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Hawthorne Studies. By Emily Sligar. What will be covered:. Definition Brainstorming Exercise Study background Explanation of findings Real world example An exercise Summary. Hawthorne studies defined.

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Hawthorne studies l.jpg

Hawthorne Studies

By Emily Sligar

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What will be covered:

  • Definition

  • Brainstorming Exercise

  • Study background

  • Explanation of findings

  • Real world example

  • An exercise

  • Summary

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Hawthorne studies defined

  • A series of experiments in which the output of the workers was observed to increase as a result of improved treatment by their managers.

  • Named for their site, at the Western Electric Company plant in Hawthorne, Illinois.

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Brainstorming Exercise

  • What can a manager do to improve productivity?

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Study Background

  • Hawthorne studies were conducted from 1927 to 1932 by Harvard Business School Professor Elton Mayo.

  • Purpose of study was to examine what effect monotony and fatigue had on productivity and how to control them with variables such as rest breaks, work hours, temperature, and humidity.

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Normal conditions

  • Under normal conditions, the work week was 48 hours, including Saturdays. There were no rest pauses.

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Experiment One

  • The workers were put on piece-work for eight weeks.

  • Output went up.

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Experiment Two

  • The workers were given two rest pauses, five minutes each, in the morning and afternoon for a period of five weeks.

  • Output went up again.

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Experiment Three

  • The rest pauses were increased to ten minutes each.

  • Output went up sharply.

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Experiment Four

  • The workers were given six five minute breaks.

  • Output fell slightly.

  • The workers complained that the work rhythm was broken by frequent pauses.

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Experiment Five

  • The two original rest pauses were put back in place, and the workers were given a free hot meal by the company.

  • Output went up.

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Experiment Six

  • The workers were dismissed at 4:30 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m.

  • Output went up.

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Experiment Seven

  • The workers were dismissed at 4:00 p.m.

  • Output remained the same.

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Experiment Eight

  • All improvements were taken away and the workers returned to their original working conditions.

  • Output was the highest ever recorded!

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Explanation of Findings

  • The experimental group had considerable freedom of movement compared to other workers in the plant.

  • The group developed an increased sense of responsibility and discipline no longer needed to come from a higher authority, it came from within the group.

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Real World Example

  • Workers improve their productivity when they believe management is concerned with their welfare and pay particular attention to them.

  • Productivity can also be explained by paying attention to the workers’ social environment and informal groupings.

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An Exercise

  • What kinds of issues affect your productivity?

  • What can a manager do to increase or decrease your productivity?

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  • Hawthorne studies defined

  • Study background

  • Explanation of findings

  • Real world example