Mayo Elton Mayo (1880 ² 1949) believed that workers are not just concerned with money but
could be better motivated by having their social needs met whilst at work (something that Taylor ignored). He introduced the Human Relation School of thought, which focused on managers taking more of an interest in the workers, treating them as people who have worthwhile opinions and realising that workers enjoy interacting together. Mayo conducted a series of experiments at the Hawthorne factory of the Western Electric Company in Chicago He isolated two groups of women workers and studied the effect on their productivity levels of changing factors such as lighting and working conditions. He expected to see productivity levels decline as lighting or other conditions became progressively worse What he actually discovered surprised him: whatever the change in lighting or working conditions, the productivity levels of the workers improved or remained the same. From this Mayo concluded that workers are best motivated by: Better communication between managers and workers ( Hawthorne workers were consulted over the experiments and also had the opportunity to give feedback) Greater manager involvement in employees working lives ( Hawthorne workers responded to the increased level of attention they were receiving) Working in groups or teams. ( Hawthorne workers did not previously regularly work in teams) In practice therefore businesses should re-organise production to encourage greater use of team working and introduce personnel departments to encourage greater manager involvement in looking after
itself. managerial leadership) and their impact on employee motivation as it applies to productivity. where none was collected before creates a situation that didn't exist before. involved." Elton Mayo's experiments showed an increase in worker productivity was produced by the psychological stimulus of being singled out.
.g. as it applies to the workplace.g. the act of collecting data. and made to feel important. thereby affecting the results. moved into the psychological aspects (e. brightness of lights. the Hawthorne Effect. humidity) and later.
The Hawthorne Effect
In essence. working hours. breaks. Elton Mayo started these experiments by examining the physical and environmental influences of the workplace (e. Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). Additionally. impacts the results of the measurement. can be summarized as "Employees are more productive because the employees know they are being studied. This is where professor Elton Mayo examined the impact of work conditions in employee productivity.employees· interests. His theory most closely fits in with a paternalistic style of management
Elton Mayo's Hawthorne Studies
The Hawthorne Studies (also knowns as the Hawthorne Experiments) were conducted from 1927 to 1932 at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Cicero. Just as dipping a thermometer into a vial of liquid can affect the temperature of the liquid being measured. the act of measurement. group pressure.
Those experiments showed no clear connection between productivity and the amount of illumination but researchers began to wonder what kind of changes would influence output.400 relays a week each. The intent was to measure the basic rate of production before making any environmental changes. and listening to their complaints. the impact to effectiveness would be measured by increased or decreased production of the relays. and no rest pauses. 1.
. 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. The experiment began by introducing various changes. one in the morning. The relays were mechanically counted as they slipped down the chute. Mayo made frequent changes in their working conditions. They were then put on piecework for eight weeks. as changes were introduced.The Hawthorne Experiments and Employee Motivation
Elton Mayo's studies grew out of preliminary experiments at the Hawthorne plant from 1924 to 1927 on the effect of light on productivity. work hours. Then. and had those two select an additional four from the assembly line. for a period of five weeks. keeping the girls informed about the experiment. They were given two five-minute breaks. including Saturdays. The results of these changes are as follows:
Work Conditions and Productivity Results
Under normal conditions with a forty-eight hour week.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. and one in the afternoon.
Throughout the series of experiments. The girls produced 2. Elton Mayo selected two women.
The group was employed in assembling telephone relays . asking for advice or information. each of which was continued for a test period of four to twelve weeks. o Output increased 2.
Variables Affecting Productivity
Specifically. In the process. Elton Mayo wanted to find out what effect fatigue and monotony had on job productivity and how to control them through such variables as rest breaks. he stumbled upon a principle of human motivation that would help to revolutionize the theory and practice of management. always discussing and explaining the changes in advance. temperature and humidity. an observer sat with the girls in the workshop noting all that went on.
o Output increased. o Output was the highest ever recorded . The worker is a person whose attitudes and effectiveness are conditioned by social demands from both inside and outside the work plant.m. with a complimentary hot meal provided during the morning break. Although they give some indication of the physical and mental potential of the individual. Finally. o Output leveled off 8. The workplace is a social system.00 p. o Output increased further still 6. this time. the project was incrementally extended to five years. Originally. Informal organization affects productivity. worker production seemed to continually improve.30 p. instead of 5. the amount produced is strongly influenced by social factors. all the improvements were taken away. security and sense of belonging is more important in determining workers' morale and productivity than the physical conditions under which he works. o The girls complained that their work rhythm was broken by the frequent pauses o Output fell only slightly 5. but since the findings were inexplicable when the researchers tried to relate the worker's efficiency to manipulated physical conditions.00 p. One reasonable conclusion is that the workers were happy to receive attention from the researchers who expressed an interest in them. The original two breaks were reinstated. and the original conditions before the experiment were reinstated." However.m.
The major finding of the study was that almost regardless of the experimental manipulation. The need for recognition. They were monitored in this state for 12 more weeks.
