Stanford Prison Experiment and Its Lessons for the Workplace


The 1971 Stanford Prison experiment was originally designed to investigate individual behavioral responses to the experience of the prison environment. It is back in the news on account of the release on a new film which dramatizes the events. A group of college students, all of who volunteered to be a part of the experiment, were divided into two groups – wardens and inmates. The experiment was conducted under the direction of psychologist, Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, who acted as the prison superintendent. What occurred was an troubling example of how people conform their behavior to their environment.