MBA Knowledge Base

Business • Management • Technology

Home » Management Principles » Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne Experiment and It’s Contributions to Management

Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne Experiment and It’s Contributions to Management

The term “Hawthorne” is a term used within several behavioral management theories and is originally derived from the western electric company’s large factory complex named Hawthorne works. Starting in 1905 and operating until 1983, Hawthorne works had 45,000 employees and it produced a wide variety of consumer products, including telephone equipment, refrigerators and electric fans. As a result, Hawthorne works is well-known for its enormous output of telephone equipment and most importantly for its industrial experiments and studies carried out.

Hawthorne Experiment by Elton Mayo

In 1927, a group of researchers led by Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger of the Harvard Business School were invited to join in the studies at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric Company, Chicago. The experiment lasted up to 1932. The Hawthorne Experiment brought out that the productivity of the employees is not the function of only physical conditions of work and money wages paid to them. Productivity of employees depends heavily upon the satisfaction of the employees in their work situation. Mayo’s idea was that logical factors were far less important than emotional factors in determining productivity efficiency. Furthermore, of all the human factors influencing employee behavior , the most powerful were those emanating from the worker’s participation in social groups. Thus, Mayo concluded that work arrangements in addition to meeting the objective requirements of production must at the same time satisfy the employee’s subjective requirement of social satisfaction at his work place.

The Hawthorne experiment consists of four parts . These parts are briefly described below:-

  • Illumination Experiment.
  • Relay Assembly Test Room Experiment.
  • Interviewing Programme.
  • Bank Wiring Test Room Experiment.

1. Illumination Experiment:

This experiment was conducted to establish relationship between output and illumination. When the intensity of light was increased, the output also increased. The output showed an upward trend even when the illumination was gradually brought down to the normal level. Therefore, it was concluded that there is no consistent relationship between output of workers and illumination in the factory. There must be some other factor which affected productivity.

Elton Mayo's Hawthorne experiment - Illumination Experiment

2. Relay Assembly Test Room Experiment:

This phase aimed at knowing not only the impact of illumination on production but also other factors like length of the working day, rest hours, and other physical conditions. In this experiment, a small homogeneous work-group of six girls was constituted. These girls were friendly to each other and were asked to work in a very informal atmosphere under the supervision of a researcher. Productivity and morale increased considerably during the period of the experiment. Productivity went on increasing and stabilized at a high level even when all the improvements were taken away and the pre-test conditions were reintroduced. The researchers concluded that socio-psychological factors such as feeling of being important, recognition, attention, participation, cohesive work-group, and non-directive supervision held the key for higher productivity.

Elton Mayo's Hawthorne experiment - Relay Assembly Room Experiment

3. Mass Interview Programme:

The objective of this programme was to make a systematic study of the employees attitudes which would reveal the meaning which their “working situation” has for them. The researchers interviewed a large number of workers with regard to their opinions on work, working conditions and supervision. Initially, a direct approach was used whereby interviews asked questions considered important by managers and researchers. The researchers observed that the replies of the workmen were guarded. Therefore, this approach was replaced by an indirect technique, where the interviewer simply listened to what the workmen had to say. The findings confirmed the importance of social factors at work in the total work environment.

4. Bank Wiring Test Room Experiment:

This experiment was conducted by Roethlisberger and Dickson with a view to develop a new method of observation and obtaining more exact information about social groups within a company and also finding out the causes which restrict output. The experiment was conducted to study a group of workers under conditions which were as close as possible to normal. This group comprised of 14 workers. After the experiment, the production records of this group were compared with their earlier production records. It was observed that the group evolved its own production norms for each individual worker, which was made lower than those set by the management. Because of this, workers would produce only that much, thereby defeating the incentive system. Those workers who tried to produce more than the group norms were isolated, harassed or punished by the group. The findings of the study are:-

  • Each individual was restricting output.
  • The group had its own “unofficial” standards of performance.
  • Individual output remained fairly constant over a period of time.
  • Informal groups play an important role in the working of an organization.

Effect of Monotony and Fatigue on Productivity

Using a study group other experiments were conducted to examine what effect of monotony and fatigue on productivity and how to control those using variables such as rest breaks, work hours and incentives.

At normal conditions the work week was of 48 hours, including Saturdays, with no rest pauses. On the first experiment workers were put on piece-work salary where they were paid on each part they produced, as a result the output increased. On the second experiment the workers were given 2 rest pauses of 5 minutes each for 5 weeks and again output went up. The third experiment further increased the pauses to 10 min and the output went up sharply. For the fourth experiments a 6, 5 min breaks were given and output fell slightly as the workers complained that the work rhythm was broken. On the fifth experiments conditions for experiment three were repeated but this time a free hot meal was given by the company and output wen up the sixth experiment, workers were dismissed at 4.30p.m. Instead of 5.00p.m were an output increase was recorded.

The seventh experiment had the same results as experiments six even though the workers were dismissed at 4.00 p.m. on the eighth and final experiment, all improvements were taken away and workers returned to their original working conditions. Surprisingly, results concluded that output was the highest ever recorded!

Contributions of the Hawthorne Experiment to Management

Elton Mayo and his associates conducted their studies in the Hawthorne plant of the western electrical company, U.S.A., between 1927 and 1930. According to them, behavioral science methods have many areas of application in management. The important features of the Hawthorne Experiment are:

  • A business organization is basically a social system . It is not just a techno-economic system.
  • The employer can be motivated by psychological and social wants because his behavior is also influenced by feelings, emotions and attitudes. Thus economic incentives are not the only method to motivate people.
  • Management must learn to develop co-operative attitudes and not rely merely on command.
  • Participation becomes an important instrument in human relations movement. In order to achieve participation , effective two-way communication network is essential.
  • Productivity is linked with employee satisfaction in any business organization. Therefore management must take greater interest in employee satisfaction.
  • Group psychology plays an important role in any business organization. We must therefore rely more on informal group effort.
  • The neo-classical theory emphasizes that man is a living machine and he is far more important than the inanimate machine. Hence, the key to higher productivity lies in employee morale . High morale results in higher output.

A new milestone in organisational behavior was set and Elton Mayo and his team found a way to improve productivity by creating a healthy team spirit environment between workers and supervisors labeling it as The Hawthorne Effect .

The Hawthorne effect is a physiological phenomenon that produces an improvement in human behavior or performance as a result of increased attention of superiors and colleagues. As a combined effort, the effect can enhance results by creating sense of teamwork and a common purpose. As in many ways the Hawthorne effect is interpreted, it generates new ideas concerning importance of work groups and leadership , communication, motivation and job design , which brought forward emphasis on personnel management and human relations.

Although the Hawthorne effect tends to be an ideal contributor to organizational management, it contains a few flaws which such a study is criticized upon. Having the experiments being conducted in controlled environments, lack of validity may exist as the workers knew they were observed hence produced better performances. The human aspect in the Hawthorne experiments was given too much importance were it alone cannot improve production as other factors are a must. Group decision making might also evolve in a flaw as on occasions individual decision making is vital as it might be the way to prevent failures within a system. Another flaw contributes to the freedom given to the workers by the Hawthorne effect. The important constructive role of supervisors may be lost with excess informality within the groups and in fact such a flaw may result in lowering the performance and productivity.

The Hawthorne experiments marked a significant step forward in human behavior and are regarded as one of the most important social science investigations and said to be the foundations of relations approach to management and the development of organizational behavior. Managers are to be aware of the criticism evolved through years on such a study before adopting it. In my opinion, the Hawthorne effect is a validated theory and could be applied within the organisation, though care is to be taken and a limit is to be set. The use of team groups is acceptable as it creates a caring factor between workers and competitively amongst other teams. Supervisors are to keep their role and limit socializing with staff on the shop floor to always keep their role and hence standards are always kept to the maximum. Team meeting are to be held which allows the worker to give out his opinion and feel important by contributing his ideas to the organisation.

Whichever management structure an organisation is to adopt, regular reviews are to be carried out in order to keep a stable output and good standard in quality. Such a strategy will ensure continuous evolution of the organizational management and a successful organization producing maximum efficiency in its produce.

External Links about Hawthorne Experiment:

  • A New Vision  (Harvard Business School)
  • Elton Mayo  (British Library)

Related posts:

  • 4 Phases of Hawthorne Experiment – Explained
  • The Hawthorne Studies
  • Case Study: Henry Ford’s Contributions to Organizational Behavior and Leadership
  • Contingency Approach to Management
  • Scientific Management Theory
  • Steps in Management by Objectives (MBO) Process
  • Comparison of Classical and Behavioral Approaches to Management
  • Criticism of Scientific Management Theory (Taylorism)
  • The Cultural Web – Johnson and Scholes’s Model of Organizational Culture
  • Span of Management

15 thoughts on “ Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne Experiment and It’s Contributions to Management ”

it become very helpful to complete my assignment.

Could anyone tell me who wrote this and when please? This is great info for my research however I need to be able to reference the writer! Thanks

Its very helpful in my study and also saves time and i am also hoping that it will help me in future also for getting info about various management subjects.great work .thanks!

Great effort….Thank very much

Simplified version. Students will find this very helpful. It is easy to understand. Thanks to the writer.

The has really helped me in the research I was under taking thanks

it has been very helpful in dealing with my assignment,thanks

This great info but there was need to add info of the author for sake of referencing.

I must give credit to the writer of this beautiful work because it helped me in my research… Tanks a lot

It’s really helpful for me. It is great information for us.

Thanks alot for this wonderful write-up l really appreciate your efforts.

this is great information it has really helped me on my assignment…thanks to the writer

This is marvelous, very impressive and great.

when was this published??

in fact, astonished. I was referred to this by my professor for my project and many insights are found here. It’s a masterpiece.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hawthorne Effect: Definition, How It Works, and How to Avoid It

Ayesh Perera

B.A, MTS, Harvard University

Ayesh Perera, a Harvard graduate, has worked as a researcher in psychology and neuroscience under Dr. Kevin Majeres at Harvard Medical School.

Learn about our Editorial Process

Saul Mcleod, PhD

Editor-in-Chief for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MRes, PhD, University of Manchester

Saul Mcleod, PhD., is a qualified psychology teacher with over 18 years of experience in further and higher education. He has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Olivia Guy-Evans, MSc

Associate Editor for Simply Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology, MSc Psychology of Education

Olivia Guy-Evans is a writer and associate editor for Simply Psychology. She has previously worked in healthcare and educational sectors.

On This Page:

Key Takeaways

  • The Hawthorne effect refers to the increase in the performance of individuals who are noticed, watched, and paid attention to by researchers or supervisors.
  • In 1958, Henry A. Landsberger coined the term ‘Hawthorne effect’ while evaluating a series of studies at a plant near Chicago, Western Electric’s Hawthorne Works.
  • The novelty effect, demand characteristics and feedback on performance may explain what is widely perceived as the Hawthorne effect.
  • Although the possible implications of the Hawthorne effect remain relevant in many contexts, recent research findings challenge many of the original conclusions concerning the phenomenon.

Yellow paper man near magnifying glass on dark background with beam of light

The Hawthorne effect refers to a tendency in some individuals to alter their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed (Fox et al., 2007).

This phenomenon implies that when people become aware that they are subjects in an experiment, the attention they receive from the experimenters may cause them to change their conduct.

Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne effect is named after a set of studies conducted at Western Electric’s Hawthorne Plant in Cicero during the 1920s. The Scientists included in this research team were Elton Mayo (Psychologist), Roethlisberger and Whilehead (Sociologists), and William Dickson (company representative).

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

There are 4 separate experiments in Hawthorne Studies:

Illumination Experiments (1924-1927) Relay Assembly Test Room Experiments (1927-1932) Experiments in Interviewing Workers (1928- 1930) Bank Wiring Room Experiments (1931-1932)

The Hawthorne Experiments, conducted at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant in the 1920s and 30s, fundamentally influenced management theories.

They highlighted the importance of psychological and social factors in workplace productivity, such as employee attention and group dynamics, leading to a more human-centric approach in management practices.

Illumination Experiment

The first and most influential of these studies is known as the “Illumination Experiment”, conducted between 1924 and 1927 (sponsored by the National Research Council).

The company had sought to ascertain whether there was a relationship between productivity and the work environments (e.g., the level of lighting in a factory).

