Hawthorne Studies

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1. What were the origins of the Hawthorne experiments?
The Hawthorne experiments were groundbreaking studies in human relations that were conducted between 1927 and 1932 at Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works in Chicago. Western Electric was the manufacturing subsidiary of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Hawthorne plant was an example of advanced American industrial production. Organization of the production processes was based on the application of the scientific management and mass production methods pioneered by F.W. Taylor and Henry Ford. These were tempered by an enlightened approach to personnel management that can be characterized as ‘welfare capitalism’.

Briefly, this was an attempt to reduce worker dissatisfaction and resist trade union influence by putting in place a paternalistic package of social and recreational benefits calculated to sustain workers’ loyalty. The package of benefits at the Hawthorne plant was, by contemporary international standards, impressive and included a pension scheme, sickness and disability benefits, a share purchase plan, a system of worker representation, a medical department and a hospital.

2. How would you account for the increased productivity levels in the RATR? Changing a variable usually is increased productivity, even if the variable is just a change back to the original condition. However it is said that this is the natural process of the human being to adapt to the environment without knowing the objective of the experiment occurring. It can conclude that the workers worked harder because they thought that they were being monitored individually.

Some of the variables are:
Changing the pay rules so that the group is paid for overall group production, not individual production Providing food during the breaks

3. ‘Mayo’s main function in connection with the Hawthorne experiments was that of publicist’. Is this fair assessment? This assessment is not fair since individual...
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