Hawthorne Experiments

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Date Submitted: 09/14/2012 02:32 AM

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What are the Hawthorne experiments? What affects did they have on the Management practices?

Elton Mayo, the father of human relations approach”, lead the team which conducted a study at Western Electric‟s Hawthorne Plant between 1927 and 1933 to evaluate the attitudes and psychological reactions of workers in on-the job situations. The other researchers and scholars associated with this experiment were Fritz Roethlisberger, T.N Whiteheade and William Dickson. This experiment was conducted in four phases:

1. Illumination experiments

2. Relay assembly test room experiments

3. Interview phase

4. Bank wiring observation room experiments

Illumination Experiments


These experiments involved manipulating the illumination for one group of workers and comparing their subsequent productivity with the productivity of another group for whom the illumination was not changed. The results of the experiments were ambiguous. For the test group, performance improved as the intensity of the light increased. The result was expected. However the performance of the group rose steadily even when the illumination for the group was made so did the workers could hardly see.To compound the mystery, the control group’s productivity also tended to rise as the test group’s lighting conditions were altered, even though the control group experienced no changes in illumination. Since there was a rise in performance in both groups, the researchers concluded that group productivity was not directly related to illumination intensity. Something besides lighting was influencing their performance.

Relay assembly test room Experiments

In this experiment researchers were concerned about working conditions such as number of work hours, frequency and duration of rest periods. The researchers selected six women for the experiment who worked in the relay assembly test room, assembling small device called an electrical relay. The participants were beforehand informed...