Looking Back on the Experiments
.m. The researchers discovered a group life among the workers. The Hawthorne researchers were not the first to recognize that work groups tend to arrive at norms of what is "a fair day's work. The researchers came to view the workplace as a social system made up of interdependent parts. Informal group within the work plant exercise strong social controls over the work habits and attitudes of the individual worker. The studies also showed that the relations that supervisors develop with workers tend to influence the manner in which the workers carry out directives. o Output rose sharply 4. yet again 3. The breaks were each lengthened to ten minutes. the study was expected to last one year. they provided the best systematic description and interpretation of this phenomenon. Six five-minute breaks were introduced.averaging 3000 relays a week
Elton Mayo's Conclusions on Job Performance
Elton Mayo came to the following conclusions as a result of the study: y The aptitudes of individuals are imperfect predictors of job performance. The workday was shortened to end at 4. Work-group norms affect productivity. The workday was shortened to end at 4. o Output increased 7.
R. Under these conditions.
Tracking Process Improvements . Kaul used a new procedure called "timeseries analyses" with the original data and variables. In a way. rather than their previous Theory X managers. Consequently. the Hawthorne Effect can be construed as an enemy of the modern manager. they weren't pushed around or micromanaged. in 1978. H. motivates her to work harder and more effectively. They discovered that production was most affected by the replacement of the two workers due to their greater productivity and the effect of the disciplinary action on the other workers. they felt as if they were participating freely and were happy in the knowledge that they were working without coercion from above or limitation from below. In fact. These variables accounted for almost all the variation in productivity during the experimental period. Rest periods and a group incentive plan also had a somewhat positive smaller effect on productivity.D. Carrying the theory further toward cynicism.Gathering Performance Metrics
. The occurrence of the Depression also encouraged job productivity. it could be said that it doesn't matter how you manage. That's the Hawthorne Effect at work. With the observer overseeing them. perhaps through the increased importance of jobs and the fear of losing them. productive workers. She feels she's on a track to the top. regular medical checks showed no signs of cumulative fatigue and absence from work declined by 80 percent. Franke and J. including the Great Depression and the instance of a managerial discipline in which two insubordinate and mediocre workers were replaced by two different. because the Hawthorne Effect will produce the positive outcome you want. they developed an increased sense of responsibility. Then. it emerged from within the group. Instead of receiving discipline from higher authority.
Modern Management Lessons
What seemed to be most impactful during the experiments was that six individuals became a team and the team gave itself wholeheartedly and spontaneously to cooperation in the experiment. in turn. They were satisfied with the result of working under less pressure than ever before. The experimental group had considerable freedom of movement. Without saying a word. Social science may have been too ready to embrace the original Hawthorne interpretations since it was looking for theories of employee motivation that were more humane and democratic. This form of employee motivation is independent of any particular skills or knowledge she may have gained from the training session. you've given the trainee the feeling that she is so valuable to the organization that you'll spend time and money to develop her skills. which.For decades. the Hawthorne studies provided the rationale for human relations within the organization.
Applying the Hawthorne Effect to Employee Motivation
Suppose you select a management trainee and provide specialized training in management skills not currently possessed.
the Hawthorne Effect has also been called the 'Somebody Upstairs Cares' syndrome. the measurement of performance can unintentionally affect the performance itself. There's nothing wrong with intentionally using the Hawthorne Effect to reach your goals. "Of course they'll perform better. Occasionally. When they do. had formed a social atmosphere that also included the productivity-tracking observer. This effect has been described as the reward you reap when you pay attention to people. When these women were singled out from the rest of the factory workers. They began to meet socially outside of work. and the workers unite in rebellion of management's efforts to control and oppress them. Conversely. The mere act of showing people that you're concerned about them usually spurs them to better job performance. If workers suddenly sense an environmental shift from a Theory X organization to a Theory Y organization. someone needs to subtly observe workers on the job and monitor production. they felt happier at work. of being part of something bigger than themselves. managers object. and allowed them a form of participation.
Someone Really Cares About Me? . it raised their self-esteem. showing them that you care about how their job is progressing.Unfortunately.
. saying that observation isn't a valid test. When people spend a large portion of their time at work. and fostering a more positive relationship will create beneficial productivity impacts. In fact. Elton Mayo had secured the girls cooperation and loyalty. if your environment one of mistrust and fear. they require a sense of belonging. they are more effective. When they were allowed to have a friendly relationship with their supervisor." The power of the social setting and peer group dynamics was reinforced for Elton Mayo later in the Hawthorne Studies. when he saw an unusual reaction to his original experiments. This explains why productivity rose even when he took away their rest breaks. they felt like part of the team. Involving your workers in setting their own direction. A group of 14 men participating in a similar study restricted production because they were distrustful of management and thought that their quotas would be artificially elevated if they were to perform beyond the norm during these studies. exercising a freedom they didn't have on the factory floor. They talked and joked with one another. When he discussed changes in advance with them. you're watching them. there will be little a manager can do to effect positive change without first handling this toxic situation.Benefits of the Hawthorne Effect
Elton Mayo realized that the women. In order to determine the impact of a new or modified process. That's the true Hawthorne Effect. this can trigger false positives from nearly any otherwise meaningless or even slightly detrimental process change.