Hierarchical Situations: Obedience

  • Christian Bourion


Begin with a confrontation with an aversive situation, add confrontation with the hierarchy, and you have a situation with double constraints, giving rise to all sorts of pathology. If the subordinate succeeds brilliantly, he finds himself in competition with his superior. Thus, the hierarchical situation is essentially conflictual, whether the subordinate succeeds or fails. The weight of the hierarchy is that much heavier when the actor is at the bottom of the pyramid, and the emotional conflict that results from the double confrontation is all the more profound if the gap between what is demanded by the situation, and what is demanded by the superior is great. Finally, emotional blindness, a product of isolation, grants both power and silence to the subordinate and increases this vicious circle. Reactions are varied, but facing an unacceptable order, 63% of subordinates will completely accept the principle of submission to an authority that they respect, while others will find some form of more or less active resistance.


Active Resistance Rational Logic Anxious Personality Personal Source Aversive Situation 
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    Deloffre, G., The Practice of International Negotiation, ed. Eska , 1999.Google Scholar

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© Christian Bourion 2005

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  • Christian Bourion

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