During the first study, a group of workers who made electrical relays experienced several changes in lighting. Their performance was observed in response to the minutest alterations in illumination.

What the original researchers found was that any change in a variable, such as lighting levels, led to an improvement in productivity. This was true even when the change was negative, such as a return to poor lighting.

However, these gains in productivity disappeared when the attention faded (Roethlisberg & Dickson, 1939). The outcome implied that the increase in productivity was merely the result of a motivational effect on the company’s workers (Cox, 2000).

Their awareness of being observed had apparently led them to increase their output. It seemed that increased attention from supervisors could improve job performance.

Hawthorne Experiment by Elton Mayo

Relay assembly test room experiment.

Spurred by these initial findings, a series of experiments were conducted at the plant over the next eight years. From 1928 to 1932, Elton Mayo (1880–1949) and his colleagues began a series of studies examining changes in work structure (e.g., changes in rest periods, length of the working day, and other physical conditions.) in a group of five women.

The results of the Elton Mayo studies reinforced the initial findings of the illumination experiment. Freedman (1981, p. 49) summarizes the results of the next round of experiments as follows:

“Regardless of the conditions, whether there were more or fewer rest periods, longer or shorter workdays…the women worked harder and more efficiently.”

Analysis of the findings by Landsberger (1958) led to the term the Hawthorne effect , which describes the increase in the performance of individuals who are noticed, watched, and paid attention to by researchers or supervisors.

Bank Wiring Observation Room Study

In a separate study conducted between 1927 and 1932, six women working together to assemble telephone relays were observed (Harvard Business School, Historical Collections).

Following the secret measuring of their output for two weeks, the women were moved to a special experiment room. The experiment room, which they would occupy for the rest of the study, had a supervisor who discussed various changes to their work.

The subsequent alterations the women experienced included breaks varied in length and regularity, the provision (and the non-provision) of food, and changes to the length of the workday.

For the most part, changes to these variables (including returns to the original state) were accompanied by an increase in productivity.

The researchers concluded that the women’s awareness of being monitored, as well as the team spirit engendered by the close environment improved their productivity (Mayo, 1945).

Subsequently, a related study was conducted by W. Lloyd Warner and Elton Mayo, anthropologists from Harvard (Henslin, 2008).

They carried out their experiment on 14 men who assembled telephone switching equipment. The men were placed in a room along with a full-time observer who would record all that transpired. The workers were to be paid for their individual productivity.

However, the surprising outcome was a decrease in productivity. The researchers discovered that the men had become suspicious that an increase in productivity would lead the company to lower their base rate or find grounds to fire some of the workers.

Additional observation unveiled the existence of smaller cliques within the main group. Moreover, these cliques seemed to have their own rules for conduct and distinct means to enforce them.

The results of the study seemed to indicate that workers were likely to be influenced more by the social force of their peer groups than the incentives of their superiors.

This outcome was construed not necessarily as challenging the previous findings but as accounting for the potentially stronger social effect of peer groups.

Hawthorne Effect Examples

Managers in the workplace.

The studies discussed above reveal much about the dynamic relationship between productivity and observation.

On the one hand, letting employees know that they are being observed may engender a sense of accountability. Such accountability may, in turn, improve performance.

However, if employees perceive ulterior motives behind the observation, a different set of outcomes may ensue. If, for instance, employees reason that their increased productivity could harm their fellow workers or adversely impact their earnings eventually, they may not be actuated to improve their performance.

This suggests that while observation in the workplace may yield salutary gains, it must still account for other factors such as the camaraderie among the workers, the existent relationship between the management and the employees, and the compensation system.

A study that investigated the impact of awareness of experimentation on pupil performance (based on direct and indirect cues) revealed that the Hawthorne effect is either nonexistent in children between grades 3 and 9, was not evoked by the intended cues, or was not sufficiently strong to alter the results of the experiment (Bauernfeind & Olson, 1973).

However, if the Hawthorne effect were actually present in other educational contexts, such as in the observation of older students or teachers, it would have important implications.

For instance, if teachers were aware that they were being observed and evaluated via camera or an actual person sitting inside the class, it is not difficult to imagine how they might alter their approach.

Likewise, if older students were informed that their classroom participation would be observed, they might have more incentives to pay diligent attention to the lessons.

Alternative Explanations

Despite the possibility of the Hawthorne effect and its seeming impact on performance, alternative accounts cannot be discounted.

The Novelty Effect

The Novelty Effect denotes the tendency of human performance to show improvements in response to novel stimuli in the environment (Clark & Sugrue, 1988). Such improvements result not from any advances in learning or growth, but from a heightened interest in the new stimuli.

Demand Characteristics

Demand characteristics describe the phenomenon in which the subjects of an experiment would draw conclusions concerning the experiment’s objectives, and either subconsciously or consciously alter their behavior as a result (Orne, 2009). The intentions of the participant—which may range from striving to support the experimenter’s implicit agenda to attempting to utterly undermine the credibility of the study—would play a vital role herein.

Feedback on Performance

It is possible for regular evaluations by the experimenters to function as a scoreboard that enhances productivity. The mere fact that the workers are better acquainted with their performance may actuate them to increase their output.

Despite the seeming implications of the Hawthorne effect in a variety of contexts, recent reviews of the initial studies seem to challenge the original conclusions.

For instance, the data from the first experiment were long thought to have been destroyed. Rice (1982) notes that “the original [illumination] research data somehow disappeared.”

Gale (2004, p. 439) states that “these particular experiments were never written up, the original study reports were lost, and the only contemporary account of them derives from a few paragraphs in a trade journal.”

However, Steven Levitt and John List of the University of Chicago were able to uncover and evaluate these data (Levitt & List, 2011). They found that the supposedly notable patterns were entirely fictional despite the possible manifestations of the Hawthorne effect.

They proposed excess responsiveness to variations induced by the experimenter, relative to variations occurring naturally, as an alternative means to test for the Hawthorne effect.

Another study sought to determine whether the Hawthorne effect actually exists, and if so, under what conditions it does, and how large it could be (McCambridge, Witton & Elbourne, 2014).

Following the systemic review of the available evidence on the Harthorne effect, the researchers concluded that while research participation may indeed impact the behaviors being investigated, discovering more about its operation, its magnitude, and its mechanisms require further investigation.

How to Reduce the Hawthorne Effect

The credibility of experiments is essential to advances in any scientific discipline. However, when the results are significantly influenced by the mere fact that the subjects were observed, testing hypotheses becomes exceedingly difficult.

As such, several strategies may be employed to reduce the Hawthorne Effect.

Discarding the Initial Observations :

  • Participants in studies often take time to acclimate themselves to their new environments.
  • During this period, the alterations in performance may stem more from a temporary discomfort with the new environment than from an actual variable.
  • Greater familiarity with the environment over time, however, would decrease the effect of this transition and reveal the raw effects of the variables whose impact the experimenters are observing.

Using Control Groups:

  • When the subjects experiencing the intervention and those in the control group are treated in the same manner in an experiment, the Hawthorne effect would likely influence both groups equivalently.
  • Under such circumstances, the impact of the intervention can be more readily identified and analyzed.
  • Where ethically permissible, the concealment of information and covert data collection can be used to mitigate the Hawthorne effect.
  • Observing the subjects without informing them, or conducting experiments covertly, often yield more reliable outcomes. The famous marshmallow experiment at Stanford University, which was conducted initially on 3 to 5-year-old children, is a striking example.

Frequently Asked Questions

What did the researchers, who identified the hawthorne effect, see as evidence that employee performance was influenced by something other than the physical work conditions.

The researchers of the Hawthorne Studies noticed that employee productivity increased not only in improved conditions (like better lighting), but also in unchanged or even worsened conditions.

They concluded that the mere fact of being observed and feeling valued (the so-called “Hawthorne Effect”) significantly impacted workers’ performance, independent from physical work conditions.

What is the Hawthorne effect in simple terms?

The Hawthorne Effect is when people change or improve their behavior because they know they’re being watched.

It’s named after a study at the Hawthorne Works factory, where researchers found that workers became more productive when they realized they were being observed, regardless of the actual working conditions.

Bauernfeind, R. H., & Olson, C. J. (1973). Is the Hawthorne effect in educational experiments a chimera ? The Phi Delta Kappan, 55 (4), 271-273.

Clark, R. E., & Sugrue, B. M. (1988). Research on instructional media 1978-88. In D. Ely (Ed.), Educational Media and Technology Yearbook, 1994. Volume 20. Libraries Unlimited, Inc., PO Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633.

Cox, E. (2001).  Psychology for A-level . Oxford University Press.

Fox, N. S., Brennan, J. S., & Chasen, S. T. (2008). Clinical estimation of fetal weight and the Hawthorne effect. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 141 (2), 111-114.

Gale, E.A.M. (2004). The Hawthorne studies – a fable for our times? Quarterly Journal of Medicine, (7) ,439-449.

Henslin, J. M., Possamai, A. M., Possamai-Inesedy, A. L., Marjoribanks, T., & Elder, K. (2015). Sociology: A down to earth approach . Pearson Higher Education AU.

Landsberger, H. A. (1958). Hawthorne Revisited : Management and the Worker, Its Critics, and Developments in Human Relations in Industry.

Levitt, S. D., & List, J. A. (2011). Was there really a Hawthorne effect at the Hawthorne plant? An analysis of the original illumination experiments. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3 (1), 224-38.

Mayo, E. (1945). The human problems of an industrial civilization . New York: The Macmillan Company.

McCambridge, J., Witton, J., & Elbourne, D. R. (2014). Systematic review of the Hawthorne effect: new concepts are needed to study research participation effects. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67 (3), 267-277.

McCarney, R., Warner, J., Iliffe, S., Van Haselen, R., Griffin, M., & Fisher, P. (2007). The Hawthorne Effect: a randomised, controlled trial. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 7 (1), 1-8.

Rice, B. (1982). The Hawthorne defect: Persistence of a flawed theory. Psychology Today, 16 (2), 70-74.

Orne, M. T. (2009). Demand characteristics and the concept of quasi-controls. Artifacts in behavioral research: Robert Rosenthal and Ralph L. Rosnow’s classic books, 110 , 110-137.

Further Information

  • Wickström, G., & Bendix, T. (2000). The” Hawthorne effect”—what did the original Hawthorne studies actually show?. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 363-367.
  • Levitt, S. D., & List, J. A. (2011). Was there really a Hawthorne effect at the Hawthorne plant? An analysis of the original illumination experiments. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(1), 224-38.
  • Oswald, D., Sherratt, F., & Smith, S. (2014). Handling the Hawthorne effect: The challenges surrounding a participant observer. Review of social studies, 1(1), 53-73.
  • Bloombaum, M. (1983). The Hawthorne experiments: a critique and reanalysis of the first statistical interpretation by Franke and Kaul. Sociological Perspectives, 26(1), 71-88.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Articles

Solomon Asch Conformity Line Experiment Study

Famous Experiments , Social Science

Solomon Asch Conformity Line Experiment Study

Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment on Social Learning

Famous Experiments , Learning Theories

Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment on Social Learning

John Money Gender Experiment: Reimer Twins

Famous Experiments

John Money Gender Experiment: Reimer Twins

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg: Cultural Variations in Attachment

Famous Experiments , Child Psychology

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg: Cultural Variations in Attachment

Dement and Kleitman (1957)

Dement and Kleitman (1957)

Henry Gustav Molaison: The Curious Case of Patient H.M. 

Henry Gustav Molaison: The Curious Case of Patient H.M. 


  • Increase Font Size

10 Hawthorne Experiment

Dr.Shafali Nagpal

9.1  Learning Objective

9.2  Introduction

9.3 Definition of Hawthorne studies

9.4 Illumination Experiments

9.5 Relay Assembly Test Room Experiments

9.6 Mass Interviewing Program

9.7 Bank Wiring Observation Room Experiment

9.8 Conclusions from experiment

9.9 Summary

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • To gain familiarity about illumination concept.
  • To understand the impact and usefulness of Hawthorne Experiment in industries.
  • To enable students to learn how to increase efficiency through illumination concept.


