Hawthrone studies Essay

This essay has a total of 902 words and 5 pages.

hawthrone studies

Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne Studies, conducted at Western Electric's Hawthorne plant outside Chicago,
starting in 1924 and running through 1936, were intended to bring about a greater
understanding of the effects of working conditions on worker productivity. The results of
the experiments were contrary to the management theory of the time (Scientific
Management), and were key in bringing about an understanding of motivation factors in

Basically, a series of studies on the productivity of workers introduced several
deliberate various conditions (pay, light levels, rest breaks etc.), but each change
resulted on average over time in productivity rising, including eventually a return to the
original conditions. This was true of each of the individual workers as well as of the
group's average.

Clearly the changes that the experimenters deliberately introduced were not the only or
dominant causes of productivity. One interpretation, mainly due to Mayo, was that the
important effect here was the feeling of being studied: it is this that is now referred to
by "the Hawthorne effect".

Specifically, Mayo wanted to find out what fatigue and monotony has on job productivity
and how to control them through such variables as rest breaks, work hours, temperature and
humidity. In the process, he stumbled upon a principle of human motivation that will help
to transform the theory and principles of management.

The Experiments
Elton Mayo selected two women, and had those two select an additional four from the
assembly line, segregated them from the rest of the factory and put them under the eye of
a supervisor who was more a friendly observer than disciplinarian. Mayo made frequent
changes in their working conditions, always discussing and explaining the changes in

He changed the hours in the working week, the hours in the workday and the number of rest
breaks, the time of their lunch hour. Occasionally, he would return the women to their
original, harder working conditions.

The group was employed in assembling telephone relays - a relay being a small but
intricate mechanism composed of about forty separate parts which had to be assembled by
the girls seated at a lone bench and dropped into a chute when completed.

The relays were mechanically counted as they slipped down the chute. The intent was to
measure the basic rate of production before making any environmental changes. Then, as
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