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The work of Elton Mayo in the "Hawthorne Studies"

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BE 22022 - Construction Management Coursework 2005/2006 A well-presented submission of at least 2,500 words on:- Management Theorists The work of Elton Mayo in the "Hawthorne Studies" And critical evaluation of the contribution of his work to Behavioural Management, Motivation Theory And Group Theory. In addition, the relevance of his findings In the area of Work Measurement. Word count - 2 873 words. Mojee Avinash Shree 04004303 Quantity Surveying Year 2 Introduction Hawthorne study is one of the most important theories in management that was started since 1927 and it is still an effect at work. Individual behaviours may be altered because they know they are being studied and that was demonstrated in a research project (1927 - 1932) of the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company in Cicero, Illinois. This series of researches, first led by Harvard Business School professor Elton Mayo along with associates F.J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson started out by examining the physical and environmental influences of the workplace (e.g. brightness of lights, humidity) and later, moved into the psychological aspects (e.g. breaks, group pressure, working hours, management leadership). The ideas that this team developed about the social dynamics of groups in the work setting had lasting influence - the collection of data, labour-management relations, and informal interaction among factory employees. This report will attempt to discuss the work of Elton Mayo and critically evaluate the contribution of his work to Behavioural Management, Motivation theory, Group theory and the relevancy of his findings. Elton Mayo's Hawthorne Experiments Elton Mayo was one of the first theorists to explore the human relations side of motivation and his methods was heavily influence by Taylor. ...read more.


Before the experiment had begun, the investigators have feared that the women taken from the regular work and placed in a test room would not corporate, would be negative and resistance to the experiment. The aim of introducing a friendly observer rather than a disciplinary one was to overcome this negative anticipation. Therefore, considerable interest was expressed towards the workers in order to eliminate that negative anticipation. However, due to the fact that these manipulations were unintentional, the researchers were forced to conclude that these manipulations had caused the women to improve their overall productivity and that have given birth to the Hawthorne Effects. In the end, Elton Mayo realised that firstly, the women had felt important because they had been single out there. Secondly, the women has developed good relationships amongst each other and been allowed to set their own work patterns. Thirdly, the case of relationship had made the working place a much more pleasant working place. However, Parson (1974) argues that during the first part of the second phase and the last phase of the experiment, the workers had feedback on their work rates. But, in the rest of the experiment, they did not have feedback. Then, Parson argues that in the rest of the experiment there was at least some evidence that the following evidences were potent. For example: - rest periods, learning, given feedback like skills acquisition and piecework pay, where an individual get more money for more work. A third phase of study, called the Bank Wiring Observation Room Experiment, was conducted from 1931 to 1932. It involved a group of 11 men who assembled terminal banks used in telephone exchanges. ...read more.


The Hawthorne experiments encouraged the development of human factors and the needs in a business. The workers created pressure on the management to change the traditional way of managing human recourses. The studies encouraged participative support at lower levels of the organisation in solving organisation problems. In addition, the Hawthorne studies gave way to a more open and trusting environment that put greater emphasis on groups rather than just individual. Therefore, communication between managers and workers and workers-to-workers influence morale and thus output. However, Elton Mayo's work is being questioned about its relevance to today workplace. Many of the production and work methods of today workplace do not rely on teamwork and so, therefore, bonding as a team is not as desirable for a manager as before. But, it is to be noted that managers need to be aware, not only how they talk to the workers but also how there body languages behaves when talking to the workers. This is because intentionally or unintentionally, the workers will pick on this and may become motivated and demotivated by these actions. Conclusion Mayo's findings were revolutionary and brought enormous contributions, not just to business but he opened up the field of industrial psychology and sociology. The effect it did have on business was huge, personnel department became widespread across the United Kingdom and the United State as managers tried to achieve the Hawthorne effect to boost production. Finally, group dynamism, inter-relationship and loyalty do not come to life by accident but it must be planned and developed. "One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider our problems, can change our whole outlook on the work." Elton Mayo. 2873 words. ...read more.

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