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RMC and the Stanford Prison Experiment Film

stoker dave

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It has been some decades since I was at RMC but just some days since I saw the film "The Stanford Prison Experiment".  The film is described on Wikipedia as:

Stanford University psychology professor Philip Zimbardo conducts a psychological experiment to test the hypothesis that the personality traits of prisoners and guards are the chief cause of abusive behavior between them. In the experiment, Zimbardo selects eighteen male students to participate in a 14-day prison simulation to take roles as prisoners or guards. They receive $15 per day. The experiment is conducted in a mock prison located in the basement of Jordan Hall, the university's psychology department building. The students who are guards become abusive, as does Zimbardo himself, as they immerse themselves in their assigned roles. Two students who play the role of prisoners quit the experiment early due to psychological meltdowns, and only after being chastised and roughly brought back to reality by Zimbardo's girlfriend Christina Maslach. Zimbardo abruptly stops the entire experiment after only six days.

While watching the film, I was a bit shocked at how closely the actions of the guards (and prisoners) mirrored some of the experiences of senior cadets (and recruits) at RMC. 

Anyone else see the film and have similar thoughts? 

 

OldSolduer

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Some people haven't got the "people skills" to be good leaders or supervisors. Leaders - good ones - don't grow on trees. Good leaders are first recognized as having leadership potential then developed to become leaders.

This is where the jail systems fall down. They don't develop leaders, they develop "managers" who couldn't manage there way out of a soaking wet disintegrating paper bag.
Discipline amongst staff is non existent, and the union protects the dead wood. People who should have been told to hit the highway continue to work here and actually make the place worse.
 

PuckChaser

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stoker dave said:
While watching the film, I was a bit shocked at how closely the actions of the guards (and prisoners) mirrored some of the experiences of senior cadets (and recruits) at RMC. 

Anyone else see the film and have similar thoughts?

I can't speak to RMC, but what I learned from watching the film is that if you give someone absolute power over an individual with no training or supervision, than that someone may start demonstrating behaviours we find abhorrent. I took it as a leadership lesson that when I empower my junior leaders to have mission command, however there needs to be a healthy dose of "trust by verify" and mentorship sessions to ensure A. the mission gets completed and B. its completed within CAF rules/regulations/ethics and values. Lord of the Flies happens all too fast sometimes, and a lot of the ethical lapses in recent memory in the CAF can be directly tied to poor or absent leadership/supervision.
 

Good2Golf

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PuckChaser said:
I can't speak to RMC, but what I learned from watching the film is that if you give someone absolute power over an individual with no training or supervision, than that someone may start demonstrating behaviours we find abhorrent. I took it as a leadership lesson that when I empower my junior leaders to have mission command, however there needs to be a healthy dose of "trust by verify" and mentorship sessions to ensure A. the mission gets completed and B. its completed within CAF rules/regulations/ethics and values. Lord of the Flies happens all too fast sometimes, and a lot of the ethical lapses in recent memory in the CAF can be directly tied to poor or absent leadership/supervision.

Excellent points, PuckChaser!  Hand in hand with “you can delegate/assign responsibility, but not accountability” - mission command is not ‘laisser faire’, the mentor ship and supervision you note remains the responsibility of the leader.

Regards
G2G
 
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