The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To

By Robert Hoyk; Paul Hersey | Go to book overview

TRAP 42 :
AUTHORITARIANISM

SOMETIMES leaders can have personalities that are authoritarian. This trait can actually be measured by a questionnaire that psychologist Bob Altemeyer has created—the RWA-Scale. These leaders often grew up in a family that emphasized “dominance and obedience to authority.” [Italics added.] As children, authoritarian leaders were taught to be “respectful” and “dutiful,” and if they disobeyed, they would often receive severe punishment. An example of one of the questions on the RWA-Scale is, “Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn.” Authoritarian leaders tend to be “aggressive or punitive” in their style.1 They tend to adhere strongly to “traditional social norms.”2

Executives who have authoritarian traits dominate groups, are highly directive, and tend to squelch any dissent. They have a difficult time tolerating opposition, disagreement, or resistance to their ideas and direction. When dissent is stifled, the influence of conformity (trap 11) is magnified. Remember, in regard to conformity, if just one person voices disagreement with the group opinion, the influence of conformity drops by a factor of 28 percent! The authoritarian leader, then, fortifies the trap of conformity by squashing any dissent within the group.

-95-

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The Ethical Executive: Becoming Aware of the Root Causes of Unethical Behavior: 45 Psychological Traps That Every One of Us Falls Prey To
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • The Ethical Executive xv
  • Trapped! 1
  • Why Do Traps Exist, and What Are They? 6
  • Why This Isn’t Just Another Business Ethics Book 8
  • A Word about Research 13
  • Part I - Primary Traps 15
  • Trap 1 - Obedience to Authority 17
  • Trap 2 - Small Steps 21
  • Sidesteppingr Esponsibility 23
  • Trap 6 - Competition 27
  • Self-Interest 31
  • Trap 10 - Conflicts of Loyalty 37
  • Trap 11 39
  • Trap 12 - Conformity Pressure 43
  • Trap 13 - "Don’t Make Waves" 44
  • Trap 14 - Self-Enhancement 46
  • Trap 15 - Time Pressure 48
  • Trap 16 - Decision Schemas 51
  • Trap 17 - Enacting a Role 53
  • Trap 18 - Power 55
  • Trap 19 - Justification 57
  • Trap 20 - Obligation 60
  • Part II - Defensive Traps 61
  • Annihilation of Guilt 63
  • Minimizing 68
  • Trap 33 - Addiction 75
  • Trap 34 - Coworker Reactions 77
  • Trap 35 - Established Impressions 79
  • Trap 36 - Contempt for the Victim 82
  • Trap 37 - Doing Is Believing 85
  • Part III - Personality Traps 87
  • Trap 38 - Psychopathy 89
  • Traps 39 and 40 - Poverty and Neglect 92
  • Trap 41 - Low Self-Esteem 94
  • Trap 42 - Authoritarianism 95
  • Trap 43 - Social Dominance Orientation 96
  • Trap 44 - Need for Closure 98
  • Trap 45 - Empathy 100
  • Part IV - Analyzing Dilemmas 103
  • The Parable of the Sadhu 105
  • Jonestown 109
  • Final Words 117
  • Notes 119
  • Index 131
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