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 field from physical work conditions. These findings opened the doors to a wide range of topics in the study of management. Focus eventually shifted away from the time and motion studies made popular by Taylor to the influence of management style and worker motivation. The move away from scientific management represented a paradigm shift. While the Hawthorne studies were not undertaken with the intention of developing new areas of management theory, and as such did not provide definitive evidence on the factors they uncovered, they were still revolutionary for
their time. Expecting to find evidence to support the idea of an optimal physical work environment, researchers instead discovered that the physica...