Mayo’s notoriety for being an administration master lays on the Hawthorne Experiments which he directed from 1927 to 1932 at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). The processing plant utilized essentially ladies labourers who collected phone cabling gear. The point of the investigation was to build up the effect of various states of work on worker efficiency. At first, Mayo analyzed the effect of changes in the production line condition, for example, lighting and dampness. He at that point went ahead to contemplate the impact of changes in business plans, for instance, breaks, hours, and legislative initiative. Not exclusively were the Hawthorne analyzes the main extensive scale investigations of working individuals’ conditions at any point made; they likewise created a scope of surprising outcomes that changed the substance of people administration.

George Elton Mayo was an Australian who ended up noticeably one of the best-known administration scholars after his test takes a shot at worker inspiration in the 1920’s and 30’s.

Mayo was a speaker at the University of Queensland when he chose to move to the University of Pennsylvania in America in 1923 and afterwards to the Harvard Business School in 1926 where he moved toward becoming teacher of mechanical research. It was from here that he went up against the exploration that was to make him a standout amongst the most well-known names in administration history.

Research on efficiency at large assembling edifices like the Hawthorne Works was made conceivable through associations among businesses, colleges, and government. In the 1920s, with help from the National Research Council, the Rockefeller Foundation, and in the long run Harvard Business School, Western Electric attempted a progression of behavioural examinations. The initial, an arrangement of enlightenment tests from 1924 to 1927, embarked to decide the impacts of lighting on labourer proficiency in three separate assembling offices. Records of the investigation uncovered no critical relationship amongst efficiency and light levels. The outcomes incited analysts to examine different variables influencing specialist yield.

The following investigations starting in 1927 concentrated on the hand-off get together division, where the electromagnetic switches that made phone associations conceivable were delivered. The fabricate of transfers required the monotonous get together of pins, springs, armatures, separators, loops, and screws. Western Electric created more than 7 million transfers every year. As the speed of individual labourers decided general generation levels, the impacts of variables like rest periods and work hours in this office were individually noteworthy to the organization.

In a different test room, an administrator arranged parts for five ladies to amass. The women dropped the finished transfers into a chute where a recording gadget punched an opening in a persistently moving paper tape. The quantity of gaps uncovered the generation rate for every labourer. Scientists were uncertain if efficiency expanded in this examination as a result of the presentation of rest periods, shorter working hours, wage motivating forces, the progression of a little gathering, or the different consideration the ladies got. In 1928, George Pennock, an administrator at Western Electric, swung to Elton Mayo at Harvard Business School for direction. “Will have a man turned out from one of the schools and saw what he could enlighten us regarding what we’ve discovered,” Pennock composed.

Mayo’s reputation as a management guru rests on the Hawthorne Experiments which he conducted from 1927 to 1932 at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). The factory employed mainly women workers who assembled telephone  cabling equipment. The study aimed to establish the impact of different conditions of work on employee productivity. Initially, Mayo examined the effect of changes in the factory environment such as lighting and humidity. He then went on to study the effect of changes in employment arrangements such as breaks, hours, and managerial leadership. Not only were the Hawthorne experiments the first large-scale studies of working people’s conditions ever made; they also produced a range of remarkable results that changed the face of people management.

Image credits @ Harvard Business School

Definition of Hawthorne studies

F.W. Taylor through his analyses expanded creation by supporting it. Elton Mayo and his adherents tried to build creation by acculturating it through behavioural examinations prominently known as Hawthorne Experiments/Studies. The reality remains that an introduction to the investigation of authoritative conduct will stay inadequate without a say of Hawthorne thinks about/tests.

In November 1924, a group of scientist teachers from the eminent Harvard Business School of the U.S.A. started researching into the human parts of work and working condition at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company, Chicago. The organization was delivering ringers and other electric types of gear for phone industry. Conspicuous teachers incorporated into the exploration group were Elton Mayo (Psychologist), Roethlisberger and Whitehead (Sociologists) and William Dickson (organization delegate). The group led four separate exploratory and behavioural investigations over a seven-year time span.

The Hawthorne tests were pivotal examinations in human relations that were conducted in the vicinity of 1924 and 1932 at Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works in Chicago. Initially planned as enlightenment concentrates to decide the connection amongst lighting and efficiency, the underlying tests were supported by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1927 an examination group from the Harvard Business School was  welcome to join the investigations after the brightening tests drew unexpected outcomes. Two other arrangements of tests, the transfer get together tests, and the bank-wiring tests took after the enlightenment tests. The investigations accepted the name Hawthorne tests or concentrate from the area of the Western Electric plant. Finished up by 1932, the Hawthorne ponders, with accentuation on another elucidation of gathering conduct, where the reason for the school of human relations.

Some of the major phases of Hawthorne experiments are as follows:

1.  Illumination Experiments

2.  Relay Assembly Test Room Experiments

3.  Mass Interviewing Program

4.  Bank Wiring Observation Room Experiment.

  • Experiments to determine the effects of changes in illumination on productivity, illumination experiments, 1924-27.
  • Experiments to determine the effects of changes in hours and other working conditions on productivity, relay assembly test room experiments, 1927-28;
  • Conducting plant-wide interviews to determine worker attitudes and sentiments, mass interviewing program, 1928-30; and
  • Determination and analysis of social organization at work, bank wiring observation room experiments, 1931-32.

1. Illumination Experiments:

Enlightenment tests were embraced to discover how fluctuating levels of brightening ( a measure of light at the work environment, a physical element) influenced the efficiency. The speculation was that with higher brightening, efficiency would increment. In the first arrangement of tests, a gathering of specialists was picked and set in two separate groups. One gathering was presented to fluctuating forces of brightening. Since this gathering was subjected to test transforms, it was named as test convention. Another forum, called as control gathering, kept on working under steady powers of enlightenment. The scientists found that as they expanded the knowledge in the exploratory gathering, both gatherings expanded generation. At the point when the power of enlightenment diminished, the generation kept on expanding in both the gatherings.

The creation of the test assembles diminished just when the light was diminished to the level of moonlight. The decline was because of light falling much beneath the ordinary level. Along these lines, it was reasoned that enlightenment did not have any impact on profitability but rather something else was meddling with the efficiency. Around then, it was supposed that human calculates critical deciding profitability however which perspective was influencing, it didn’t know. Along these lines, another period of trials was embraced.

2. Relay Assembly Test Room Experiments:

Relay assembly test room experiments were designed to determine the effect of changes in various job conditions on group productivity as the illumination experiments could not establish a relationship between the intensity of light and production. For this purpose, the researchers set up a relay assembly test room two girls were chosen. These girls were asked to choose for more girls as co-workers. The work is related to the assembly of telephone relays. Each relay consisted of some parts which girls assembled into finished products. Output depended on the speed and continuity with which girls worked. The experiments started with introducing numerous changes in sequence with duration of each change ranging from four to twelve weeks. An observer was associated with girls to supervise their work. Before each change was introduced, the girls were consulted. They were given the opportunity to express their viewpoints and concerns to the supervisor. In some cases, they were allowed to take decisions on matters concerning them.

Following were the changes and resultant outcomes:

  • The incentive system has been modified so that each girl’s extra pay was based on the other five rather than the output of larger group, say, 100 workers or so. The productivity increase as compared to before.
  • Two five-minute rests one in the morning session and other in evening session were introduced which were increased to ten minutes. The productivity increased.
  • The rest period was reduced to five minutes, but the frequency was increased. The productivity decreased slightly, and the girls complained that frequent rest intervals affected the rhythm of the work.
  • The number of rest was reduced to two of ten minutes of each, but in the morning, coffee or soup was served along with the sandwich, and in the evening, snack was provided. The productivity increased.
  • Changes in working hours and workday were introduced, such as cutting an hour off the end of the day and eliminating Saturday work. The girls were allowed to leave at 4.30 p.m. instead of usual 5.00 p.m. and later at 4.00 p.m. productivity increased.

As each change was introduced, absenteeism decreased, morale improved, and less supervision was required. It was assumed that these positive factors were there because of the various factors being adjusted and making them more confident. At this time, the researchers decided to revert to an original position, that is, no rest and other benefits. Surprisingly, productivity increased further instead of going down. This development caused a considerable amount of redirection in thinking, and the result implied that productivity increased not because of positive changes in physical factors but because of the change in girls’ attitudes towards work and their workgroup. They developed a feeling of stability and a sense of belongings. Since there was more freedom of work, they developed a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. The relationship between supervisor and workers became close and friendly.

3. Mass Interviewing Program:

During experiments, about 20,000 interviews were conducted between 1928 and 1930 to determine employees’ attitudes towards company, supervision, insurance plans, promotion and wages. Initially, these interviews were conducted using direct questioning such as “do you like your supervisor?” or “is he in your opinion fair or does he have favourites?” etc.

This method has the disadvantage of stimulating antagonism or the oversimplified ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses which could not get to the root of the problem; the method was changed to nondirective interviewing where the interviewer was asked to listen to instead of talking, arguing or advising. The interview program gave valuable insights into the human behaviour in the company.

Some of the major findings of the program were as follows:

  • A complaint is not necessarily an objective recital of facts; it is a symptom of personal disturbance the cause of which may be deep-seated.
  • Objects, persons or events are carriers of social meanings. They become related to employee satisfaction or dissatisfaction only as the employee comes to view them from his situation.
  • The personal situation of the worker is a configuration, composed of a personal preference involving sentiments, desires and interests of the person and the cultural reference constituting the person’s human past and his present interpersonal relations.
  • The position or status of worker in the company is a reference from which the employee assigns meaning and value to the events, objects and features of his environment such as hours of work, wages, etc.
  • The social organization of the company represents a system of values from which the worker derives satisfaction or dissatisfaction according to the perception of his social status and the expected social rewards.
  • The social demands of the workers are influenced by social experience in groups both inside and outside the work plant.

During interviews, it was discovered that workers’ behaviour was being influenced by group behaviour. However, this conclusion was not very satisfactory and, therefore, researchers decided to conduct another series of experiments. As such, the detailed study of a shop situation was started to find out the behaviour of workers in small groups.


4. Bank Wiring Observation Room Experiment:

These investigations were directed to discover the effect of little gatherings of the people. In this trial, a group of 14 male labourers were framed into a little work meeting. The men were occupied with the gathering of terminal banks for the utilization in phone trades. The work included appending wire with switches for certain gear utilized as a part of phone deals. Time-based compensation for every specialist was settled on the premise of the normal yield of every labourer. Reward as additionally payable on the assumption of collective endeavour.

It was normal that profoundly skilled specialists would convey weight on less capable labourers to build yield and exploit gather motivation design. In any case, the technique did not work and experts built up their particular standard of yield, and this was implemented enthusiastically by different strategies for social weight. The specialist’s referred to different explanations behind this conduct viz. dread of unemployment, a dread of increment in yield; yearning to secure moderate labourers and so on. The Hawthorne tests unmistakably demonstrated that a man at work is roused by more than the fulfilment of financial needs. The administration ought to perceive that individuals are social creatures and not simply monetary creatures. As a social being, they are people from a gathering and the government should attempt to comprehend assemble states of mind and gathering brain science.

The following were the main conclusions drawn by Prof. Mayo by Hawthorne studies:

1. Social Unit:

A factory is not only a techno-economic unit but also a social unit. Men are social beings. This social characteristic at work plays a major role in motivating people. The output increased in Relay Room due to the effective functioning of a social group with a warm relationship with its supervisors.

2. Group Influence:

The workers in a group develop a common psychological bond uniting them as the £ panel in the form of informal organization. Their behaviour is influenced by these groups. The pressure of a group, rather than management demands, frequently has the strongest influence on how productive workers would be.

3. Group Behavior:

Management must understand that a typical group behaviour can dominate or even supersede individual propensities.

4. Motivation:

Human and social motivation can play even a greater role than little monitory incentives in moving or motivating and managing employee group.

5. Supervision:

The style of control affects worker’s attitude to work and his productivity. A supervisor who is friendly with his employees and takes an interest in their social problems can get co-operation and better results from the subordinates.

6. Working Conditions:

Productivity increases as a result of improved working conditions in the organization.

7. Employee Morale:

Mayo pointed out that workers were not simply cogs, in the machinery. Instead, the employee morale (both individual and in groups) can have profound effects on productivity.

8. Communication:

Experiments have shown that the output increases when workers have explained the logic behind various decisions and their participation in decision-making brings better results.

