Hawthorne Studies - Contemporary Management Functions and the Interpersonal Employer-employee Relationship

Topics: Hawthorne effect, Motivation, Psychology Pages: 4 (960 words) Published: January 22, 2015
Professor George Elton Mayo (1937–2009), an Australian psychologist, industrial researcher and organizational theorist, dedicated most of his life carrying out series of experiments, which then became a major turning point in management thinking; hence, contemporary management was born. He was well known for his Hawthorne experiment that turned heads of various scientists, many arguing with this concept and others, practicing it. Hawthorne underwent various validity attacks including whether the study is a biased myth and if Mayo concealed important findings, evidence and details that arose from his studies from the public. This triggered more doubt concerning the study that raised other questions including why it was so important for the experiment to be legitimate.

The Hawthorne experiment, which is said to be the first tangible marriage between industrial advancement and academic psychology, was designed to eliminate disagreements between the different hierarchical levels, overcoming this set back and finally achieve a ‘wholehearted cooperation’ by mending the inter-personal employer-employee relationship. During the course of the study, three generic dimensions of the human nature – psychological, sociological and intellectual were highlighted. Mayo believed that by maximizing these three human attributions, it was possible to boost the potential and efficiency of the employees.

Hawthorne study was made up of three major experiments: the Illumination Experiment, Relay Assembly Test Room (RART) and Bank Wiring Observational Study Room, however the RART being the most memorable. The experiment involves the separation of five women, who were individually tasked to assemble telephone relays, into different rooms where the room conditions were varied regularly. They were monitored closely to investigate, if any, a relationship between changes in the working environment and how each significant alterations affected workers’ attitudes and the level of output...
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