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Who proposed the agency theory?



What is the agency theory?

We are socialised at an early age to learn that obedience to rules is necessary to keep stability within society, but an individual needs to give up some of their free will to do so and enter the agentic state, so obedience occurs in a hierarchical social system


What is the agentic state?

The individual hands over the responsibility for the outcome of the action to the authority figure, and therefore do not feel responsible for performing an action they see as "wrong"


What is the autonomous state?

The opposite of the agentic state, where individuals are seen as personally responsible for their actions and so act according to their own morals and wishes


What does entering the agentic state cause?

Deindividuation: Individuals lose their sense of individuality because they see themselves as an agent of the authority figure, which allows them to go against their moral code


What is the problem with the agentic state explanation?

Doesn't explain obedience of a long period of time and therefore does not explain real-life situations such as the Nazi Party members


Who found a link between obedience and the authoritarian personality? What is the issue with this?

Elms and Milgram

This is only correlational, making the explanation limited. Obedience is also correlational to poor education