9. Balanced Approach:

The problems of employees could not be solved by taking one factor, i.e. management could not achieve the results by emphasizing one aspect. All the things should be discussed, and a decision is made for improving the whole situation. A balanced approach to the whole situation can show better results.

Conclusions of Hawthorne Studies / Experiments

It took Elton Mayo some time to work through the results of his Hawthorne Experiments, particularly the seemingly illogical results of the Relay Assembly room operations. His most important conclusion was that the prevailing view of the time that people want to work purely for money and living was deeply flawed. Work was much more. It was first and foremost a group activity in which other people and their behaviour are they colleagues, managers or observers, affected how well people worked. People’s morale and productivity were affected not so much  by the conditions in which they worked out by the recognition they received. The rises in productivity in the Relay Assembly Room were achieved under the affected eye of the observers not because the conditions made the workers feel good but because the employees felt valued.

The conclusions derived from the Hawthorne Studies were as follows:-

  • The social and psychological factors are responsible for workers’ productivity and job satisfaction. Only good physical working conditions are not enough to increase productivity.
  • The informal relations among workers influence the employees’ behaviour and performance more than the formal relationships in the organization.
  • Employees will perform better if they are allowed to participate in decision-making affecting their interests.
  • Employees will also work more efficiently when they believe that the management is interested in their welfare.
  • When employees are treated with respect and dignity, their performance will improve.
  • Financial incentives alone cannot increase the performance. Social and Psychological needs must also be satisfied to increase productivity.
  • Good communication between the superiors and subordinates can improve the relations and the productivity of the subordinates.
  • Special attention and freedom to express their views will improve the performance of the workers.

Criticism of Hawthorne Studies / Experiments

The Hawthorne Experiments are mainly criticized on the following grounds:-

  • Lacks Validity : The Hawthorne experiments were conducted under controlled situations. These findings will not work in the real setting. The workers under observation knew about the tests. Therefore, they may have improved their performance only for the experiments.
  • More Importance to Human Aspects : The Hawthorne experiments give too much importance to human aspects. Human aspects alone cannot improve productivity. The production also depends on technological and other factors.
  • More Emphasis on Group Decision-making : The Hawthorne experiments placed too much emphasis on group decision-making. In a real situation, an individual decision cannot be neglected especially when quick decisions are required, and there is no time to consult others.
  • Over Importance to Freedom of Workers : The Hawthorne experiments give a lot of relevance to freedom of the workers. It does not give importance to the constructive role of the supervisors. In reality, too much of freedom to the workers can lower down their performance or productivity.

Mayo’s reputation as a management guru rests on the Hawthorne Experiments which he conducted from 1927 to 1932 at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois. The factory employed mainly women workers who assembled telephone cabling equipment. The study aimed to establish the impact of different conditions of work on employee productivity. Initially, Mayo examined the effect of changes in the factory environment such as lighting and humidity. He then went on to study the effect of changes in employment arrangements such as breaks, hours, and managerial leadership. Not only were the Hawthorne experiments the first large-scale studies of working people’s conditions ever made; they also produced a range of remarkable results that changed the thinking of management.

  • Franke, Richard H., and James D. Kaul. “The Hawthorne Experiments: First Statistical Interpretations.” American Sociological Review (1978): 623-43.
  • Gillespie, Richard. Manufacturing Knowledge: A History of the Hawthorne Experiments. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
  • Landsberger, Henry A. Hawthorne Revisited. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1958.
  • Mayo, Elton. The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization. New York: Macmillan, 1933.
  • Pitcher, Brian L. “The Hawthorne Experiments: Statistical Evidence for a Learning Hypothesis.” Social Forces (1981): 133-39.
  • HBS Home HBS Index Contact Us
  • A New Vision An Essay by Professors Michel Anteby and Rakesh Khurana
  • Next Introduction

The Human Relations Movement:

Harvard business school and the hawthorne experiments (1924-1933).

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.

  • The Hawthorne Plant
  • Employee Welfare
  • Illumination Studies and Relay Assembly Test Room
  • Enter Elton Mayo
  • Human Relations and Harvard Business School
  • Women in the Relay Assembly Test Room
  • The Interview Process
  • Spreading the Word
  • The "Hawthorne Effect"
  • Research Links
  • Baker Library | Historical Collections | Site Credits | Digital Accessibility
  • Contact Email: [email protected]

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Organizational Behavior

Overview of the Hawthorne Effect

The field of organizational behavior is built on a foundation of research and studies that aim to understand the complexities of human behavior within the workplace. One of the most influential studies in this field is the Hawthorne Studies, conducted at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago between 1924 and 1932.

Led by a team of researchers from Harvard Business School , these studies revolutionized the understanding of human behavior in a work setting and continue to shape organizational behavior research today.

The Hawthorne Effect, named after the studies that uncovered it, refers to the phenomenon where individuals modify their behavior simply because they are being observed.

  • 1 The Context of the Hawthorne Studies
  • 2 The Initial Experiments and Findings
  • 3 The Significance of the Hawthorne Studies
  • 4 The Legacy of the Hawthorne Effect in Organizational Behavior
  • 5.1.1 Benefits and Impact
  • 5.1.2 Limitations

The Context of the Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne Studies were conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard Business School, including Elton Mayo, Fritz Roethlisberger, and William J. Dickson. Elton Mayo , considered the father of the Hawthorne Studies, played a crucial role in shaping the research and interpreting the findings.

The Hawthorne Studies were originally initiated to examine the relationship between lighting levels and worker productivity. The researchers believed that by increasing lighting levels, they could improve worker efficiency.

However, the results of the initial experiments surprised them. Not only did productivity increase when lighting was increased, but it also increased when lighting was decreased. This unexpected finding prompted further investigations into the psychological and social factors that influence worker motivation and performance.

The Initial Experiments and Findings

The initial experiments of the Hawthorne Studies focused on the relationship between lighting levels and worker productivity. The researchers divided the workers into two groups and manipulated the lighting conditions for each group. Surprisingly, both groups showed increased productivity regardless of whether the lighting was increased or decreased. This phenomenon became known as the “Hawthorne Effect” and led the researchers to delve deeper into the factors that influence worker behavior.

Further experiments were conducted to explore factors such as rest breaks, incentives, and supervisory styles. The researchers found that regardless of the specific changes made, productivity tended to increase. This led to the realization that it was not the specific changes themselves that influenced productivity, but rather the attention given to the workers and the social interactions within the workplace.

The Significance of the Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne Studies challenged traditional management theories that focused solely on the technical aspects of work. They demonstrated that the human element within organizations plays a crucial role in productivity and job satisfaction.

The studies highlighted the importance of worker attitudes, group dynamics, and social interactions in influencing employee performance. This shift in perspective paved the way for a greater emphasis on creating supportive and collaborative work environments that prioritize employee well-being and engagement.

The findings of the Hawthorne Studies also led to the development of new management practices. The researchers advocated for a more participative management style that encouraged open communication, employee involvement in decision-making, and a focus on developing positive relationships between managers and workers. These practices aimed to create a sense of belonging and foster a positive work culture, ultimately leading to improved performance and job satisfaction.

The Legacy of the Hawthorne Effect in Organizational Behavior

The Hawthorne Studies have left a lasting legacy in the field of organizational behavior. They shifted the focus from a purely technical approach to a more holistic understanding of employee behavior.

The studies highlighted the importance of considering the human element within organizations and recognizing the impact of social interactions and group dynamics on productivity and job satisfaction.

The Hawthorne Studies also paved the way for further research in the field, inspiring subsequent studies that explored topics such as leadership styles, employee motivation, and organizational culture .

Criticisms of the Hawthorne Studies

One criticism is that the studies were c onducted in a specific context – the Hawthorne Works factory – which may limit the generalizability of the findings to other industries or settings.

Some argue that the Hawthorne Effect itself may have influenced the results , as the workers may have changed their behavior due to the awareness of being observed.

Another criticism is that the studies did not take into account external factors that could have influenced productivity, such as changes in technology or market conditions.

And critics argue that the studies focused too heavily on the social and psychological aspects of work , neglecting other important factors that contribute to productivity.

Quick Overview of the Hawthorne Effect

Human Relations Approach : Emphasized the importance of social relations and employee attitudes in the workplace.

Effect of Observation on Behavior : Known as the “Hawthorne Effect,” it suggests that workers modify their behavior in response to being observed.

Increased Productivity : Found that changes in physical work conditions (like lighting) temporarily increased productivity.

Social Factors in Work : Identified the significant role of social groups and norms in the workplace.

Employee Motivation : Highlighted non-economic factors like camaraderie and attention as motivators for workers.

Management Practices : Suggested that more attention to workers’ needs could improve worker satisfaction and productivity.

Benefits and Impact

Humanizes the Workplace : Shifted focus from strict task orientation to considering workers’ social needs and well-being.

Foundation for Modern HR Practices : Influenced the development of employee-centered management and human resource practices.

Importance of Social Dynamics : Emphasized the role of group dynamics, leadership, and communication in work efficiency.

Broader Understanding of Motivation : Contributed to understanding that motivation is not solely driven by pay or working conditions.


Methodological Flaws : Critics point out flaws in experimental design, lack of proper controls, and subjective interpretations.

Exaggerated Effects : Some argue that the studies overemphasized the impact of social and psychological factors on productivity.

Overgeneralization : Critics believe that conclusions drawn from the studies were too broad and not universally applicable.

Potential Bias : The presence of researchers may have influenced worker behavior, questioning the validity of the results.

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

Key Takeaways

  • The Hawthorne Studies have had a profound impact on our understanding of human behavior in the workplace.
  • These studies revolutionized management theories by highlighting the significance of worker attitudes, group dynamics, and social interactions in influencing productivity and job satisfaction.
  • The findings of the studies continue to shape modern-day organizations, emphasizing the value of employee engagement, teamwork, and creating a positive work culture for optimal performance.

What is the Hawthorne Effect?

The Hawthorne Effect refers to the phenomenon where individuals change or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.

How was the Hawthorne Effect identified?

It was identified during the Hawthorne Studies conducted at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works, where changes in work environment led to increased productivity, believed to be due to the workers’ awareness of being observed.

What were the Hawthorne Studies?

The Hawthorne Studies were a series of experiments on worker productivity conducted at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric Company in Chicago between 1924 and 1932.

Why is the Hawthorne Effect important in research?

In research, the Hawthorne Effect is important because it highlights the need to consider how the presence of researchers or the awareness of being studied can influence participants’ behavior.

Can the Hawthorne Effect affect the outcome of an experiment?

Yes, the Hawthorne Effect can significantly affect the outcome of an experiment as participants might alter their natural behavior due to the awareness of being observed or studied.

Is the Hawthorne Effect only observed in workplace settings?

No, the Hawthorne Effect can occur in various settings, including clinical trials, educational research, and workplace studies, essentially anywhere subjects are aware they are being observed.

How can researchers minimize the Hawthorne Effect?

Researchers can minimize the Hawthorne Effect by using control groups, ensuring anonymity, employing blind or double-blind study designs, and minimizing the intrusion of observation.

Does the Hawthorne Effect have implications for management?

Yes, in management, it suggests that giving attention to employees and making them feel valued can improve productivity and job satisfaction.

What criticisms have been made about the Hawthorne Effect?

Critics argue that the original studies had methodological flaws, and some suggest the effect might be overestimated or not as universal as once thought.

How is the Hawthorne Effect relevant in today’s workplace?

In modern workplaces, understanding the Hawthorne Effect is relevant for designing work environments and management practices that acknowledge the impact of observation and attention on employee behavior and productivity.

About The Author

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

Geoff Fripp

Related posts, theories of multiple intelligences.

The theory of Multiple Intelligences, introduced by Howard Gardner in 1983, challenges the traditional view of intelligence as a single, general ability.

Find out more...

Goal-setting Theory: Motivation

Motivation Definition: The reason or reasons to act in a particular way. It is what makes us do things and carry out tasks for the organisation.…

Fundamental Attribution Error

The Fundamental Attribution Error often means there are false reason why something happened, we have to look into why something happened, but look at it…

Personality in Organisations

Personality Definition: A personality is a mixture of a person’s characteristics, beliefs and qualities which make them who they are. What is the Definition of Personality?…

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

9.2 The Hawthorne Studies

  • What did Elton Mayo’s Hawthorne studies reveal about worker motivation?

