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A shocking omission? The exclusion of Milgram’s conformity experiments in organisational behaviour textbooks

Wednesday 1 November 14:15 until 15:45
Jubilee G32
Speaker: Todd Bridgman (Victoria University of Wellington)
Part of the series: Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management Research Seminars

Abstract

Textbooks have a central role in creating the maintaining the boundaries of academic fields. While authors of management’s best-selling textbooks acknowledge their books are ideological, in the sense of privileging a managerial worldview, they justify their stance by only including research which meets rigorous scientific standards. I explore the relationship between ideology and science by analysing coverage of Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments in introductory textbooks in organizational behaviour and social psychology. They are conspicuously absent from organizational behaviour textbooks, despite them being seen by social psychology textbooks as an exemplar of experimental science and of great relevance to understanding human dynamics at work. The case of Milgram demonstrates the value of reflecting critically on the boundaries of what is considered ‘management knowledge’, as well as the purpose of management teaching and research.

Bio

Todd Bridgman is a senior lecturer in the School of Management, Victoria University of Wellington and currently an academic visitor of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His research on the representation of management history within management education appears in A New History of Management (Cambridge University Press), Human Relations and Academy of Management Learning & Education. He is co-editor-in-chief of Management Learning.

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By: Jessica Kistnasamy
Last updated: Monday, 16 October 2017

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