To Hawthorne or not to Hawthorne?

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To Hawthorne or not to Hawthorne?
Jean-Michel Hayes, Other, Canada

The Hawthorne effect was a clean break at the time it was observed for the first time. Since then, humanity has made some progress in understanding cognitive and emotive functioning.
What I would like to mention, is that it took a "theory" for people to understand the obvious: when you feel good, you work good. That's law number one of management for me.
To "feel good", a human being needs to be satisfied by his work. The work he accomplishes must satisfy his needs. Security-wise, socially, intellectually, etc... Once this is done, productivity will increase.
Here comes the truth: motivating employees is based on a common agreement, a deal. A deal between an employee that knows what he needs and clearly demands it, and an employer that can fulfill those needs. If this deal can't happen then he will look for a new job.

Hawthorne Effect is About Attention
kwapong, Manager, Ghana
For me the bottom line is that individuals as well as groups want attention and recognition. After all, people do what is inspected rather than what is expected of them.
Attend to people by way of feedback, coaching, supporting and delegating and they will show improvement in productivity. Improved productivity, in turn, must be appreciated in terms of better remuneration (financial and non-financial) and work environment. This way, there will be a virtuous cycle of productivity improvement.
I am not sure about the law of diminishing marginal utility as I have not come across the highest paid worker/executive rejecting a raise in pay; certainly not in this part of the world. Even in the advanced economies they will accept the enhanced pay and perhaps dedicate it to a foundation.

Contribution of Mayo / Hawthorne Effect
Paul Steele, Consultant, Australia
Mayo wanted to see if there was any point in trying to motivate employees through interacting with them individually or as a group. Surely it was a placebo from today's perspective, but it introduced a whole new paradigm to the management of human capital (not human resources) assets.
We would still be 50 years backwards without the study and even if by today's standards it may not amount to much and the stats were biased and in some cases nearly invalid from later studies, Mayo provided us with a better future from his limited studies.



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