The Hawthorne Studies: Experiments In The Workplace

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Introduction In this assignment I will discuss the Hawthorne Studies. I will analyse in detail each stage of the experiments and also the strengths and weaknesses of the experiments compared to that of Scientific Management. I will also examine the key implications of the studies and examine the overall affect it has had on the workplace. The Hawthorne Studies is considered to be one of the most influential management theories. Management theories previous to this failed to take into account human needs in the workplace. Illumination Studies The Hawthorne studies is the name given to a collective number of psychological experiments which were conducted in the years of 1927-32 in the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago. Even before…show more content…
Each team comprised of one supervisor and 3 Wirers. The men were divided into three teams. The researchers identified the occurrence of two informal groups within the department. Informal groups are generally irresponsive to an organizations demands and requirements. They are more concerned with satisfying social needs of people in their team than adhering to an organisations objectives. (Lee and Lawrence, 2013) Despite been offered a number of financial incentives for reaching a certain target, the informal groups performed to a level they deemed to be acceptable. The observer also identified the presence of one group which was not affiliated with either of the two informal groups. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Perhaps the group disagreed with behaviours of the informal groups or they simply were not welcome to join either groups. The individuals in the informal group were also delegated different roles including the Chisler, Rate Buster and Squealer. Researchers came to the consensus that work behaviour was directly linked to group norms. Researchers concluded that output increased due to the fact the employee felt appreciated for in a stimulating work environment. Researchers determined that an employee’s behaviour is greatly influenced by group…show more content…
The Hawthorne Studies has revolutionized management practices today. Mayo established the power of informal groups and how they affected the behaviour of an individual. The experiments also paved the way for a stronger working relationship between employees and supervisors. Although Taylor’s scientific management was an important catalyst towards the human relations movement, it was the Hawthorne experiments which proved to be a watershed moment. They also have been accredited with been a prime mover in Organisational Behaviour as it was the first experiment which essentially emphasised the importance of human needs in the workplace. The experiments modernized management principles throughout the world. The implications of the Hawthorne Studies inspired theorists such as Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor to conduct further research in this field. Key conclusions from the experiments emphasized the importance of having an in depth understanding of people’s feelings and how they impact on work productivity. Elton Mayo perfectly illustrated this by saying “One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider our problems, can change our whole outlook on the work”. (QuoteHD,
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