10 steps to resisting personal cooptation

In my previous entry I noted that Philip Zimbardo, in his book The Lucifer Effect, suggests “A Ten-step Program to Resist Unwanted Influences.” Because this has generated interest I will list his 10 steps below.  These are in the form of personal commitments. For his explanation of each see pp. 451-456.

1.  “I made a mistake.”

2.  “I am mindiful.”   (Be more aware of clues – operate less on auto-pilot.)

3.  “I am responsible.”

4.  “I will assert my unique identity.”

5.  “I respect authority but rebel against unjust authority.”

6.  “I want group acceptance, but value my independence.”

7.  “I will be more frame-vigilant.” (Be more aware of how statements, etc. are framed.)

8.  “I will balance my time perspective.”  (Keep things in a larger time perspective.)

9.  “I will not sacrifice personal or civic freedoms for the illusion of security.”

10. “I can oppose unjust systems.”

4 comments on “10 steps to resisting personal cooptation”

  1. Thanks Howard! I love Phil’s book too and think every prison administrator and anyone working in prisons should read it. We can make our prisons more rehabilitative and The Lucifer Effect provides excellent suggestions for doing that. Thank you again for the blogs on this book.

  2. I just heard an interview with Elizabeth Doty (http://www.worklore.com/) that included a similar list, about avoiding unhealthy compromises when working with large institutions. Here are my notes about her list:

    1. recognize when it might be a healthy compromise
    2. have more candid conversation about what you see, where you stand
    3. set positive limits
    4. use skillful influence, help the system learn
    5. when needed, make a constructive exit that serves yourself and the system as well as possible

  3. Dave Chen says:

    Interesting 10 steps. Makes me want to read the book. I like that the first step is recognizing that you made a mistake. You have to be able to admit that and change direction to really get out of the group think.

  4. Thanks for posting this Howard. I wasn’t aware that this book had been published. The Stanford Prison Experiment has certainly been an influential study. I’m looking forward to hearing any new insights that Philip Zambardo has to share.

    This post also provoked several thoughts for me related to the idea of a corporate or organizational conscience, if such a thing exists:


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