Obedience refers to adherence to set rules and regulations. Obedience may be observed voluntarily or involuntarily depending on some factors. A person may be driven to obey some set rules because they feel that they should do so. Another person may simply obey because he/she is afraid of punishment. To a great extent, obedience depends on the punishment or rewards one gets. Most people will tend to obey in order to get rewards or to avoid punishment. This is because punishments are unpleasant while rewards are immensely appealing.
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According to Milgram’s research, people are more likely to obey under supervision. In this case, a soldier is likely to be truly obedient if his supervisor is around.
The soldier is least likely to obey if his supervisor is not around. For instance, soldiers may be commanded to shoot and kill any human being found in or near the battlefield. Soldiers may do so if their commander is near them. When their commander is not near, they may find it irrelevant to kill children and women. Instead of killing them, the soldiers may just scare them away (Lavender 78).
Soldiers are trained on how to cope with difficult situations and how to behave themselves in the battlefields. This is why they tend to be extremely obedient people in the society. Punishments given to those who do not obey rules set are highly unpleasant. These punishments vary from demotions to termination of their contracts.
Rewards offered are good. These rewards include pay rise and promotions to mention but a few. Generally, soldiers enjoy so much respect from the society. They are also paid well, and that is why many young people aspire to be soldiers right from a tender age. Soldiers strive to maintain their jobs, and that is why one is less likely to come across a soldier facing disciplinary action.
Although soldiers disobey sometimes, they do it so discreetly such that their seniors do not get to know about it. Otherwise, they are obedient most of times because they fear to lose their jobs, which are highly competitive (Lavender 78).
Human beings are driven by a virtue known as self control. Self control helps people to check their emotions, but in some situations, one cannot dictate what to do. People are forced to go against their virtues because they are ordered to do so. A soldier may be commanded by his commander to kill a person whom the soldier never intended to kill.
Even if this particular soldier knows that, it is not okay to murder an innocent person, he has no other option but to so because he is under the authority. The soldier cannot be moved by the cries of the victim because he knows that he is being watched. If the soldier was not being watched, he might have perhaps felt pity for the victim and failed to execute him.
Milgram’s research, therefore, shows that obedience is influenced by authority. There is a laxity where supervision is minimal. People tend to be more serious when they know that someone somewhere is watching. Good results are achieved where people work under the watchful eye of a supervisor. Some are likely to behave well when they are being watched and behave badly when no one is watching them.
Lavender, Will. Obedience. A Novel. Michigan: Crown Publishing Group, 2009