Saturday, 23 June 2012

Of What Informs a Good Decision and a Bad One

I've been re-reading Cialdini's "The Power of Influence" for a sales meeting we've had recently. The author argues that there are 6 main influences or, short cuts, we take to get us to a decision, one of which is "Authority". He argues that we can often be blinded by authority and sometimes don't think at all when confronted by it. Instead, we simply do what the person in authority has directed however stupid it may seem.
 On p219 he gives a great example of deference to authority :
 "According to Professor Cohen "In case after after case, patients, nurses, pharmacists and other physicians do not question the prescription". Take for example, the strange case of the "rectal earache" reported by Cohen and Davis. A physician ordered ear drops to be administered to the right ear of a patient suffering pain and infection there. But instead of writing out completely the location "right ear" on the prescription, the doctor abbreviated it to so that the instructions read "place in R ear". 
Yes you've guessed the rest. The patient was rolled over and three drops of ointment were promptly placed in his backside. Strange but true.

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