The classical era of management was followed by the human relations era, which began in the 1930s and
focused primarily on how human behavior and relations affect organizational performance. The new era
was ushered in by Hawthorne studies, which changed the way many managers thought about motivation,
job productivity, and employee satisfaction.
The Howthrone were conducted in order to find out the role of human resource in increasing the production
of an organization.
The Hawthorne studies included the following
1. Experiments to determine the effects of changes in illumination on
productivity,(illumination experiments), 1924-27.
2. Experiments to determine the effects of changes in hours and other
working conditions on productivity,(relay assembly test room),1927-28.
3. Conducting plant-wide interviews to determine worker attitudes and
sentiments, (mass interviewing program), 1928-30.
4. Determination and analysis of social organization at work,( bank wiring
observation room experiments), 1931-32.
HAWTHORNE EXPERIMENT CONDUCTORS
Conducted at WESTERN ELECTRIC COMPANY, Chicago, USA
Elton Mayo (the founder of human relations movement)
George Elton Mayo
brief Elton Mayo
• was born in Australia in 1880. Mayo worked from 1926-1949 as a professor of Industrial Research
at Harvard University. He is best known for his work based on the Hawthorn Studies, as well as his
book, The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization
• Mayo’s Motivation Theory, containing the Hawthorn Effect, led to the Human Relations School of
thought. This highlights the importance of managers taking more interest in their employees. Mayo
believed that both social relationships and job content affected job performance
He was the industrial worker.
He was a social scientist & Management Theorist
He also the professor of Harvard business school
company Western Electric Company
Gray and Barton, a telephone industry supply
company founded in 1869 by Elisha Gray and Enos
In 1872, the company changed its name to the
Western Electric Manufacturing Company
In 1881, when the annual sales had already grown
to nearly $1 million, the firm was purchased by the
American Bell Telephone Company, it was
renamed the Western Electric Company and
became Bells manufacturing arm
Airplane View of Hawthorne Works.
Magnetic Wire Insulating Department
Western Electric Company
breif The Hawthorne experiment where first conducted in November ,1924 at
western electric company Hawthorne plant in Chicago
The initial test were sponsored by The National Research council (NRC) of the national academy
of sciences with engineers from MIT
In 1927 , a research team from Harvard business school was invited to join the studies after the
illumination test drew unanticipated results
A team of researcher led by Elton Mayo from the Harvard business school carried out the
studies (General Electric Originally contributed funding , but they withdrew after the first trial
was completed )
• Funded by General Electric
• Conducted by The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences with engineers from MIT
• Measured Light Intensity vs. Worker Output
• Result :
Higher worker productivity and satisfaction at all light levels
Worker productivity was stopped with the light levels reached moonlight intensity.
Light intensity has no conclusive effect on output
Productivity has a psychological component
Concept of “Hawthorne Effect” was created
breif The next experiments beginning in 1927
focused on the relay assembly
department, where the electromagnetic
switches that made telephone
connections possible were produced. The
manufacture of relays required the
repetitive assembly of pins, springs,
insulators, coils, and screws. Western
Electric produced over 7 million relays
annually. As the speed of individual
workers determined overall production
levels, the effects of factors like rest
periods and work hours in this
department were of particular interest
to the company.
• Experiments were conducted by Elton Mayo
• Manipulated factors of production to measure effect on
– Pay Incentives (Each Girls pay was based on the
other 5 in the group)
– Length of Work Day & Work Week (5pm, 4:30
– Use of Rest Periods (Two 5 minutes break)
– Company Sponsored Meals (Morning Coffee &
soup along with sandwich)
– Higher output and greater employee
– Positive effects even with negative influences –
workers’ output will increase as a response to
– Strong social bonds were created within the
test group. Workers are influenced by need for
recognition, security and sense of belonging
Relay Assembly Test
• Measured effect on output with compensation rates
– Special observation room
– 1st Session- Relay Assemblers changed from
incentive to small group incentive
– 2nd Session - Adjusted back to large group
– ‘Small group incentives’ resulted in highest
sustained level of production –Output dropped
in 2nd session
Pay relevant to output but not the only factor.
Relay Assembly Room #2
Measured output with changes to work conditions only:
Special Observation Room
Length of Work Day
Use of Rest Periods
Workers stayed on established Piece-rate compensation
Productivity increased by 15% over standard output base
Productivity is affected by non-pay considerations
Social dynamics are a basis of worker performance
Mica Splitting Test Group
Conducted 20,000 interviews.
Objective was to explore information, which could be used to improve
Initially used the method of Direct Questioning and changed to Non Directive.
o Giving an opportunity to talk and express grievances would
increase the morale.
o Complaints were symptoms of deep-rooted disturbances.
o Workers are governed by experience obtained from both inside
and outside the company.
o The workers were satisfied or dissatisfied depending upon how
they regarded their social status in the company.
o Social groups created big impact on work.
o Production was restricted by workers regardless all financial
incentives offered as group pressure are on individual workers.
Mass Interview Program
Limited changes to work conditions
Segregated work area
No Management Visits
Supervision would remain the same
Observer would record data only – no interaction with workers
Small group pay incentive
No appreciable changes in output
Preexisting performance norms
Group dictated production standards
Work Group protection from management changes
Bank Wiring Observation Group
The social & psychological factors are responsible for worker productivity & job satisfaction .only
good physical working conditions are not enough to increase productivity
The informal relations among workers influence the workers behavior and performance more than
the formal relations in the organization
Employees will preform better if the are allowed to participate in decision-making effecting their
Employees will also work more efficiently , when they believe that the management is interested in
When employees are treated with respect and dignity , their performance will improve
Financial incentives alone cannot increase the performance , social & psychological needs must be
also be satisfied ion order to increase productivity
Good communication between superiors & subordinates can improve the relations & the
productivity of the subordinates
Special attention & freedom to express their views will improve the performance of the worker
In Mayos view , workers had been unable to find satisfactory outlets for expressing personal
problems & dissatisfactions in their worklife. the problem as mayo perceived it was that the
managers the answers to the industrial problems resided a technical efficiency ,when the answer
was a human & social one .