Lecture 5: Hawthorne Experiments and HR Management
Early HR Management (HR- adding human resource to work)
Taylor and Fordism weren‘t solving industrial problems.
US 1900s – Taylor and Fordism negative aspects:
Coercive management techniques: coercive because harsh penalties, discipline,
piece rate system etc.
Utilitarian motivation: higher level of strikes, problems in production system.
Neither did it bring down conflict between managers and EEs, nor did it increase
Normative approach: try to find ways to get EEs become interested in the work –
by minimizing alienation. Let EEs invest in ―one big corporate world‖…let them
work hard and increase production by minimizing alienation in terms of control,
1930s – 50s: Humanistic management
Came on Hawthorne experiment
Output productivity level didn‘t increase by technical conditions – increase output
by changing technology.
Taylor: technology and controlling techniques
We need to look at human techniques at workplace.
Motivating humans which will increase job satisfaction, cooperation and
involvement at workplace.
1960s -1970s: advancement…moving from HR to HR management
Develop ideas: movements called job enrichments
Give people more responsibilities, skills – will be more productive.
Hawthorne Experiment (ON THE TEST)
Series of experiments ran from 1924-1932.
Workplace as compared to other workplaces wasn‘t that bad – company had labour
problems – tension between management and EEs – EEs weren‘t working hard – EEs
complaint they were tired…fatigue – work too monopolous (boring as well as time-
Definition of Hawthorne effect: It is the psychological (intellectual) reaction to the
experiment rather than physiological (physical). Experimenters showed there is
psychological component to the work. It is proved that workers have psychological
needs, they also have real feelings.
Illumination experiments (1924-1927):
Done by companies themselves.
Researchers teamed up to perform control experiment by using lights to
understand why workers weren‘t performing well and why they were tired
Thesis: the brighter the lights, more productive the worker is – psychological
Result: This is not necessarily the case because workers still respond positively
and more productively – no matter which way lighting went. Something psychological rather than physiological.
Elton Mayo‘s experiments: conducted series of experiments to figure out what was going
on at the workplace. The 2 experiments that were performed were gender dynamics.
1. Relay Assembly Test Room (1927-1933)
Experiment just for women – took 6 ladies and put them in control room
Before the experiment women were working 48 hours/week, in total with
around 100 people.
When in control room: only 6 women working – made small times
(long/short), decreased rest time and more time for meal break (free
meal), in each change they made, they found women were more
productive – conducted personal interviews during the experiment and
At the end of experiment, they returned to the original routine and were
monitored for 12 weeks – finds were odd as conditions got better (less hr.
of work, more meal time). At the end, women were more productive
when got back to original routine.
o An increase in output was not only based on physical condition.
o All other factors that changed productivity level – during
experiment, less harsh supervision I.e. women were allowed to
socialize, they started to feel significant and more important, and
they formed friendship within the group and developed internal
o Came up with social-psychological approach.
o Management cared about women – productivity increased because
women knew someone was paying attention to their hard work,
their needs and asking them their opinion about how they feel
about the work. THEY WERE TREATED LIKE ―HUMANS‖
o Less supervision and less control lead to more productivity.
o If you treat EEs like humans, allow them to socialize – they‘ll be
more cooperative, productive and motivated.
o This led to ―Industrial Psychology‖ – these psychologists look at
group dynamics at the workplace.
2. Bank Wiring Observation Room
Just for men – 12 male workers and 2 male supervisors (research workers
and interview but never went into the control room)
Wanted to analyze incentives and how people react to it.
Built experiment to check group incentive.
Group Piece rate system (pay for each unit/piece made): for every unit