There was an experiment done in Stanford, almost 40 years ago. They tried to simulate a prison environment. There is a discussion on another web site. Here is a comment that I made.
What you say reminds me of my work as a volunteer. I often try to volunteer for various events to help out in the community. I try to avoid the grunt work, but I am willing to take it, to make sure that the job gets done. I'm not talking about highly controversial or political events, either. I'm talking about helping out at the St Patrick's Day parade, Canada Day parade, or Santa Claus parade. I also volunteered at EPIC [an environmental expo]. There are other kinds of events too.
Time and time again, even when just sorting out trash, I find myself trying to push back against the crowd to make sure that the organization gets good value for my efforts. Deep down inside, I often feel that the crowds are my enemies.
Combine all of that with the possibility that I might have zealousness in my overall perspective of things.
Combine all of that with the possibility that I might have Asperger's Syndrome.
It's not as if anybody asked me to be that way. I don't think that I'm on a power trip, either.
I find it so interesting, because in day to day life, I tend to be mild, and unassertive, and usually don't get my way.
In short, I think that the roles that we are given [e.g. prisoner, boss, guard, volunteer] are less like walls in a hallway that guide us. Rather, they are like goals which might be at the end of whatever hallway we are in. The walls that guide us are the genetic make up, plus the cultural upbringing, knowledge, education, beliefs, situation, etc. This is why you might find ruthless Nazi's who get ill at the thought of killing so many Jews, and why you might find so many mild mannered people who think that genocide is a 9 to 5 job.