The classical era of management was followed by the human relations era, which began in the 1930s and focused primarily on how human behavior and relations affect organizational performance. The new era was ushered in by the Hawthorne studies, which changed the way many managers thought about motivation, job productivity, and employee satisfaction. The studies began when engineers at the Hawthorne Western Electric plant decided to examine the effects of varying levels of light on worker productivity—an experiment that might have interested Frederick Taylor. The engineers expected brighter light to lead to increased productivity, but the results showed that varying the level of light in either direction (brighter or dimmer) led to increased output from the experimental group. In 1927, the Hawthorne engineers asked Harvard professor Elton Mayo and a team of researchers to join them in their investigation.

From 1927 to 1932, Mayo and his colleagues conducted experiments on job redesign, length of workday and workweek, length of break times, and incentive plans. The results of the studies indicated that increases in performance were tied to a complex set of employee attitudes. Mayo claimed that both experimental and control groups from the plant had developed a sense of group pride because they had been selected to participate in the studies. The pride that came from this special attention motivated the workers to increase their productivity. Supervisors who allowed the employees to have some control over their situation appeared to further increase the workers’ motivation. These findings gave rise to what is now known as the Hawthorne effect , which suggests that employees will perform better when they feel singled out for special attention or feel that management is concerned about employee welfare. The studies also provided evidence that informal work groups (the social relationships of employees) and the resulting group pressure have positive effects on group productivity. The results of the Hawthorne studies enhanced our understanding of what motivates individuals in the workplace. They indicate that in addition to the personal economic needs emphasized in the classical era, social needs play an important role in influencing work-related attitudes and behaviors.

Concept Check

  • How did Mayo’s studies at the Hawthorne plant contribute to the understanding of human motivation?
  • What is the Hawthorne effect?
  • Was the practice of dimming and brightening the lights ethical?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Access for free at
  • Authors: Lawrence J. Gitman, Carl McDaniel, Amit Shah, Monique Reece, Linda Koffel, Bethann Talsma, James C. Hyatt
  • Publisher/website: OpenStax
  • Book title: Introduction to Business
  • Publication date: Sep 19, 2018
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Book URL:
  • Section URL:

© Apr 5, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.

Encyclopedia Britannica

  • Games & Quizzes
  • History & Society
  • Science & Tech
  • Biographies
  • Animals & Nature
  • Geography & Travel
  • Arts & Culture
  • On This Day
  • One Good Fact
  • New Articles
  • Lifestyles & Social Issues
  • Philosophy & Religion
  • Politics, Law & Government
  • World History
  • Health & Medicine
  • Browse Biographies
  • Birds, Reptiles & Other Vertebrates
  • Bugs, Mollusks & Other Invertebrates
  • Environment
  • Fossils & Geologic Time
  • Entertainment & Pop Culture
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Visual Arts
  • Demystified
  • Image Galleries
  • Infographics
  • Top Questions
  • Britannica Kids
  • Saving Earth
  • Space Next 50
  • Student Center

Union Jack flag of Great Britain, united kingdom

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

  • Australian Dictionary of Biography Online - Biography of George Elton Mayo

Elton Mayo (born Dec. 26, 1880, Adelaide , Australia—died Sept. 7, 1949, Polesden Lacey, Surrey , Eng.) was an Australian-born psychologist who became an early leader in the field of industrial sociology in the United States , emphasizing the dependence of productivity on small-group unity. He extended this work to link the factory system to the larger society.

After teaching at the universities of Queensland in Brisbane (1919–23) and Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1923–26), Mayo served as professor of industrial research at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (1926–47). The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization (1933) is probably his most important book.

In 1927 Mayo initiated a pioneering industrial research project at the Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works, Chicago; his associates F.J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson summarized the results in Management and the Worker (1939). Parts of this study—those concerning the collection of data, labour-management relations, and informal interaction among factory employees—continued to be influential. Mayo also advocated a personnel-counseling program that would address the particular needs of industrial workers unable to derive satisfaction from employment in large organizations.

Spontaneity Is the Spice of Management: Elton Mayo’s Hunt for Cooperation

  • Living reference work entry
  • Latest version View entry history
  • First Online: 18 April 2020
  • Cite this living reference work entry

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  • Jeffrey Muldoon 5  

181 Accesses

This chapter covers the career of Elton Mayo and the impact of the Hawthorne studies upon the field of management. The first section of the chapter discusses Mayo’s contribution to the management literature. This section argues that Mayo’s best elements – his empathy and charisma – have not survived, but he leads a great legacy, as a scholar, for his influence in the field. The second section of the chapter covers the role of the Great Depression and World War II on Mayo’s work. The third section compares Mayo’s work to his major competitors – Whiting Williams and Henry S. Dennison. The final section compares Taylor to Mayo, arguing that they were complements rather than competitors.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions

Bell D (1947) Adjusting men to machines. Commentary 3:79–88

Google Scholar  

Bell, D. (1973). The coming of post-industrial society. New York: Basic.

Bell D (1976) The cultural contradictions of capitalism. Basic Books, New York

Bendix R (1956) Work and authority in industry: ideologies of management in the course of industrialization. Wiley, New York

Bendix R, Fisher LH (1949) The perspectives of Elton Mayo. Rev Econ Stat 31(4):312–319

Article   Google Scholar  

Blum JM (1976) V was for victory. Harcourt Brace Janocvich, Boston

Boddewyn J (1961) Frederick Winslow Taylor revisited. J Acad Manag 4(2):100–107

Brinkley A (1998) Liberalism and its discontents. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

Brinton C (1948) The manipulation of economic unrest. J Econ Hist 8(S1):21–31

Bruce K (2006) Henry S. Dennison, Elton Mayo, and the human relations historiography. Manag Organ Hist 1(2):177–199

Bruce K (2015) Activist manager: the enduring contribution of Henry S. Dennison to management and organization studies. J Manag Hist 21(2):143–171

Bruce K, Nyland C (2011) Elton Mayo and the deification of human relations. Organ Stud 32(3):383–405

Cappelli P, Bassi L, Katz H, Knoke D, Osterman P (1997) Change at work. Oxford University Press, New York

Carey A (1967) The Hawthorne studies as radical criticism. Am Sociol Rev 32(3):403–416

Chase S (1946) Calling all social scientists. Nation Mag 162:538–540

Chester DN (1946) Book review of “the social problems of an industrial civilization.” Econ J 56(222):288–290

Cohen L (1990) Making a new deal: industrial workers in Chicago. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 1919–1939

Cooper WH (1962) The comparative administrative philosophies of Frederick W Taylor and Elton Mayo. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania

Cropanzano R, Mitchell MS (2005) Social exchange theory: an interdisciplinary review. J Manag 31:874–900

Drucker PF (1946) For industrial peace. Harper’s Weekly 193:385–395

Elliott M (1934) Book review of human problems of an industrial civilization. Am Econ Rev 24(2):322–323

Fortune (1946) The fruitful errors of Elton Mayo. Fortune 34:181–186

Foster J, Mills AJ, Weatherbee TG (2014) The new deal, history, and management & organization studies: constructing disciplinary actors and theories. J Manag Hist 20(2):179–199

Gardner BB, Moore DG (1945) Human relations in industry. Richard D. Irwin, Chicago

Gillespie R (1991) Manufacturing knowledge: a history of the Hawthorne experiments. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Hamby AA (2004) For the survival of democracy. Free Press, New York

Hart CWM (1943) The Hawthorne experiments. Can J Econ Polit Sci 9(2):150–163

Hart CWM (1949) Industrial relations research and social theory. Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science/Revue canadienne de economiques et science politique, 15(1):53–73

Hassard JS (2012) Rethinking the Hawthorne studies: the western electric research in its social, political, and historical context. Hum Relat 65(11):1431–1461

Heames JT, Breland JW (2010) Management pioneer contributors: 30-year review. J Manag Hist 16(4):427–436

Homans GC (1949a) The perspectives of Elton Mayo: some corrections. Rev Econ Stat 31(4):319–321

Homans GC (1949b) The strategy of industrial sociology. Am J Sociol 54(4):330–337

Homans GC (1984) Coming to my senses: the autobiography of a social scientist. Transaction Books, New Brunswick

Kennedy DM (1999) Freedom from fear: the American people in depression and war, vol 9. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 1929–1945

Kimball DS (1946) Book review of the social problems of an industrial civilization. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 245(1):206–207

Knowles WH (1952) Economics of industrial engineering. Ind Labor Relat Rev 5(2):209–220

Kornhauser AW (1934) Book review of the human problems of an industrial civilization. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 172:171–171

Landsberger HA (1958) Hawthorne revisited: management and the worker: its critics and developments in human relations in industry. Cornell University Press, Ithaca

Leuchtenburg WE (1995) The FDR years. Columbia University Press, New York

Locke EA (1982) The ideas of Frederick W. Taylor: an evaluation. Acad Manag Rev 7(1):14–24

Locke EA, Latham GP (1984) Goal setting: a motivational technique that works! Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs

Mayo E (1933) The human problems of an industrial civilization. Macmillan, New York

Mayo E (1945) The social problems of an industrial civilization. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

Moore WE (1947) Book review. Am Sociol Rev 12(1):123–124

Muldoon J (2012) The Hawthorne legacy: a reassessment of the impact of the Hawthorne studies on management scholarship, 1930–1958. J Manag Hist 18(1):105–119

Muldoon J (2017) The Hawthorne studies: an analysis of critical perspectives, 1936–1958. J Manag Hist 23(1):74–94

O’Connor ES (1999a) The politics of management thought: a case study of the Harvard Business School and the human relations school. Acad Manag Rev 24(1):117–131

O’Connor E (1999b) Minding the workers: the meaning of ‘human’ and ‘human relations’ in Elton Mayo. Organization 62:223–246

O’Neill W (1993) A democracy at war: America’s fight at home and abroad in World War II. Free Press, New York

Organ DW (1988) Organizational citizenship behavior: the good soldier syndrome. Lexington Books, Lexington

Organ DW, Podsakoff PM, MacKenzie SB (2006) Organizational citizenship behavior: its nature, antecedents, and consequences. Sage, Thousand Oaks

Park RE (1934) Industrial fatigue and group morale. Am J Sociol 40(3):349–356

Parker HW (1958) Industrial relations, manipulative or democratic?. Am J Econ Sociol 18(1):25–33

Parsons T (1940) The motivation of economic activities. Can J Econ Polit Sci 6(2):187–202

Parsons HM (1974) What happened at Hawthorne? Science 10:259–282

Parsons T, Barber B (1948) Sociology, 1941–1946. Am J Sociol 53(4):245–257

Peach EB, Wren DA (1991) Pay for performance from antiquity to the 1950s. J Organ Behav Manag 12(1):5–26

Powell DSF (1957) Recent trends in industrial sociology. Am Cathol Sociol Rev 18(3):194–204

Roethlisberger FJ (1977) The elusive phenomena. Harvard University Press, Cambridge

Rogers M (1946) Problems of human relations in industry. Sociometry 9(4):350–371

Rose M (1975) Industrial behaviour: theoretical development since Taylor. Allen Lane, London

Rousseau DM (1998) LMX meets the psychological contract: looking inside the black box of leader member exchange. In: Dansereau F, Yammarino FJ (eds) Leadership: the multiple level approaches. JAI Press, Greenwich, pp 149–154

Roy D (1959) Banana time: job satisfaction and informal interaction. Hum Organ 18(4):158–168

Shales A (2007) The forgotten man: a new history of the great depression. HarperCollins, New York

Smith JH (1998) The enduring legacy of Elton Mayo. Hum Relat 51(3):221–249

Sonnenfeld JA (1985) Shedding light on the Hawthorne studies. J Occup Behav 6:110–130

Stone RC (1952) Conflicting approaches to the study of workers. Soc Forces 31(2):117–124

Trahair RCS (1984) The humanist temper. Transaction Books, New Brunswick

Urwick LF (1937) The function of administration. In: Gulick L, Urwick LF (eds) Papers on the science of administration, Institute of Public Administration. Columbia University, New York, pp 115–130

Urwick LF (1943) Administration in theory and practice. Br Manag Rev 8:37–59

Urwick LF (1944) The elements of administration. Harper & Row, New York

Wagner-Tsukamoto S (2007) An institutional economic reconstruction of scientific management: on the lost theoretical logic of Taylorism. Acad Manag Rev 32(1):105–117

Warring S (1994) Taylorism transformed, Reissue edition. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill

Whyte WF (1956) Problems of industrial sociology. Soc Probl 4(2):148–160

Whyte WF (1987) From human relations to organizational behavior: reflections on the changing scene. Ind Labor Relat Rev 40(4):487–500

Williams, Mills AJ (2017) Frances Perkins: gender, context and history in the neglect of a management theorist. J Manag Hist 23(1):32–50

Wren DA (1987) The white collar hobo. Iowa State University Press, Ames

Wren DA (2005) The history of management thought, 5th edn. Wiley, Hoboken

Wren DA, Hay RD (1977) Management historians and business historians: differing perceptions of pioneer contributions. Acad Manag J 20(3):470–476

Zetka JR Jr (1992) Work organization and wildcat strikes in the US automobile industry, 1946 to 1963. Am Sociol Rev 57:214–226

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Emporia State University, Emporia, KS, USA

Jeffrey Muldoon

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeffrey Muldoon .

