Mind Control as a function within franchising? Not as far-fetched as you’d think.

July 29, 2009


People often underestimate how much they can be influenced by their situation in life.

Margaret Singer was an American psychologist.

In her 1995 book Cults in our Midst, she outlined 6 conditions that create the environment where thought control is possible.

Prerequisites found in cult-like organizations:

  1. Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how attempts to psychologically condition him or her are directed in a step-by-step manner.
  2. Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time.
  3. Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.
  4. Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity.
  5. The group manipulates a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors.
  6. Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order.

Of the franchisees in the crowd, mostly in hindsight, How many of these conditions were present during the pre-sale, operation and ending of your business?

There are religious cults but Singer suggests that “cultic relationships” can exist in any type of organization. I have seen these types of behaviours in some franchises.

This 6:22 minute video is a good introduction to Singer’s work.

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