The Hawthorne studies, initially undertaken to investigate the relationship between work-place conditions and worker productivity, introduced a wide range of topics to the field of management study. Investigators found no strong relationship between workplace conditions and productivity but reached several conclusions: individual work behavior is driven by a complex set of factors; work groups develop norms which mediate between the needs of the individual and institution; employees should not be considered appendages of machinery; awareness of employee sentiments and participation can reduce resistance to change; the workplace is an interlocking social system, not simply a
production system; social structure maintained through symbols of prestige and power. These findings opened the door to the study of client-centered therapy, small group behavior, and organization theory and research methodology.
The Hawthorne studies represented groundbreaking work in the field of management when they were undertaken in 1924.
While the original intention of the studies was to determine the effect of workplace conditions on employee productivity, in line with the Tay-lorist view of management of that day their findings addressed topics far a
(Retrospective methodologicalstudy of the Hawthorne experiments. (1968) Group Dy-namics, 3rd edn, New York: Harper Row. The Hawthorne studies have been creditedas the father of such far-ranging social sciencetopics as client-centred therapy (Rogers1942), small group behaviour (Homans 1941,1950; Whyte 1943; Blau 1955; Cartwrightand Zander 1968), organization theory (Bar-nard 1938; Simon 1945; Parsons 1960) andresearch methodology (Selltiz et al. In response to findings, managementpromptly instituted rest breaks more widely inthe company, but did not see any significantsigns of increased productivity. (Discusses the methodological implications ofthe Hawthorne Effect. Within this context, the Hawthorne stud-ies were undertaken to investigate the effectof work conditions on employee productiv-ity. (Useful text on the dynamics of small groups. These findings opened the doors to a wide range of topics in the study of management. Their goal was to gener-ate hypotheses to be tested by future investi-gators (and on that count they were verysuccessful). Hawthorne investigators util-ized field-based research, talking to practitio-ners rather than relying on the library andlaboratory. (Firstresponse to early sociological critics. The studies were ex-ploratory in nature. In the final experiment of this stage,when experimenters only pretended to in-crease and decrease light intensity, workerscommented that the supposedly brighterlight was much more pleasant. (Describes the Hawthorne experiments withinthe larger context of organizational theory.