Editor information

Editors and affiliations.

Emporia State University, Emporia, USA

Faculté des Sciences Sociales, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada

Anthony Gould

College of Business, RMIT University, School of Management, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Adela McMurray

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Cite this entry.

Muldoon, J. (2020). Spontaneity Is the Spice of Management: Elton Mayo’s Hunt for Cooperation. In: Muldoon, J., Gould, A., McMurray, A. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Management History. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Download citation


Received : 04 June 2018

Accepted : 03 July 2018

Published : 18 April 2020

Publisher Name : Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

Print ISBN : 978-3-319-62348-1

Online ISBN : 978-3-319-62348-1

eBook Packages : Springer Reference Business and Management Reference Module Humanities and Social Sciences Reference Module Business, Economics and Social Sciences

  • Publish with us

Policies and ethics

Chapter history



  • Find a journal
  • Track your research

Elton Mayo's Theory of Management & Hawthorne Studies

Sarah has taught college Finance for over three years. She holds a master’s degree in Finance from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

What is Elton Mayo's contribution to management?

Elton Mayo's contribution to management was mainly in employee management. He discovered that social forces and relational forces positively impact employee productivity. He also noted that although finances play a role as motivators, positive work relationships weigh more.

What is Elton Mayo known for?

Elton Mayo is known as the founder of human relations management (HRM). As a renowned professor, He participated in the Hawthorne Studies, which produced the knowledge used in HRM. He also wrote The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization, which has helped manage workplace employees.

What did Elton Mayo discover from the Hawthorne experiment?

Elton Mayo took part in the Hawthorne Studies as part of the research team from Harvard to help with the illumination experiment. From the Hawthorne experiments, Mayo discovered that finances were not the only motivators of productivity. On the contrary, some of the factors that increased productivity were environmental and social.

Table of Contents

Elton mayo's theory of management, prevailing theory of management, elton mayo and the hawthorne studies, the human relations movement, lesson summary.

Every work environment, whether for-profit or non-profit, relies on management theories to effectively handle people, processes, and information. Management theories are the concepts and strategies that guide managers as they direct various business processes and people.

In the management of people, one of the most impactful theories is the Elton Mayo theory of management . The approach was named after its founder, Elton Mayo . Mayo's management theory highlights the importance of social factors in contributing to job satisfaction. This theory significantly revolutionized Human Relations Management (HRM) , which considers employee behavior in the workplace. It significantly helped institutions and managers effectively retain their employees at work. Following the Elton Mayo theory, many establishments focus on job satisfaction and their employees' value.

Who was Elton Mayo?

George Elton Mayo (1880-1949) was a renowned professor of industrial research and the founding father of human relations in business. He was born in 1880 in Australia. His formal education was in philosophy and psychology, and in his early career, he worked as a psychologist treating recovering WWI patients. He became a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Queensland and later worked at the University of Pennsylvania. Mayo joined the Harvard Business School in 1926 as an industrial research professor and would remain there for the rest of his career. He continued as a psychologist and organizational theorist throughout his working life.

Elton Mayo is known as the father of human relations.

Mayo is regarded as the father of human relations management due to his enormous contributions to the field. His most famous work was associated with the Hawthorne Studies . The Hawthorne Studies involved human behavior research at the Hawthorne Western Electric plant. It is from these studies that Mayo developed his theory of management. He also wrote a book titled The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization . Mayo's works are still referred to in the management of employees.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member. Create your account

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

You must c C reate an account to continue watching

Register to view this lesson.

As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 88,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.

Get unlimited access to over 88,000 lessons.

Already registered? Log in here for access

Resources created by teachers for teachers.

I would definitely recommend to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Just checking in. are you still watching.

  • 0:01 Who Was Elton Mayo?
  • 0:27 The Prevailing Theory…
  • 0:52 What Were the…
  • 1:55 What Was the Outcome…
  • 2:25 What Is the Human…

Before Elton Mayo's theory of management, the prevailing theory of management was the scientific management theory . Scientific management involves studying motion and time to determine productive ways of work, with the main goal of increasing productivity in manufacturing industries by moving towards mass production, eliminating inefficiencies, and streamlining processes.

Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) was an engineer who became known as the father of scientific management . As an engineer, Taylor examined how work was being done. In his effort to eliminate inefficiencies, he mainly regarded employees as unskilled and categorized manual labor alongside machinery. However, Taylor also noticed that workers performing repetitive tasks were often unmotivated and that low motivation was linked to low productivity. He observed that productivity could be increased by an increase in compensation. Therefore according to Taylor's theory, the way to increase employee motivation was through good pay, frequent salary increases, or piece rates.

Frederick Taylor is known as the father of scientific management.

Elton Mayo and other researchers joined the Hawthorne Studies around the 1920s. The Hawthorne Studies included a series on workers at the Hawthorne Western Electric plant near Chicago. The company had collaborated with the National Research Council (NRC), a governmental body that funds research on health science and technological studies. The company's engineers conducted a series of illumination tests to measure the relationship between worker productivity and lighting.

After unanticipated results in the study, the company invited a research team from Harvard to help with further investigations. Elton Mayo was part of the research team from Harvard. During the studies, the researchers noted the Hawthorne effect . It was the phenomenon of people changing their behavior due to being investigated. The Hawthorne studies also included studies on group behaviors and human relations.

Outcome of the Hawthorne Studies

The Hawthorne Studies started by investigating the effects of increasing illumination at the Hawthorne Electric plant on levels of employee productivity. In the illumination tests, the researchers wanted to find if more illumination would improve production. Therefore they subdivided employees into two groups, the experimental and control groups. The experimental group was the only one subjected to different illumination levels in their work environments. However, the production levels increased in both groups. The production only halted when the lighting was reduced to moonlight level, below normal viewing capabilities. The researchers realized that productivity was not rooted in light intensities. As a result of this study, researchers noted significant improvements from changes (almost regardless of what those changes were) in work conditions.

After the surprising results of the illumination study, relay assembly tests were then initiated to test productivity. This test began by choosing two women for telephone relays. The two women were allowed to select a team of women as coworkers. The experiments involved the introduction of sequenced changes to note productivity changes. Productivity was affected by employees' attitudes towards their groups and work. A bank wiring study was also conducted to investigate how small groups impacted individuals. This study was carried out at banks, and the challenge was stitching wires for specific equipment.

The Hawthorne Studies yielded significant contributions to the human relations movement. Some of the effective results were that workers who could impact their conditions at work experienced more satisfaction, that managers required good interpersonal skills to lead a team effectively, and that belonging to a cohesive group impacted workers' productivity. These studies changed Mayo's beliefs about management. It was after the Hawthorne Studies that Mayo would theorize that job satisfaction is an essential element for increasing the productivity of workers. Illuminating, bank wiring, and relay assembly tests were the main contributors to Mayo's belief change.

The Hawthorne Studies and the development of Elton Mayo's theory of organization significantly contributed to the human relations movement . The movement refers to organizational development researchers studying people's behaviors in the workplace or industry groups. It mainly studied organizational psychology. The campaign had its source in the Hawthorne Studies in the 1930s. The researchers who took part in the action primarily focused on the psychological aspect of employees instead of viewing them as interchangeable parts.

Mayo noticed that the main motivators for employees were especially relational and social forces. Factors such as work environmental conditions and finances had very little impact. It is from this movement that Human Relations Management began, a discipline that has immensely contributed to the management of employees in various workplaces. Elton Mayo significantly contributed to the movement by highlighting that employees should be accorded humane treatment and not treated as resources. He also noted that promoting positive work relationships and group values significantly helps encourage productive work.

A famous professor and management theorist, Elton Mayo is known for his immense contributions to Human Relations Management (HRM) . HRM involves the analysis of employee relationships and how they impact workplaces. Before HRM, scientific management theory prevailed. Scientific management used time and motion study to increase productivity and considered human labor alongside machinery as a piece of the process.

The Hawthorne Studies inspired the Elton Mayo theory of management and kicked off the human relations movement which would, among other theories, replace scientific management. The Hawthorne Studies consisted of research conducted on employees at the Hawthorne Western Electric plant close to Chicago. The initial conclusion of the studies was that changes in work conditions would lead to improvements. However, Elton Mayo came to further conclusions. He noted that job satisfaction was very important to the increase of productivity. He also found that workers were satisfied and productive when they were part of a cohesive group, could impact their working conditions, and were led by managers with good interpersonal skills. Mayo's theory of management highlights the importance of social factors in contributing to job satisfaction.

Video Transcript

Who was elton mayo.

Elton Mayo was born in Australia in 1880. He became a lecturer at the University of Queensland (1911-1923) and the University of Pennsylvania and then became a professor of Industrial Research at Harvard University from 1926-1949. He is best known for his work on the Hawthorne Studies and is considered one of the fathers of the human relations movement.

The Prevailing Theory of Management Prior to Mayo's Work

Elton Mayo started his work at Hawthorne in 1924. The prevailing management theory at that time was scientific management and was defined by Frederick Winslow Taylor, an industrial engineer who felt that standardization and enforced cooperation was the way to guarantee the highest work output from a team after conducting numerous time and motion studies to determine the best way to do specific jobs.

What Were the Hawthorne Studies?

Hawthorne refers to a Chicago-based Western Electric plant. It had agreed to a study by the National Research Council at its plant to determine the impact on productivity of lighting changes on its 29,000 employees.

Initially, two groups were selected, and the impact of lighting changes on their productivity was measured. It was found that any change in lighting - even making it worse - improved productivity, so the initial conclusion was that change in working conditions led to the improvements.

Additional changes were then made to working conditions to see what other types of modifications could improve output. In all cases productivity went up.

Mayo was invited to participate in this study and visited the project in 1929 and 1930 to conduct interviews with workers.

A third stage in the research project involved a group that did not have productivity increases. Interviews showed that the group had a standard for output which they all worked toward and that they had higher regard for the standards set by their group than those of company management.

What Was the Outcome of This Work?

Mayo concluded that these experiments showed that workers who have the ability to impact their working conditions and output requirements are more satisfied with their positions and that cooperation and a feeling of being part of a cohesive group were more important to productivity than financial incentives or physical working conditions.

This work also led to the conclusion that managers need good interpersonal and leadership skills, not just technical ability, to effectively lead a team.

What Is the Human Relations Movement?

The human relations movement is the name today for the concept that social aspects - such as job satisfaction, group norms, and quality of leadership - have a greater impact on productivity than non-social aspects, such as compensation. This concept has resulted in much greater attention paid to these social aspects of work by today's employers versus those in the early 1900s.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of reviewing this video lesson, you could accomplish these goals:

  • Discuss Elton Mayo's background
  • Describe management theory before Mayo's work
  • Determine how the Hawthorne Studies were conducted
  • Recognize Mayo's impact on management theory
  • Define the human relations movement

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use, become a member and start learning now..

Already a member? Log In

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Related lessons, related courses, recommended lessons for you.

