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3.4 Assignment: Reflection Paper

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Image labeled The Stanford Prison Experiment

Social identity within the context of leadership effectiveness begins with an understanding that it is a group process. As the sense of belonging to the group becomes more important to group members, effective leaders tend to be those group members who are perceived to display typical qualities of the group, and who fit well within the group (Messick & Kramer, 2005).

Would it surprise you to learn that most employees who resign from their jobs actually are quitting their supervisors, not their organizations? Social influence plays a significant role in the types of group settings in which we choose to engage.

In this assignment, you will analyze two well-known (but rather disturbing) studies that speak to how individuals and groups behave and the reasons why they behave as they do. As you view the two assigned videos, consider how you might have responded had you been part of each experiment. Be prepared, these two studies are among the more disturbing studies we read or hear about.

Upon successful completion of this assignment, you will be able to:

· Assess the extent to which one has agency (ability to shape one’s life) in light of social influence.

· Explain how social dynamics influence others, as well as strategies that may be used to become a better leader and a better follower.


1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.

2. View each of the following two short videos:

a. The Milgram Experiment – Taking Orders to Be Violent Might be Easier Than You Think(new tab)

b. The Stanford Prison Experiment(new tab)

3. Informed by the two assigned videos as well as any other course resources (as well as those you discover on your own), write a two-page paper (no more than 2 ½, excluding the title page and reference page) that reflects on your observations regarding the following questions:

a. Discuss one or two examples of how you have observed social influence at work in your own life experiences, either positively or negatively (work, church, or other settings).

b. Reflect upon the extent to which one has agency (ability to shape one’s life) in light of social influence. Are people merely destined to behave based on their social groups? How might spirituality or faith address this issue?

c. With your understanding of how social dynamics influence others, what strategies could you form using that knowledge to become a better leader? A better follower?

4. The paper must include an introduction paragraph to summarize for your reader what they will find in your paper, as well as a conclusion paragraph that provides a succinct summary of your learning.

5. Submit your completed assignment by the end of the workshop week.

6. All papers are to be written and formatted in accordance with APA Guidelines (7th ed.)(new tab)

7. Papers must be logical, well organized, grammatically correct, and have correct spelling and sentence structure. Write in complete paragraphs of at least three sentences in length.

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