The Hawthorne Experiment.doc

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Gregory Bird

It is undoubtedly evident that the Hawthorne experiments were ground-breaking studies conducted to investigate factors that influence human productivity in working places. These experiments were conducted at Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works between 1924 and 1932 (Franke & Kaul, 1978). Initially, the Hawthorne experiments were designed as illumination studies aimed at determining the relationship between the level of lighting and productivity. Two additional experiments such as the relay-assembly tests and the bank-wiring tests followed after unanticipated results were drawn from the illumination experiments (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). However, despite criticism from economists and sociologists, the Hawthorne experiments findings formed the basis of human relations departments and continue to influence the modern working environments and productivity (Pitcher, 1981). As an organizational consultant and on basis of organizational theories such as contingency and elite theory it is evidently clear that there were several problems that arose in the Hawthorne Experiments likely to be explained by both contingency and elite theory. Thus, as a contingency and elite theorist, it is possible to explain and analyze these problems that arose from the Hawthorne experiments (Franke & Kaul, 1978). Therefore, using both the contingency and elite theory there are various organization changes that need to be implemented at the Hawthorne Works for the purpose of improving productivity. However, these proposed changes are able to be explained and analyzed through contingency and elite theory (Pitcher, 1981). On the basis of contingency theory of organizations management, it is believed that organizations are open systems requiring careful management for the satisfaction and balancing of internal needs as well as adapting to environmental circumstances (Pitcher, 1981). Hence, there is no one particular way is best suited for organizing organizations. Thus, the appropriate form of organizing is usually dependent on the environment with which one is dealing or the kind of task. This implies that in order to improve productivity of an organization the management must be concerned, above other things, with ‘good fits’ and achieving alignments (Franke & Kaul, 1978). This means that it is necessary to adopt different approaches to management to ensure different tasks are performed within the same organization implying that different types of organizations are usually required in different environments. According to contingency theory of management, Hawthorne Works needs to adopt the type of technology that effectively fits its production needs and output. However, Hawthorne Works needs to use the continuous process technology in its production operations in order to
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