Description of the Hawthorne Studies and What Were the Results - Research Paper Example

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Organizational performance has been an issue of intensive and extensive studies.Organizations have gone to the heights of conducting self-research in order to ensure maximization of the available human capital…
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Description of the Hawthorne Studies and What Were the Results
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Download file to see previous pages At the beginning of the 20th Century, large businesses in America began the adoption of scientific management, an idea initiated by Fredrick Taylor. His idea involved the division of tasks into small portions that would be done by the employees like automatons. These studies have varied to include the effects of the physical environment on the workforce in an effort to ensure maximum productivity. Western Electric Company conducted studies in their Hawthorne plant to establish the relationship between productivity and the influence of the physical conditions. The initial studies began around November 1924 where they evaluated the social effects as well as the experimenter effects. Elton Mayo, who became a professor of industrial research at Harvard later on, supervised the studies (Mayo 64). The initial studies focused on the influence of lighting on the productivity of the workers. Two groups of employees were involved in this study; one group’s lighting was varied while the control group’s lighting remained under the same conditions. When light remained constantly unchanged the two groups demonstrated the same level of productivity. Lighting in the test group was reduced, a situation that raised complains among the group members (Steven and John 5). To further demonstrate the effect, the researchers changed the bulbs daily in the presence of the workers. Despite the bulbs replaced being the same, some improvement in productivity was noticeable in the test group. The findings were that the group with improved lighting demonstrated an improved productivity compared to the control group. In explaining the findings, the researchers concluded that the workers felt motivated by the changes. To the workers, the change was a demonstration that the management was concerned about them. The mental stimulation that they were being treated in a special way encouraged them to be active in their work. Another study was conducted in the relay assembly Test Room using six workers who had worked for the company for some time. Five of them were set to work in the assembling area while the sixth was to supply them with the parts they would require. The study was to focus on the effects of changing the working arrangements on the employees’ productivity (Gale 439). The researchers introduced various variables such as breaks, reduced working hours, and provision of food during the breaks. The breaks were varied, initially they were introduced to two-five minutes break that was done according to their suggestion. This was later changed to two-ten minutes breaks, during this period productivity was seen to improve. Consequently, the researchers adjusted the breaks to six-five minute breaks, these did not go well with the employees, they complained and their total productivity that was measured by the total output reduced (Franke and Kaul 625). Reduction of the total working hours by thirty minutes depicted an increased level of productivity, further reduction showed an increase in hourly output but the total output per day was drastically reduced. The researchers concluded that the feeling of the employees was that their work was being checked individually. Therefore, the workers were motivated by working as a group, having supervisors that were concerned about their welfare and having a special treatment in the workplace. Another aspect under observation was the social effect and its influence on productivity. This study was done in a bank wiring room where the workers were subjected to the assembling of telephone switching equipment, a task that involved the processes of wiring, soldering, and inspection. At the initial stages of the study, the workers were not open to the observer and had limited ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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