Hawthorne Experiments and Human Relations
Ø Reasons for human behavior at work
Ø Real cause of human behavior
Ø Human relation approach of management
Ø Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company, outside Chicago, manufacturing of telephone bell, 30000 employees (thirty thousand)
Ø Problems related to pensions, workers benefits, sickness benefits
Ø Productivity was low
Ø 1924 : National academy of science to investigate problems (low productivity)
Ø Elton Mayo (psychologist), whitehead and Roethis Berger(sociologist) and William Dickson (company representative)
Ø Study the relationship between productivity and physical working conditions
Ø Four phases: each phase attempting to answer the question raised at the previous phase
Ø Four phases of Hawthorne Experiment:
o Illumination Experiment (1924-27): experiment to determine the effect of change in illumination on productivity.
o Relay assembly test room experiment (1927-28): experiment to determine the effects of changes in hours and other working conditions on productivity.
o Mass interviewing Program(1928-1930): Conducting plant-wide interviews to determine worker attitude and sentiments.
o Bank wiring observation room experiment(1931-32): determination and analysis of social organization at work.
Ø Illumination experiments:
o Levels of illumination (light at work place, physical factors) affected the productivity
o Hypothesis: higher illumination- higher productivity
o Group of workers
§ Two separate groups
§ Experiment group: higher light illumination
§ Control group: continue constant illumination intensity
o Increase illumination in experimental group, both group increased productivity.
o Decreased intensity: No impact of deceased intensity on experimental group, decreased intensity at moon light level only
o No impact of light intensity on productivity
Ø Relay Assembly Test Room Experiment:
o Effect of changes in various job condition on group productivity.
o Relay assembly test room, two girls were chosen. They were asked to choose four more girls as coworkers (2+4=6).
o Observer, girls were consulted before any changes
o Changes and their result:
§ Incentive scheme: extra pay on the productivity of small group (other 5 girls output)
· The productivity increased as compared to before
§ Two five minutes rests: morning and evening
· Increased to 10 minutes
· Productivity increased
§ Rest period was reduced to 5 Minutes but frequency was increased
· Productivity decreased, affected the rhythm of work
§ Two rest of 10 minutes:
· Morning: coffee or soup
· Evening: Snacks
· Productivity increased
· Changes in working hours and work days
o Girls were allowed to go home early
o Productivity increased
§ Absenteeism decreased, morale increased, less supervision required
§ Revert back to original position, productivity increased
§ Development of attitude towards work, feeling of stability , sense of belongingness , freedom, responsibility and self-discipline
Ø Mass Interview Program:
o 20,000 interviews were conducted
o Employee attitude towards supervision, company, insurance plans, promotion and wages.
o Complaints are symptoms of personal disturbance.
Ø Bank wiring observation room experiment:
o 14 male workers, functioning of small group and its impact on individual behavior
o 9-wireman, 3-solderman, 2-inspector
o Average wages on the basis of group output (Bonus)
o Hypothesis : workers would produce more and in order to the advantage of group bonus (Earn more)
o Workers decided target for them, less than company’s target
o 4 reasons:
§ Fear of unemployment: more production/ head, some workers would be put out of employment
§ Fear of raising standard
§ Protection of slow workers
§ Satisfaction on the part of management
· Accepted lower production
· No one was fired/retrenched
Ø Implications of Hawthorne Experiments:
o Group set certain norms, including personal conduct, employees create groups which may be different form of their official group
o Social organization at work.
o Organization is basically influenced by social factors
o Elton Mayo “ A social system”
o Conflict between organization and group created
o Leadership: important for directing group behavior
o Formally appointed leader: supervisor
o Informal leaders plays important role in directing group behavior
§ friendly supervisionà increased productivity
§ Maintaining orders, controlled atmosphere :low productivity
§ Important aspect of organization
§ Workers can be explained
§ Participation of workers in decision making and problem solving