Mary Parker Follett | Management Theory & Other Contributions

Elton Mayo's Theory of Management & Hawthorne Studies Related Study Materials

  • Related Topics

Browse by Courses

  • Principles of Microeconomics Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans
  • Macroeconomics Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans
  • FTCE Marketing 6-12 (057) Prep
  • AP Macroeconomics: Homeschool Curriculum
  • Financial Accounting Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans
  • Technical Writing Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans
  • Introduction to Management: Help and Review
  • Praxis Economics (5911) Prep
  • Principles of Marketing: Help and Review
  • Communications 101: Public Speaking
  • ILTS Business, Marketing, and Computer Education (216) Prep
  • Business 110: Business Math
  • High School Business for Teachers: Help & Review
  • Business 106: Human Resource Management
  • Praxis Marketing Education (5561) Prep

Browse by Lessons

  • The Role of Probability Distributions, Random Numbers & the Computer in Simulations
  • Monte Carlo Simulation | Overview, Analysis & Examples
  • Applications of Integer Linear Programming: Fixed Charge, Capital Budgeting & Distribution System Design Problems
  • Using Linear Programming to Solve Problems
  • The Importance of Extreme Points in Problem Solving
  • Graphical Sensitivity Analysis for Variable Linear Programming Problems
  • Handling Transportation Problems & Special Cases
  • Communications 101 - Assignment 1: Informative Speech
  • Communications 101 - Assignment 3: Special Occasion Speech
  • GDP & Quality of Life
  • Phantom Unemployment | Definition, Reasons & Effects

Create an account to start this course today Used by over 30 million students worldwide Create an account

Explore our library of over 88,000 lessons

  • Foreign Language
  • Social Science
  • See All College Courses
  • Common Core
  • High School
  • See All High School Courses
  • College & Career Guidance Courses
  • College Placement Exams
  • Entrance Exams
  • General Test Prep
  • K-8 Courses
  • Skills Courses
  • Teacher Certification Exams
  • See All Other Courses
  • Create a Goal
  • Create custom courses
  • Get your questions answered

To read this content please select one of the options below:

Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, illuminating the principles of social exchange theory with hawthorne studies.

Journal of Management History

ISSN : 1751-1348

Article publication date: 21 November 2018

Issue publication date: 29 January 2019

The purpose of this paper is to suggest Homans’ social exchange theory (SET), a management theory, as an explanation for some of the findings of some of the Hawthorne experiments (1924-1933), which demonstrated how social situations play an important role in task performance and productivity and how social exchanges can facilitate it. The authors also use SET to investigate Elton Mayo’s inquiry as to what caused spontaneous cooperation in Hawthorne.


The authors used a combination of published work by Homans, Roethlisberger and Dickson, Mayo and others, as well as oral histories conducted by Greenwood and Bolton in 1982-1984, to argue that some of the Hawthorne studies illustrate the principles of SET. Homans’ SET brought together concepts from multiple disciplines and offered a framework to explain social behaviors.

The relay assembly room and the bank wiring tests of Hawthorne studies can illustrate SET as developed by Homans. With the development of SET, Homans not only provided explanations for the creation of strong feelings of affiliation and trust through interactions and mutual dependence between group members but also provided evidence to Mayo’s concept of spontaneous collaboration.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the paper are that the studies themselves can lend themselves to multiple perspectives due to design flaws. Therefore, our argument is only one interpretation – even if it is something that the researchers would have supported.


The paper augments the ongoing discussion about the Hawthorne studies in the literature and in the development of management theories such as SET. The authors provide support that it is through the attempts to explain the Hawthorne studies and the post-Second World War controversies over the studies that Homans developed social exchange. Building on previous work, the methods show perspectives beyond the motivations and sentiments of Homans by demonstrating observable behaviors from the Hawthorne studies.

  • Social exchange theory
  • George Homans
  • Hawthorne studies

Zoller, Y.J. and Muldoon, J. (2019), "Illuminating the principles of social exchange theory with Hawthorne studies", Journal of Management History , Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 47-66.

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles

We’re listening — tell us what you think, something didn’t work….

Report bugs here

All feedback is valuable

Please share your general feedback

Join us on our journey

Platform update page.

Visit to discover the latest news and updates

Questions & More Information

Answers to the most commonly asked questions here

What is Hawthorne Experiment? Theory by Elton Mayo, 4 Phases

Hawthorne experiments were designed to study how different aspects of the work environment, such as lighting, the timing of breaks, and the length of the workday, had an on worker productivity. Here in this article, we have explained what is Hawthorne Experiment.

► What is Hawthorne Experiment?

The Hawthorne experiments were first developed in November 1924 at Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne plant in Chicago in Manufactured equipment for the bell telephone system and employed nearly 30,000 workers at the time of experiments.

Although, in all material aspects, this was the most progressive company with pension and sickness benefit schemes along with various recreational and other facilities discontent and dissatisfaction prevailed among the employees.

The initial tests were sponsored by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1927, a research team from Harvard Business School was invited to join the studies after the illumination test drew unanticipated results.

A team of researchers led by George Elton Mayo from the Harvard Business School carried out the studies (General Electric originally contributed funding, but they withdrew after the first trial was completed).

Experiments of Hawthorne effects work were conducted from 1924 to 1932. These studies mark the starting point of the field of Organizational Behaviour.

Initiated as an attempt to investigate how characteristics of the work setting affect employee fatigue and performance. (i.e., lighting) Found that productivity increased regardless of whether illumination was raised or lowered.

◉ Hawthorne Experiments were given by Elton Mayo

In 1927, a gathering of scientists driven by Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger of the Harvard Business School were welcome to participate in the investigations at the Hawthorne Works of Western Electric Company, Chicago. The usefulness of representatives relies vigorously on the fulfillment of the representatives in their work circumstances.

Mayo’s thought was that legitimate elements were less significant than passionate variables in deciding usefulness effectiveness. Besides, of the relative multitude of human variables impacting representative conduct, the most remarkable were those exuding from the specialist’s investment in gatherings. Accordingly, Mayo inferred that work courses of action as well as meeting the true necessities of creation must simultaneously fulfill the worker’s emotional prerequisite of social fulfillment at his workplace.

The Hawthorne experiment can be divided into 4 significant parts:

  • Experiments on Illumination.
  • Relay Assembly Experiment.
  • Mass Interviewing Program
  • Bank Wiring Observation Room.

✔ 1. Illumination Experiment

The examinations in Illumination were an immediate augmentation of Elton Mayo’s previous light analyses done in the material business in 1923 and 1924. This trial started in 1924.

It comprised of a progression of investigations of test bunches in which the degrees of brightening shifted yet the circumstances were held steady. The reason behind it was to look at the connection of the quality and amount of light to the proficiency of laborers.

It was observed that the efficiency expanded to practically a similar rate in both test and control bunches chosen for the examinations. In the last investigation, it was found that result diminished with the diminished brightening level, i.e., moonlight power.

As the analysts didn’t observe a positive and straight connection between brightening and effectiveness of laborers, they inferred that the outcomes were ‘suspicious’ without even a trace of straightforward and direct circumstances and logical results relationship.

One of the critical realities revealed by the review was that individuals act diversely when they are being considered than they could somehow or another act. It is from this the term Hawthorne Effect was authored.

✔ 2. Relay Assembly Test Room Experiment

This stage pointed toward knowing the effect of brightening on creation as well as different variables like the length of the functioning day, rest hours, and other states of being.

In this trial, a little homogeneous work-gathering of six young ladies was established. These young ladies were amicable to one another and were approached to work in an extremely casual environment under the management of a scientist.

Efficiency and resolve expanded significantly during the time of the examination. Usefulness continued expanding and settled at an undeniable level in any event, when every one of the upgrades was removed and the pre-test conditions were once again introduced.

The analysts reasoned that socio-mental factors, for example, the sensation of being significant, acknowledgment, consideration, investment, durable work-bunch, and non-order oversight held the key to higher efficiency.

✔ 3. Mass Interview Program in Hawthorne Experiment

The goal of this program was to make an orderly investigation of the representative’s mentalities which would uncover the significance that their “working circumstance” has for them.

The specialists talked with countless laborers as to their viewpoints on work, working circumstances, and management.

At first, an immediate methodology was utilized by which meetings posed inquiries considered significant by supervisors and scientists.

The analysts say that the answers of the workers were monitored. Consequently, this approach was supplanted by a roundabout method, where the questioner essentially paid attention to what the workers needed to say.

The discoveries affirmed the significance of social elements at work in the absolute workplace.

✔ 4. Bank Wiring Room Study

The last Hawthorne analysis, called the bank wiring room study, was directed to notice and dissect the elements of a working bunch when impetus was presented. With the end goal of tests, a gathering of 14 laborers was utilized on bank wiring.

The work was conveyed between nine wiremen, three weld men, and two reviewers. In the bank wiring room study, the work bunch framed a standard that the gathering would play out a specific pre-chosen amount of work in a day.

The whole work bunch complied with this standard paying little mind to pay, which suggests that gathering rules were more significant for the individuals.

Subsequently, it was recommended to bring the administration and laborer’s goals in line to pursue the shared objectives to improve the association.

Must Read : 14 Principles of Management

► Features of Hawthorne Experiment

The highlight Features of the Hawthorne Experiment are:

1.  A business association is fundamentally a social framework. It isn’t simply a techno-financial framework.

2. The business can be inspired by mental and social needs since its conduct is additionally affected by sentiments, feelings, and perspectives. Consequently, monetary impetuses are by all accounts not the only strategy to propel individuals.

3. The executives should figure out how to foster co-employable mentalities and not depend just on order.

Support turns into a significant instrument in human relations development. To accomplish interest, a successful two-way correspondence network is fundamental.

4. Usefulness is connected with representative fulfillment in any business association. In this way, the board should check out worker fulfillment. Bunch brain research assumes a significant part in any business association.

5. The neo-old style hypothesis stresses that man is a living machine and he is undeniably more significant than the lifeless machine. Subsequently, the way to higher efficiency lies in worker spirit. High confidence brings about higher results.

Related Posts

financial accounting syllabus

FA Syllabus in MBA – UTU Dehradun

ppm - principles and practices of management

PPM Syllabus in MBA

Module 10: Motivating Employees

The hawthorne studies, learning outcomes.

  • Describe the Hawthorne effect
  • Explain the role of the Hawthorne effect in management

During the 1920s, a series of studies that marked a change in the direction of motivational and managerial theory was conducted by Elton Mayo on workers at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company in Illinois. Previous studies, in particular Frederick Taylor’s work, took a “man as machine” view and focused on ways of improving individual performance. Hawthorne, however, set the individual in a social context, arguing that employees’ performance is influenced by work surroundings and coworkers as much as by employee ability and skill. The Hawthorne studies are credited with focusing managerial strategy on the socio-psychological aspects of human behavior in organizations.

Western Electric Company Hawthorne Works

The following video from the AT&T archives contains interviews with individuals who participated in these studies. It provides insight into the way the studies were conducted and how they changed employers’ views on worker motivation.

You can view the transcript for “AT&T Archives: The Year They Discovered People” (opens in new window).

The studies originally looked into the effects of physical conditions on productivity and whether workers were more responsive and worked more efficiently under certain environmental conditions, such as improved lighting. The results were surprising: Mayo found that workers were more responsive to social factors—such as their manager and coworkers—than the factors (lighting, etc.) the researchers set out to investigate. In fact, worker productivity  improved when the lights were dimmed again and when everything had been returned to the way it was before the experiment began, productivity at the factory was at its highest level and  absenteeism had plummeted.

What happened was Mayo discovered that workers were highly responsive to additional attention from their managers and the feeling that their managers actually cared about and were interested in their work. The studies also found that although financial incentives are important drivers of worker productivity, social factors are equally important.

Practice Question

There were a number of other experiments conducted in the Hawthorne studies, including one in which two women were chosen as test subjects and were then asked to choose four other workers to join the test group. Together, the women worked assembling telephone relays in a separate room over the course of five years (1927–1932). Their output was measured during this time—at first, in secret. It started two weeks before moving the women to an experiment room and continued throughout the study. In the experiment room, they were assigned to a supervisor who discussed changes with them and, at times, used the women’s suggestions. The researchers then spent five years measuring how different variables affected both the group’s and the individuals’ productivity. Some of the variables included giving two five-minute breaks (after a discussion with the group on the best length of time), and then changing to two ten-minute breaks (not the preference of the group).

