Review of: Bramel, D. (August 1981). Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 500
  • Published : February 6, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
A review of : Bramel, D. (August 1981). Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker, and Class Bias in Psychology. American Psychologist, Volume 36(8) pp. 867-878.

A review of:
Bramel, D. (August 1981). Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker, and Class Bias in Psychology. American Psychologist, Volume 36(8) pp. 867-878.

ANDREA LIM MEI CHEN
University of Newcastle

Contact: c3171812@uon.edu.au

A review of : Bramel, D. (August 1981). Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker, and Class Bias in Psychology. American Psychologist, Volume 36(8) pp. 867-878.

Review
This journal begins with an introduction to the infamous Hawthorne experiments led by Elton Mayo and Fritiz J. Roethlisberger. These experiments were based on Mayo’s belief in the need to shift the focus of management from a scientific approach to one that valued human relations. The Hawthorne experiments surfaced as the pioneer studies of it’s time in human management psychology. The results developed a theory known as the “Hawthorne effect” in which many have incorporated to form the fundamentals of modern day human relations in commerce.

Roethlisberger described the “Hawthorne effect” as an awareness from the working class when special attention is given by their managements thus bringing about a positive change in productivity. Today, the “Hawthorne effect” is even equated as simply treating employees well.

Bramel is critical when pin-pointing the flaws of the theory. Being unconcerned over the methodology and accuracy of the experiments, he gives Mayo the benefit of the doubt and instead questions in particular two aspects of the theory. The first of which is the assumption that workers are easily manipulated by their higher managements to become constructive and cohesive with their fellow workers thus increasing productivity regardless of the working environment or economy. The second assumption being, conflict between management and it’s workers are due to external factors and downplays the fact that conflicts of interests between the two parties is inevitable. The truth remains that the firm is exploitive in it’s capitalist nature, managers will constantly seek to increase productivity whereas workers will always look out for their own economic interest.

Bramel’s interpretation of the Hawthorne effect puts into play the fact that the capitalist recognizes that human relations is important. However, he puts it sharply that Mayo’s interpretation of the management- worker relationship is that of a myth, and is not relevant to all managements and cannot be used as a textbook answer towards dealing with workers.

Bramel is not the only one who is critical when it comes to the Hawthorne effect theory. Richard Gillespie, 1991, presents us with the most balanced view he strongly disapproves with the Hawthorne effect theory that satisfied employees are productive employees. Instead, he believes the Hawthorne effect is subject to the interpretations by the various experts who manage the situations and apply the theory on their workers to achieve the results they require.

I believe the question now lies, how can managements change their worker’s attitudes to achieve a trusting and productive worker?

A review of : Bramel, D. (August 1981). Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker, and Class Bias in Psychology. American Psychologist, Volume 36(8) pp. 867-878.

Oreg and Berson note that careful selection process when selecting personnel eliminates negativity in workers and helps bring together like minded people who are passionate about their jobs and look for work satisfaction. (Oreg and Berson, 2011) In this way, class biases and the conflict of interests between managers and workers is reduced. Managers can expect to achieve their desired results and produce a motivated workforce. Managers can expect to maximise the capacity and performance of their human resources by orientating their workers to familiarise them with the company’s goals,...
tracking img