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SOC361H5 Study Guide - Hawthorne Works, Hawthorne Effect, Elite Theory


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC361H5
Professor
Gregory Bird

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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,
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