Critique of Classics of Organizational Behavior
Section (1) Article (3)
The Hawthorne Experiments
Dr. Dean Frear
MBA 500: Business and Leadership
Fritz Jules Roethlisberger was born in New York City in 1898. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in engineering from Columbia University in 1921 and later his Bachelor of Science in engineering administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1922. He further continued his education by receiving a Master of Arts in philosophy from Harvard University in 1925. He later started to study toward his Ph.D in philosophy at Harvard; however, he met Elton Mayo, Professor of Industrial Research at Harvard Business School and became his assistant and a member of the Harvard Business School Department of Industrial Research. He was a member with the department from 1927 to 1946. At Harvard Business School, Roethlisberger had the following positions: Instructor of Industrial Research, 1927 to 1930; Assistant Professor of Industrial Research, 1930 to 1938; Associate Professor of Industrial Research, 1938 to 1946; and Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Human Relations, 1950 to 1974 (Walter, 1979). Roethlisberger was an important member of the Hawthorne Experiments at the Western Electric Company Hawthorne Plant in Hawthorne, Illinois. The Hawthorne studies began in 1924 under the supervision of Dugald C. Jackson. The executives at Western Electric brought Elton Mayo and Harvard Business School Industrial Research Group into the studies in 1927. Roethlisberger worked on the studies from 1927 to 1936 as Mayo’s assistant and later his collaborator. The purpose of the studies was to explore the relationships between physical working conditions, worker morale, and industrial output. Roethlisberger expanded the investigations by searching for deeper insights into the behavior of employees. Approximately 20,000 employees were interviewed and many...