Elton Mayo

Topics: Sociology, Hawthorne effect, Motivation Pages: 9 (2878 words) Published: August 20, 2012
Contributions of Elton Mayo to Management Science
INTRODUCTION:George Elton Mayo (26 December 1880, Adelaide - 7 September 1949, Guildford, Surrey) was an Australian psychologist, sociologist and organization theorist.He lectured at the University of Queensland from 1911 to 1923 before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, but spent most of his career at Harvard Business School (1926 - 1947), where he was professor of industrial research.Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement, and was known for his research including the Hawthorne Studies and his book The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization (1933). HAWTHORNE EXPERIMENTS :

The term gets its name from a factory called the Hawthorne Works, where a series of experiments on factory workers was carried out between 1924 and 1932. The experiment started in the General Electric Company, Chicago manufacturing telephone system bell. Around 30,000 employees were used for the experiment . Originally designed as illumination studies to determine the relationship between lighting and productivity, the initial tests were sponsored by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. The effect in productivity was observed for slight increases in illumination. Evaluation of the Hawthorne effect continues in the present day.Most industrial/occupational psychology and organizational behavior textbooks refer to the illumination studies. Only occasionally are the rest of the studies mentioned. In the lighting studies, light intensity was altered to examine its effect on worker productivity.The research he conducted under the Hawthorne Studies of the 1930s showed the importance of groups in affecting the behavior of individuals at work. Mayo's employees, Roethlisberger and Dickson, conducted the practical experiments. This enabled him to make certain deductions about how managers should behave. He carried out a number of investigations to look at ways of improving productivity. The Important Features of the Hawthorne Experiment are:-

* A business organization is basically a social system. It is not just a techno-economic system. * The employer can be motivated by psychological and social wants because his behaviour is also influenced by feelings, emotions and attitudes. Thus economic incentives are not the only method to motivate people. * Management must learn to develop co-operative attitudes and not rely merely on command. * Participation becomes an important instrument in human relations movement. In order to achieve participation, effective two-way communication network is essential. * Productivity is linked with employee satisfaction in any business organization. Therefore management must take greater interest in employee satisfaction. * Group psychology plays an important role in any business organization. We must therefore rely more on informal group effort. * The neo-classical theory emphasizes that man is a living machine and he is far more important than the inanimate machine. Hence, the key to higher productivity lies in employee morale. High morale results in higher output.

Various research on 4 phases were conducted as follows:

Illumination Experiments (1924-27)
In the early 1920s Chicago's Western Electric Hawthorne Works employed 12,000 workers. The plant was a primary manufacturer of telephones, and in 1924 the company provided a site to cooperate with the NRC on a series of test room studies to determine the relationship between illumination and worker efficiency. The basic idea was to vary and record levels of illumination in a test room with the expectation that as lighting was increased, productivity would too. In another test room, illumination was decreased, with the correlating expectation that efficiency would decrease. The electric power industry provided an additional impetus for these tests, hoping to encourage industries to use artificial lighting in place of...
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