Essays on Major Contributions of the Hawthorne Studies for Management Today Coursework

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The paper "Major Contributions of the Hawthorne Studies for Management Today" is a great example of management coursework.   Even though Hawthorne Studies have widely been criticised, Elton Mayo’ s experiments have notably resulted in the evolution of different contemporary management theories. At one time, workers were considered by managers as machinery that could be sold and bought without difficulty. To improve production, employees were subjected to miserable salaries, long hours and adverse working conditions. The needs, as well as the welfare of the workers, were widely disregarded. Early in the 20th century, scientific management and changes in management were introduced.

This type of management, introduced by Frederick Winslow Taylor, laid emphasis on the effective way to improve the output volume, whereby workers had to specialise in particular tasks similar to the way the machines operates. Implementation of scientific management theory resulted in tremendous reproach by many who argued that the Scientific Management fundamentals were designed to exploit workers instead of benefiting them. In view of this, Hawthorne Studies instigated tremendous changes in organisational behaviour and disapproved the belief that increased organisation output was associated directly with increased employees' wages.

The Hawthorne studies contribution to management will be analysed in the context of the Hawthorne effect and the human relations approach. This essay will critically analyse claims of two of the contributions of the Hawthorne studies to management today. Some of the on-going and contemporary issues facing managers in organisations will also be analysed critically. Discussion Human Relations Approach It has widely been acknowledged that the Hawthorne studies have played a crucial role in the development of human relations approach and serves as a motivation in organisational behaviour for examining factors that steer human behaviour to work (Carson, 2005, p. 453).

Therefore, organisational behaviour can be defined as the application and study of knowledge concerning how groups or individuals behave in organisations. The intention of organisational behaviour is to create improved relationships by accomplishing organisational, human as well as social objectives. Prior to the Hawthorne studies, a number of classical scientific management theories like Frederick Taylor’ s Taylorism were exceedingly widespread in the organisational behaviour field. According to these theories, workers were isolated and passive persons, and their source of motivation came only from money.

The holders of classical theories focused mainly on the formal organisation structure in general and turned a blind eye to the members of the organisation. Hawthorne Studies were introduced between 1920 and 1930, and they brought about tremendous changes in organisational behaviour. This was attributed mainly to the management’ s human relations approach that was created from Elton Mayo’ s Hawthorne studies. The studies disapproved the earlier presumptions of workers behaviour that were made by classical theories. The human relations approach as evidenced by the results of Hawthorne studies holds the view that employees work not just for monetary reward but as well to satisfy their multifaceted social needs.

This approach supports participative management as well as democratic management; thus, exhibiting that attention must be paid to the social and psychological needs of the workers. This is attributed to the fact that Hawthorne studies results showed that employees’ social needs were the main factors in the process of improving the output of the organisation and not their economic needs.


Carson, C.M., 2005. A historical view of Douglas McGregor's Theory Y", Management Decision. Management Decision, vol. 43, no. 3, pp.450 - 460.

Gale, E.A.M., 2004. The Hawthorne studies—a fable for our times? QJM, vol. 97, pp. 439-449.

Isawa, M.R., French, M.D. & Hedge, A., 2011. Shining New Light on the Hawthorne Illumination Experiments. Human Factors, vol. 53, no. 5, pp.528-47.

Merrett, F., 2006. Reflections on the Hawthorne Effect, Educational Psychology. An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, vol. 26, no. 1, pp.143-46.

Muldoon, J., 2012. The Hawthorne legacy A reassessment of the impact of the Hawthorne studies on management scholarship, 1930-1958. Journal of Management History, vol. 18, no. 1, pp.105-19.

Porter, C., 2012. The Hawthorne effect today. Industrial Management, vol. 54, no. 3, pp.10-15.

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