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3/4/2012 Nupa

being treated specially and having a sympathetic supervisor. The process of increasing productivity continued even when the level of illumination was decreased. The productivity started to diminish only when the illumination attained the level of moonlight. The second experiment involved with establishing a piecework incentive pay plan for a group of men accumulating terminal banks for telephone exchanges. working as a group. It was observed that increase in the illumination level resulted in increase of productivity for both the groups. but it was practically observed that. the group of workers unofficially established an average of output. Producing either more or less than that average level was considered to be unexpected. It was a series of studies which took place at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company. The first one revolved around the relationship of productivity with the level of illumination. so the workers produced at the average pace. . adjust the way they behave merely because of the fact that they are being observed. from 1924 – 1932. being experimented. The Conducted Experiments A number of studies were accomplished at the Hawthorne plant. who was a faculty member and consultant of Harvard. Although conventionally it was assumed that each worker would try to produce as many units as possible. whereas the other group faced no change.Hawthorne Studies Background The Hawthorne Studies is a specific type of research in which the people. It was noticed that productivity increased because of having the opportunity to choose co workers. Then there was another case where subjects were asked to choose group members under supervision. with the help of his associates. and started slacking off as they arrived close to the average level. The study involved two groups of workers whose productivity was compared. as the level of illumination was changed for one group. The research was carried out by Elton Mayo.

where light intensity was altered to examine its effect on worker productivity. Elton Mayo and his associates came to the conclusion that. instead of responding to any particular experimental manipulation. They have mentioned some points which criticized the issue. and the fear that the workers had about the intent of the studies may have biased the results. and even relocating workstations resulted in increased productivity for short periods. individual and social processes play major role in shaping up worker behavior. although some of the pioneers of management have seen it from a different angle. the assumptions of the researchers turned out to be wrong as wage incentives were less important than social acceptance in determining output level. It was suggested that the productivity increased because the workers were moved by the motivational effect of the interest being shown in them. Although illumination research of workplace lighting formed the basis of the Hawthorne studies. . clearing floors of obstacles. the results recognized the fact that the experimental groups responded to the fact that they are provided with special attention and supervision. Criticism A number of industrial/occupational psychology and organizational behavior textbooks refer to the illumination studies. Then in case of piecework incentive pay plan. for example H Mcllvaine parsons argues that in the studies where subjects received feedback on their work rates. He also argues that the rest periods involved possible learning effects. Evaluation of the Hawthorne Studies continues even today.Analysis of the Experiments In case of the first experiment. the results should be considered biased by the feedback compared to the manipulation studies. In short. other changes such as maintaining clean work stations.

Conclusion Thus it can be concluded that. the Hawthorne Studies has been well established in the empirical literature beyond the original studies. The experiments stand as a caution about simple experiments which view human participants as if they were only material systems. not feeling supervised but more in control as a group. . The experimental manipulations were important in convincing the workers to feel that conditions were really different. A lot has to do with feeling free. not testing factors separately. because of the sympathy and interest of the observers. He does say that this experiment is about testing overall effect. He also discusses it not really as an experimenter effect but as a management effect: how management can make workers perform differently because they feel differently. beliefs etc.Explanation in Favour of the Experiment Elton Mayo says Hawthorne Studies is to do with the fact that the workers felt better in the situation. other than it certainly depended on the attributes of the participants. like their knowledge. The concerned output was human effort and the results can be expected to be similar. There is less certainty about the nature of the surprise factor.

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