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Elton Mayo: Hawthorne Effect Essay

Elton Mayo and his associates had created a series of experiments in order to determine proper responses and productivity of the workers. This can also be called “The Hawthorne Experiments: First statistical Interpretation”. The study was done from the years 1927 to 1932 in the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company in Illinois Business School (www.nwlink.com). Elton Mayo had done the study with two other colleagues, F.J. Roethlisberger and William Dickson.

The project started with a series of test on the physical and environmental controls. Examples of these controls are brightness of lights and humidity. The experiments had first revolved in these controls however, Mayo and his colleagues decided to add on psychological aspects. These psychological aspects include the length of break time, group pressure, number of hours worked and managerial leadership. These effects had contributed greatly to see the social interaction of workgroups in different work settings and the factors that had influence in the change.

The Hawthorne Experiments had helped the human relations in the organization. There have been some settings that had been patterned based on the effects of the experiments of Hawthorne Experiments. The experiments had helped a lot in determining the behavior patterns of the workers in the workplace. If a particular setting had been changed possible reactions of the workers can be seen based on the Hawthorne Experiments. Being able to get the different reactions through the Hawthorne Studies had helped the Human  Relations to determine what particular actions must be done to prevent any misunderstandings, miscommunications and proper relationship in the workplace.

I. Statement of the Result

Individual Behaviors of people change when they are put in different settings of physical, psychological and environmental controls.


Information on the result that reveals about people

The finding of the study that had revealed about people is that regardless of any experimental settings given to the employees, the workers had improved their productivity.  Looking at the manipulation of the physical and environmental factors, it can be expected that if the conditions grew uncomfortable for the workgroup productivity can go down. However, this had been proven to be the opposite. Regardless of the working conditions, the conclusion is that the workers being observed appreciate the attention that had been given to them by the researchers regardless of the physical, environmental and psychological conditions.

General conclusions of the Hawthorne experiment can be divided into four. First conclusion, studies show that aptitudes are not predictors of job performance. An aptitude of an individual may show the potential of the individual, however, these are influenced by social factors that is why it is not a perfect predictor of the performance of an individual at work. Second conclusion is that the relationship in an organization whether it is formal or informal affects the productivity of a work group.

How the instructions carried out by the workgroup is influenced greatly by the relationship of workers and the supervisor or manager. Third conclusion is that the group norms affect productivity. The Hawthorne studies are not the only one’s who had arrived at the conclusion that works groups have a norms of what a day’s work is. Based on the results of the studies, the Hawthorne experiments had best described and interpret the setting of the norms in the workgroup. Last conclusion is that the workplace can be considered as a social organization. The Hawthorne researchers had viewed the workplace as an organization that has some interdependent parts and that it affects the work performance of the workgroup.

III. Conclusion

As stated above, there are many influences in the workplace that affects the workers in the environment. However, being able to give attention to the workers in the workplace may help increase productivity in the workplace. This only means that people liked being recognized by their superiors. Social Factors also have a great impact in the productivity of the person. Some people may think that having an informal relationship with your subordinates may affect the productivity in the workplace. Based on experience, there are some managers who practices formal relationship with their employees. Some managers rule with fear.

They use their authority to make their subordinates obey their instructions. There are still no particular studies regarding the productivity of a particular workgroup that had worked under a very autocratic boss and another that has an informal relationship with the workgroup. However, based on the results in the Hawthorne studies, strengthening of ties with the work may affect productivity. The Hawthorne studies are a good reference with regard to workgroup productivity. It is not bad to apply the principles of Hawthorne experiment since it has already been proven to be true and this is already being done in the workplace ever since the experiment has been done.

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