The paper "Contributions of Hawthorne Studies for Management Today" is a great example of management coursework. The purpose of the easy is to critically analyze two major contributions of Hawthorne studies for management today. The studies Hawthorne studies were conducted from 1927 to 1932 at Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago. It was mainly about the productivity of the workers and it was headed by Professor Elton Mayo (Brannigan & Zwerman, 2001). The productivity of workers is currently one of the most contentious issues in all the industries. Employers in all the industries are concerned with the productivity of their employees.
Different companies have put in place measures to promote the productivity of their employees. The success of an organization is currently linked to the productivity of an organization. The essay begins with the analysis of Hawthorne studies. This is followed by a discussion and arguments about the two major contributions of the studies. The counter-arguments and other opinions with regards to the studies end the discussion section. In conclusion, the essay will show that the studies made major contributions to the field of management and it also faced some criticism as a result of how the studies were carried out.
Today’ s managers will, therefore, find the information useful in terms of managing productivity in their organizations. Discussion Contributions of the studies The studies were conducted as a result of a preliminary experiment that was carried out at the plant from 1924 to 19827. The experiment was mainly about the effects of light on productivity. The workers at the plant were exposed to different forms of illumination which was had some impacts on their productivity.
However, during the studies, other factors caught the attention of Mayo and he wanted to establish the effects of fatigue and monotony on the job productivity. The employees at the plant usually worked for 48 hours without any rest or pause. Mayo introduced variables which include work hours, temperatures, humidity, breaks and rest. A group of six women were involved in the study and were watched by an observer throughout the period. The productivity of the girls improved when rest breaks were introduced and food served to the girls (Gale, 2004).
They also worked as a team during the period although each of the girls used her own expertise to carry out different activities that were required of them. Ordinarily, the girls would be subjected to strict conditions for the purposes and tough disciplinary actions. However, during the study, the supervision was not strict and the atmosphere was free as compared to their ordinary working environment. The productivity of the girls greatly improved during the period and they also recorded a better performance after they went back to their physical conditions of the beginning of the experiment.
The studies, therefore, made important contributions that can be applied to today’ s management. Motivation is one of the major contributions that were made by the studies which is applicable to management today. During the experiment, the girls were provided with breaks to allow them to rest before they could continue with their work. This was unlike in the past where the girls were not provided with any rest breaks. This played an important role in terms of motivating the girls as it improved on their performance.
Food was also provided to the girls during the break which encouraged them to carry out their duties effectively. According to, Hartley, (2006), in today’ s management, the motivation of the employees is usually highly prioritized for the purposes of ensuring that they are able to improve on their productivity. The provision of food is similar to modern management practices where the employees are provided with incentives in order to improve on their productivity. Most of the companies also have policies with regards to the working hours of the employees as well as the breaks that they should take.
The management in modern companies has put in place measures to ensure that the employees do not work for too long without taking breaks. This has greatly motivated the employees in most companies and hence improving their productivity and ability of the companies to retain the employees. Based on personal experience, most of the employees who are motivated usually perform well and this is beneficial to both the company as well as the employees.
List of References
Brannigan, A & Zwerman, W 2001, ‘The real “Hawthorne effect”’, Society, February, pp.55-60.
Gale, EAM, 2004, ‘The Hawthorne studies – a fable for our times?’ QJ Med, 97, pp. 439-449.
Hartley, NT 2006, ‘Management history: an umbrella model’, Journal of Management History, Vol. 12, issue 3, pp. 278-292.
McQuarrie, FAE, 2005, ‘How the Past is Present(ed): A Comparison of Information on the Hawthorne Studies in Canadian Management and Organizational Behaviour Textbooks’, Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 22(3), pp. 230-242.
Muldoon, J 2012, ‘The Hawthorne legacy: a reassessment’, Journal of Management History, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 106-119.
Porter, C, 2012, ‘The Hawthorne effect today’, Industrial Management, vol. 54, Issue 3, pp. 10-15.
Waddell, D, Jones, GR, George, JM 2013, Contemporary Management, 3e, McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
Wickstrom, G & Bendix, T 2000, ‘The “Hawthorne effect” – what did the original Hawthorne studies actually show?’ Scandinavian Journal of Work Environment & Health, 26(4), pp. 363-367.