The research that took place at a Western Electric Company manufacturing plant near Chicago between the years of 1924 and 1933 represents one of the most important historical events in the development of Industrial-Organizational psychology. This body of research, collectively referred to as the Hawthorne Studies (named for the plant in which they took place), was influential in the development of the human relations movement and has functioned as a strong stimulus in I-O for discussing the intricacies of experimental design and debating the complexities of variables that drive human behaviour at work. It is of concern when information about the Hawthorne Studies is presented in a misleading manner or in ways that create historically inaccurate impressions of the research. For example, some authors discuss only the illumination studies, which can give the incorrect impression that these studies were either the only research that took place or that they were the main focus of the project.
The Hawthorne effect is the phenomenon that was first in an experiment conducted at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago, Illinois, in the late 1920s. The aim of the experiment was to learn whether certain physical features of the factory, such as the level of illumination in the factory influenced workers productivity. According to Donald Clark there are four general conclusions that were drawn from the Hawthorne studies:
1. The aptitudes of individuals are imperfect predictors of job performance. Although they give some indication of the physical and mental potential of the individual, the amount produced is strongly influenced by social factors.
2. Informal organization affects productivity. The Hawthorne researchers discovered a group life among the workers. The studies also showed that the relations that supervisors develop with workers tend to influence the manner in which the workers carry out directives.
3. Work-group norms affect...
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