The paper "Lessons from the Hawthorne Studies and the Roles of Norms in the Workplace" is a good example of management coursework. Hawthorne studies were carried out in 1927-1932 at Chicago at the Hawthorne works plant. The studies were aimed at examining the impacts of working conditions on the employees’ productivity. The environmental and physical influences in the workplace were first examined followed by the psychological influences. Harvard business school led by Professor Elton Mayo is widely known for carrying out these studies. He had begun the study by looking for the right formula of productivity.
He later developed the Hawthorne effects (Carey 1967, 403-406). One of the major purposes of the Hawthorne studies was to examine what effect fatigue and monotony had on the productivity of workers. The study also sought to establish how to control these effects using variables such as work hours, rest breaks, temperature and humidity. There are a number of lessons that can be learnt from the Hawthorne studies. This paper will discuss some lessons that are learnt from the Hawthorne studies. This paper will also discuss the role of norms in the workplace and how they affect the performance of employees. There are various general conclusions drawn from the Hawthorne studies (Franke, & Kaul 1978, 623-643).
One of the conclusions was that the aptitudes of employees are not perfect predictors of job performance. Aptitudes give some indications of the mental and physical potential of an individual worker; however, the amount produced is highly influenced by social factors. The other assumption is that informal organizations affect productivity. A group life among employees was discovered by the Hawthorne researchers.
The studies indicated that the relationship developed by supervisors towards the employees influences the manner in which employees carry out their directives. The third conclusion is that was drawn from Hawthorne studies was that workgroup norms affect productivity. The researchers at Hawthorne studies were not the only ones to realize that work-groups arrive at norms of a fair day’ s work (Franke, & Kaul 1978, 623-643). However, a workgroup norm gives the best systematic interpretation and description of this phenomenon. The last conclusion drawn from the Hawthorne studies is that the workplace can be regarded as a social system.
Researchers at the Hawthorne studies viewed the workplace as a system that is social and made up of several interdependent parts. For a long time, Hawthorne studies provided a rationale in many organizations for human relations (Franke & Kaul 1978, 623-643). When workers are treated with dignity and respect, their performance tends to improve according to the Hawthorne studies. Employees who are treated fairly by their supervisors were observed to have improved performance. Financial incentives alone cannot be used to improve the performance of employees.
The psychological and social needs should also be put into account, so as to improve productivity in an organization (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor 2011, 281). Good communication among the employees and their superiors is crucial in an organization according to the Hawthorne studies. Good communication helps to improve the productivity and relations among the subordinates. Interests should be expressed towards the workers so as to improve their productivity. When employees believe that the management is interested in them and their welfare, they tend to perform better. Other factors that were proved by the Hawthorne studies to improve employees’ productivity include, giving employees the freedom to express their grievances.