I have been asked to write a report on Conformity and Obedience and how it links to two major studies. I am going to write the report on the Police and the two major studies are going to be on Stanley Milgram and also Hoffling. Within the Police service there are certain codes of practice that MUST be followed. All public services have codes of practice that have to be followed, if not then disciplinary procedures will take place. This is because you have broken a major rule which is set by the Police organisation which is always agreed to in your contract.
In the Police service you are being given orders all day every day. People who follow these orders are conforming. This is part of every job that you will ever go into, but can be a lot more serious in the police. If you are given an order and you ignore it then you could be putting your life in danger and also the life of others.
If the police service didn't have codes of practice then it would not run properly, this is because major services such as the police run on a hierarchy procedure. This procedure means that orders have to be given and also obeyed. This is called conforming; this is a major part of the police service in order for it to run smoothly. Hierarchy: – the organization of people at different ranks in an administrative body (www.dictionary.com)
A major study into conformity took place trying to see how far people would conform. Milgram set up an experiment which involved a volunteer, an actor and also an electric chair. The actor was strapped into the chair and was asked a variety of questions; if the actor got a question wrong then the volunteer was asked to send a shock through to him. The shocks went from 45 to 450 in 15volt increases. The chair was not actually armed so there wasn't any shocks' actually going through. The actor was pretending. Milgram did this experiment with several volunteers. He found that a majority of volunteers would conform all the way to 450 volts.
This proved to Stanley Milgram that most people will conform to what they are asked to do. This links to the police in a way that everyone in the job has to conform to what they are told whatever the consequences. For example if you're in the special fire arms squad (SO19) and you are told to fire on a suspect, and then you must conform even if it means taking the suspects life. This is because if you are given an order to shoot then it is because the suspect is putting some else's life in danger. (www.new-life.net/milgram.htm)
Milgram's experiments link to basic everyday life not only the public services. All the time people are conforming to something, whether it's sitting in a line of traffic and not going down the hard shoulder or conforming to something that you are told to do at work. It links to the police as you are being given orders and you have to follow these orders. It's conforming.
A man called Hoffling also performed an experiment to find out how far people would conform. Hoffling decided to ring a hospital and give orders to some nurses that worked their. He said that he was a doctor and had been looking at the patients folders, he told the nurses to give these patients a certain dosage of a drug. He did all of this over the phone. The experiment was to see how many nurses would actually give the drug to these patients.
The drugs used in the experiment were actually sugar tablets but the nurses didn't know about this experiment. He rang several hospitals and tried the experiment on them all. He found that 90% of the hospitals conformed to giving the drugs to the patients over the phone even though it is clearly stated in all hospital's codes of practice that no drugs are to be administered when told to do so over the phone. A doctor must be present.
This is also linked to conforming, Hoffling wanted to find out how far people would conform. Again this can be linked to the public services and also everyday life. People are always conforming even if it isn't what their meant to be doing and they are breaking the rules they will often still conform to what they are being told.