Contribution of Hawthorne study in management in 21st centaury
Submitted by: Rashik Islam
ID : 2011-1-10-433
Course name: Management
Course title: MGT 101
East West University
Department of Business Administration
27th November 2012
“Any company controlling many thousand workers, tends to lack any satisfactory criterion of the actual value of its methods of dealing with people” - Elton Mayo, Professor of Industrial Management, Harvard Business School, 1933
In the 1920s Elton Mayo, a professor of Industrial Management at Harvard Business School, and his protégé Fritz J. Roethlisberger led a landmark study of worker behavior at Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T. Unprecedented in scale and scope, the nine-year study took place at the massive Hawthorne Works plant outside of Chicago and generated a mountain of documents, from hourly performance charts to interviews with thousands of employees. Harvard Business School’s role in the experiments represented a milestone in the dawn of the human relations movement and a shift in the study of management from a scientific to a multi-disciplinary approach. Baker Library’s exhaustive archival record of the experiments reveals the art and science of this seminal behavioral study, and the questions and theories it generated about the relationship of productivity to the needs and motivations of the industrial worker. In the studies, initially, Mayo had tried to find the relationship between the work setting- mainly the lighting - in a telephone components manufacturer and the productivities of the workers. However, as the lighting was decreased, production did not decrease as expected, instead, it increased. This suggested that productivity was not positively related to improvement in physical environment. Then, interviews were conducted, several findings were summarized. As a whole, Hawthorne studies highlight the existence of complex variables that drive workers' behaviors in management. It claims that workers should not be treated as cogs, but with kindness, courtesy, courtesy, civility and decency. ‘In today's work environment, management experts are rediscovering and applying Mayo's principles'. From the time of its founding in 1876, AT&T’s rapid and pervasive expansion gave it a virtual monopoly over the telephone industry until the time of its break-up in 1984. Like other conglomerates of its day, the Bell Telephone System, as the entire enterprise was known, combined production, distribution, and marketing under one corporation as a way to centralize its operations and eliminate competition. Western Electric, the manufacturing unit of the company, produced telephones, cables, transmission equipment, and switching equipment. Construction of the Western Electric Hawthorne Works on over 100 acres in Cicero, Illinois, began in 1905. By 1929 more than 40,000 men and women reported to work at the massive plant, which included offices, factories, a hospital, fire brigade, laundry facilities, and a greenhouse. Employees were assigned to precisely measured tasks in highly specialized departments, from switchboard wiring to punch-and-die tool making. The manufacture of some equipment, such as automatic telephone exchanges, required hundreds of separate assembly and inspection operations, and Western Electric became one of the forerunners in applying scientific management (inspired in part by Frederick Taylor’s time and motion studies) to its production units. In the following essay, the history of dominate management thought will be briefly described, then how management approaches were changed according to the findings will be discussed respectively, whether these new approached are effective will be analyzed critically.
What is Hawthorn study?
“We stand on the threshold of a new era in which attention and interest are beginning to shift from things that are worked with, to the...
References: - http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Gov-Inc/Hawthorne- Experiments.html#b#ixzz2DLnFczct (Data access 22nd November, 3.30AM)
- http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/hawthorne/09.html#nine (Data access 22nd November, 4.00AM)
- http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/hawthorne.html (Data access 22nd November, 5.00AM)
- Franke, R. H. & Kaul, J. D. (1978). The Hawthorne experiments: First statistical interpretation. American Sociological Review, 1978, 43, 623-643. (Data access 21st november)
- Gillespie, Richard. Manufacturing Knowledge: A History of the Hawthorne Experiments. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. (Data access 21st november)
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