Critique of the Hawthorne Experiments

Topics: Motivation / Pages: 6 (1499 words) / Published: Jun 1st, 2011
Critique of The Hawthorne Experiments

Biography Written by Fritz J. Roethlisberger (1898 – 1974), The Hawthorne Experiments, explores the experiments, results and conclusions of studies performed at the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company. The Hawthorne Effect is the theory that resulted from the studies. Roethlisberger, a key member of the team, joined the team in 1927 and actively participated in the research until 1936, first as Elton Mayo’s assistant and later as his collaborator (Roethlisberger, 2007). Roethlisberger earned a BA in engineering from Columbia University, a BS in engineering administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a MA in philosophy from Harvard University (Roethlisberger, 2007). When Roethlisberger became Elton Mayo’s assistant and a member of the Harvard Business School Department of Industrial Research, his studies towards a PhD in philosophy were halted (Roethlisberger, 2007). Roethlisberger held multiple positions while at Harvard University including: Instructor of Industrial Research (1927-1930), Assistant Professor of Industrial Research (1930-1938), Associate Professor of Industrial Research (1938-1946); and Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Human Relations (1950-1974) (Roethlisberger, 2007). Roethlisberger also served as a consultant to the Training within Industry Program of the U.S. Governments Office of Production Management from 1941 to 1942 (Roethlisberger, 2007). Roethlisberger is also responsible for multiple other essays and books including, “Man-in-Organization: Essays of F.J. Roethlisberger” (1968), “Counseling in an Organization; A Sequel to the Hawthorne Researches (1966)”, and “Management and Morale” (1941) (Biography – Fritz, 2010).
The article uses the experiments performed at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company as illustration to prove Roethlisberger’s theory. He wrote: It is my simple thesis that a human problem requires a human

References: Biography - Fritz Jules Roethlisberger & the Hawthorne Studies. (2010). Retrieved September 17, 2010 from website: Dessler, G. & Phillips, J. (2008). Managing Now, Houghton Mifflin Company. Kirchner, W. (1992). Manufacturing Knowledge: A History of the Hawthorne Experiments. Personnel Psychology, 45(2), 410-412. Retrieved September 17, 2010 from Business Source Elite database: Natemeyer, W. E., & McMahon, J. T. (2001). Classics of organizational behavior (3rd ed.), Waveland Press. Roethlisberger, F. (2007). Fritz J. Roethlisberger papers. Unpublished raw data. Department of business, Harvard University, Retrieved September 17, 2010 from website:

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