Changing a variable usually increased productivity, even if the variable was just a change back to the original condition. Researchers concluded that the employees worked harder because they thought they were being monitored individually. Researchers hypothesized that choosing one’s own coworkers, working as a group, being treated as special (as evidenced by working in a separate room), and having a sympathetic supervisor were the real reasons for the productivity increase.

The Hawthorne studies showed that people’s work performance is dependent on social issues and job satisfaction. The studies concluded that tangible motivators such as monetary incentives and good working conditions are generally less important in improving employee productivity than intangible motivators such as meeting individuals’ desire to belong to a group and be included in decision making and work.

  • Revision and adaptation. Authored by : Linda Williams and Lumen Learning. Provided by : Tidewater Community College. License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • Practice Questions. Authored by : Nina Burokas. Provided by : Lumen Learning. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • Boundless Management. Provided by : Boundless. Located at : . License : CC BY-SA: Attribution-ShareAlike
  • AT&T Archives: The Year They Discovered People. Provided by : AT&T Tech Channel. Located at : . License : All Rights Reserved . License Terms : Standard YouTube license
  • Hawthorne Works. Provided by : Western Electric Company. Located at : . License : Public Domain: No Known Copyright

Footer Logo Lumen Waymaker no longer supports Internet Explorer.

To browse and the wider internet faster and more securely, please take a few seconds to  upgrade your browser .

Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link.

  • We're Hiring!
  • Help Center

paper cover thumbnail


Profile image of Ademolu Adediran

2021, Zenodo

The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th Centuries led to the emergence of mechanized factory system and new manufacturing processes. The large scale of operations, modern methods, use of lowercost labour, and the increased production among other factors characterizing the new work forms necessitated the emergence of management as an area of expertise.

Related Papers

Dr. Vishal Thakur

Management Thought and Contemporary Management Theory

hawthorne experiment in principles of management

sundar bashyal

Henry Semwanga

The main hypothesis of this paper is that though newer and contemporary administrative theories keep coming up they cannot claim superiority over previous ones nor negate their relevance in explaining management phenomena. Therefore, academics, theorists and management practitioners ought to appreciate how vestiges of the past can coexist with contemporary approaches to administration to help them manage from a point of knowledge (Lunenburg & Irby, 2013). The study was descriptive and qualitative in nature and relied primarily on reviewing secondary information sources such as journal articles, books, conference paper, and internet data and analyzing to draw comparisons. The paper examined the characteristics of some classical, neo-classical and contemporary management theories with and highlighted their enduring contributions to contemporary management practice.

Abdallah Hamis

Aklas Chowdhury

UNIT-1 INTRODUCTION TO MANAGEMENT Definition of Management- Function of Management- Management as a Science and Art-Management as a Profession- Universality of Management- Henri Faylo’s Administrative Theory –Elton Mayo’s Human Relations Movement- Systems theory – Contingency theory- Monetary and non-monetary incentives to motivate work teams- Leadership –Definition- Qualities of successful leaders- Different leadership styles Umrez MS unit1, JNTUA MS unit1

Rannie C O N D E S Agustin

China, a territorial aggressor and large-scale intellectual property thief, falsely claims that it originated the ―ancient bureaucracy. Accordingly, Chinese began to develop the idea of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has roots in the early dynasties but only became fully developed during the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) aimed at training Confucian scholars.

Alejandro Rios

che che alles

Scott Vitkovic

To come closer to the most comprehensive and universal definition of the term ‘management’ in the framework of the Organizational Management Theory (OMT), the author has reviewed the primary research literature, identified the historical contributions of the leading classical and neoclassical theorists, researched and analyzed, in a descriptive and qualitative manner, their original writings that contributed to the development of the OMT Classical and Neoclassical Perspectives and that gave rise to the various modern OMTs, and considered their impact on the formation and evolution of the OMT. Thereafter, the author synthesized a new OMT model which he termed “The Barnard Transitional Model”. Such technique, similar to the Gestalt Form, permits empirical analyses of any organizational management, treating it as a whole, and its parts as variables within the system, in an order to evaluate its functions during a specific period of time. This new theory, now called ‘The Barnard Transitional Model’, aims to contribute toward our understanding of management by becoming a universal phenomenon pertinent both to our Modern OMT now and to the Universal Theory of Organization in the future.

Loading Preview

Sorry, preview is currently unavailable. You can download the paper by clicking the button above.


Elvis Artiles

salman rahman

David Ahlstrom

analdina miguel

Richie Malhotra

Umasankar Saha

Idris Saidu

fiker belay

Janel Rempis

Journal of Advance Management and Accounting Research

Card Publication

Transstellar journal

TJPRC Publication

john wanyoike

RICK MARSH MCom (Hons) MHRM GradCertHRM DipHR ADipBus (Mgt)

Md. Shafiqul Islam

Udayvir Uppal


frieda gideon

Joseph A Petrick


Isyaku Hassan

Ariyo Murti Raharjo

The human relations school of management as a reaction to the limitation of classical management theory

Gim Isaac Mofolo


  •   We're Hiring!
  •   Help Center
  • Find new research papers in:
  • Health Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Cognitive Science
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Academia ©2024


  1. Hawthorne Experiments

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  2. Human Relation Theory of Management, Hawthorne Experiment by Elton Mayo, UGC NET Commerce Management

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  3. PPT

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  4. Hawthorne Effect

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  5. Organization Behavioral Theory Hawthorne Experiments Results For

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management

  6. The Findings of Hawthorne Experiments in Management

    hawthorne experiment in principles of management


  1. Hawthorne Effect

  2. Hawthorne Experiment and Hawthorne Effect MBA


  4. Behavioral Approach in Management


  6. Scientific management, hawthorne experiment, human relation, Management Concept & Indian Ethos


  1. Elton Mayo's Hawthorne Experiment and It's Contributions to Management

    The term "Hawthorne" is a term used within several behavioral management theories and is originally derived from the western electric company's large factory complex named Hawthorne works. Starting in 1905 and operating until 1983, Hawthorne works had 45,000 employees and it produced a wide variety of consumer products, including ...

  2. Hawthorne Effect In Psychology: Experimental Studies

    The Hawthorne Experiments, conducted at Western Electric's Hawthorne plant in the 1920s and 30s, fundamentally influenced management theories. ... leading to a more human-centric approach in management practices. Illumination Experiment. The first and most influential of these studies is known as the "Illumination Experiment", conducted ...

  3. The Hawthorne Effect

    The Hawthorne studies are credited with focusing managerial strategy on the socio-psychological aspects of human behavior in organizations. The following video from the AT&T archives contains interviews with individuals who participated in these studies. It provides insight into the way the studies were conducted and how they changed employers ...

  4. Hawthorne Experiments

    Explanatory Short Video covering the following topics:1. Introduction to Hawthorne Experiments2. Illumination Experiment3. Relay Assembly Test Room Experimen...

  5. Hawthorne Studies in Management

    Hawthorne studies in management also involved bank wiring experiments aimed at exploring the effect of pay incentives on productivity. The study was conducted from 1931 to 1932 and was geared ...

  6. Elton Mayo's Hawthorne Experiments

    The identification of the Hawthorne effect led to the recognition of the importance of psychological and social factors at work. Further experiments over the next five years revealed that human factors played a large role in workplace motivation and productivity. Researchers manipulated factors like break times, pay, and the type of supervision.

  7. Hawthorne Experiment

    Finished up by 1932, the Hawthorne ponders, with accentuation on another elucidation of gathering conduct, where the reason for the school of human relations. Some of the major phases of Hawthorne experiments are as follows: 1. Illumination Experiments. 2.

  8. The "Hawthorne Effect"

    Harvard's role in the Hawthorne experiments gave rise to the modern application of social science to organization life and lay the foundation for the human relations movement and the field of organizational behavior (the study of organizations as social systems) pioneered by George Lombard, Paul Lawrence, and others.

  9. The Human Relations Movement:

    A New Vision An Essay by Professors Michel Anteby and Rakesh Khurana; Next Introduction; The Human Relations Movement: Harvard Business School and the Hawthorne Experiments (1924-1933) 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 ...

  10. 3.6 Human Relations Movement

    The Hawthorne studies are the most influential, misunderstood, and criticized research experiment in all of the social sciences. The legend goes that Elton Mayo (1880-1949) researched, theorized, and developed human relations theory based on a 1924-1932 experiment he conducted at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company in Cicero ...

  11. Overview of the Hawthorne Effect

    The initial experiments of the Hawthorne Studies focused on the relationship between lighting levels and worker productivity. ... The researchers advocated for a more participative management style that encouraged open communication, employee involvement in decision-making, and a focus on developing positive relationships between managers and ...

  12. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies

    The classical era of management was followed by the human relations era, which began in the 1930s and focused primarily on how human behavior and relations affect organizational performance. The new era was ushered in by the Hawthorne studies, which changed the way many managers thought about motivation, job productivity, and employee satisfaction.

  13. Elton Mayo

    In 1927 Mayo initiated a pioneering industrial research project at the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works, Chicago; his associates F.J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson summarized the results in Management and the Worker (1939). Parts of this study—those concerning the collection of data, labour-management relations, and informal interaction among factory employees—continued ...

  14. Humanistic Management

    Elton Mayo and the Hawthorne Experiments. The Hawthorne experiments were a series of studies that took place in a Western Electric plant near Chicago during the late 1920s and early 1930s—the heyday of scientific management. The original experiment was designed to isolate factors in the workplace that affected productivity.

  15. Spontaneity Is the Spice of Management: Elton Mayo's Hunt ...

    When Hawthorne is attacked, Mayo faces a greater brunt of the criticism. Henry A. Landsberger defended the Hawthorne studies by suggesting that Mayo's work was illegitimate compared with the scientific rigor of Management and the Worker.This statement is like saying Hamlet is a good play except for the lead character. Mayo's arguments and influences clearly affect the works associated with ...

  16. Elton Mayo's Theory of Management & Hawthorne Studies

    Management theories are the concepts and strategies that guide managers as they direct various business processes and people. In the management of people, one of the most impactful theories is the ...

  17. Illuminating the principles of social exchange theory with Hawthorne

    Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to suggest Homans' social exchange theory (SET), a management theory, as an explanation for some of the findings of some of the Hawthorne experiments (1924-1933), which demonstrated how social situations play an important role in task performance and productivity and how social exchanges can facilitate it.

  18. What is Hawthorne Experiment? Theory by Elton Mayo, 4 Phases

    Hawthorne experiments were designed to study how different aspects of the work environment, such as lighting, the timing of breaks, and the length of the workday, had an on worker productivity. Here in this article, we have explained what is Hawthorne Experiment. ... Must Read : 14 Principles of Management Features of Hawthorne Experiment.

  19. The Hawthorne Studies

    Explain the role of the Hawthorne effect in management; ... There were a number of other experiments conducted in the Hawthorne studies, including one in which two women were chosen as test subjects and were then asked to choose four other workers to join the test group. Together, the women worked assembling telephone relays in a separate room ...

  20. Illuminating the principles of Social Exchange Theory with Hawthorne

    The Hawthorne studies (1924-1933) continue to generate interest and controversy even eight decades after their conclusion. The purpose of this study is to bring Homans' social exchange theory (SET) as an explanation for some of the findings of the Hawthorne experiments. We used combination of published work by Homans, Roethlisberger and Dickson, Mayo, and others as well as oral histories ...

  21. The Hawthorne Studies As a Ground-breaking Work in The Field of Management

    Organization leaders operated with the belief that human beings are like machines, are inherently lazy and solely motivated by money. The adopted management principles were autocratic in nature and led to managers encountering some difficulties and frustrations until in the 1930's when Elton Mayo's team conducted the Hawthorne experiments.

  22. The Hawthorne Studies As a Ground- Breaking Work in The Field of Management

    Thus began the managerial function of control. 1.2 Henri Fayol's Theory of Management. Henri Fayol, in the early 1900s, was the first to issue a thorough sta tement on general. management. He ...

  23. Hawthorne effect

    The Hawthorne effect is a type of human behavior reactivity in which individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed. The effect was discovered in the context of research conducted at the Hawthorne Western Electric plant; however, some scholars think the descriptions are fictitious.. The original research involved workers who made electrical ...