The Obedience to Authority Variations and Milgram’s Agentic State Theory

  • Nestar RussellEmail author


After Stanley Milgram achieved his first research goal of discovering how to get most ordinary people to inflict harm on a likable person (Chapter 4), he moved on to his second goal: to undertake many slight baseline variations in an attempt to explain why 65% of participants completed the Remote (baseline) experiment. In this chapter, Russell presents Milgram’s discoveries during this less predictable stage of the wider research project. Russell also draws connections between the Obedience studies and Max Weber’s theory of formal rationality in order to explain Milgram’s impressive organizational feat in collecting what ended up being an enormous amount of data. The final section of this chapter presents the theory Milgram developed from his many baseline variations and how he applied it to better understanding perpetrator behavior during the Holocaust.


Milgram Obedience Studies State Statistical Agency Nonhuman Technology Plate Shock 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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