normal working environment what do we see?
What we see is individuals in the work place who may or may not have narcissistic tendencies taking on roles of perceived greater importance. They have delusions of grandeur and feel that they must be obeyed and indeed on occasion take feelings of satisfaction from workplace bullying.
 This bullying does not have to take the form of physical abuse but usually takes the form of minor psychological abuse, Making the individual feel more important than they really are, whilst at the same time trying to make other employees having feelings of low self esteem.
It is almost like play ground bullying and other employees can get sucked into the problem by encouraging the ill treatment thereby making sure that it doesn’t happen to them.
Signs of this type of individual can with a small amount of intuition be easily spotted..
"A typical bully has trouble resolving problems with others and also has trouble academically.
 He or she usually has negative attitudes and beliefs about others, feels negatively toward himself [or] herself, comes from a family environment characterised by conflict and poor parenting, Generally an underachiever without many goals in life or the will or desire for self improvement.
The individual will break the rules of physics by spreading gossip and rumour as fact, at speeds exceeding the speed of light and whilst I said at the top of this section they may or may not exhibit narcissistic tendencies, the very probably will.

The best way of dealing with these individuals it to take them into a dark alley and beat them to within an inch of their miserable lives with a big stick, however been as that is not really a viable or legal option here are a few pointers,
 If you can, confront the bully in a professional manner, but only if your physical safety isn't threatened. Don't sink to his or her level. Stay as calm as possible. Don't yell or threaten. Often bullies are looking for this type of confrontation and it will encourage them to come back for more. Don't cry or show weakness either. That's usually what the bully is after in the first place.

Don't try to win over other people to your side. The way in which you handle the situation will allow them to make their own judgements.
 Don't allow the bully to intimidate you or make you feel bad about yourself. You know your true worth. Don't forget what that is.

Do your job and do it well. The workplace bully wants you to fail and when you don't he or she will be defeated.

Make sure your superiors are aware of your work. Workplace bullies often try to spread the word that you  are not doing your job well and will even go as far as to report the smallest infractions to your boss. Your actions will carry more weight than his or her words.

Don't allow the bully to isolate you from your colleagues. Keep up your workplace friendships.
This public information announcement has been brought to you by the letter F (uck) and Y (ou) and will be followed by the word asshole.
Peace out yall. THE BAGSTAXXX

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