During the early part of the century, American businesses were
swept by Scientific Management, a school of thought largely
developed by Frederick Taylor. He pioneered the use of time and
motion studies, in which management would carefully break down
tasks into simple chunks, then work out the best way for a worker to
execute the chunks (all the way down to how long a step to
take, how often to break, how much water to drink, etc.). The worker
then executed their jobs exactly as they were told, like automatons.
3. Background (continued)
As part of the Scientific Management regime, companies routinely
studied the effects of the physical environment on their workers. For
example, they varied the lighting to find the optimum level of light for
maximum productivity. They piped in music, varied the
temperature, tried different compensation schemes, adjusted the
number of working hours in a day, etc.
The Hawthorne studies were carried out by the Western Electric
company at their Hawthorne plant in the 1920's. Initially, the study
focused on lighting.
The studies were intended to examine the influence of environmental
variables on a group of production workers. The group of workers
was divided into two subgroups: a test group, which would undergo
environmental changes, and a control group. The members of the
control group would work under normal, constant environment
4. Background (continued)
The researchers began by manipulating the lighting of the test group.
When lighting for the test group was increased, their productivity
increased--but the productivity of the control group increased, as
well. This result was somewhat unexpected, since the lighting at the
workstations of the control group had not been altered.
The researchers then decreased the lighting at the test group’s
workstations. Surprisingly, both the test group and the control group
continued to improve their productivity. There were no decreases in
productivity until the light was reduced to the point where the
workers could barely see. The researchers concluded that light did
not have a significant impact on the motivation of production
workers. This led General Electric, a light bulb manufacturer, to
withdraw their funding.
5. Background (continued)
The next experiment utilized a mainstay of scientific management:
incentive-based, piecework system. The researchers
expected, according to the conventional wisdom of the day, that this
would inspire the employees to dramatically increase their pace.
However, rather than working as fast as they could individually, the
workers calibrated themselves as a group.
Employees who worked more slowly than average were derided as
―chiselers.‖ Employees who attempted to work faster than the group
were called ―rate busters.‖ In other words, any significant deviation
from the collectively imposed norm was punished.
The Hawthorne studies drew attention to the social needs as an
additional source of motivation. Taylor’s emphasis on economic
incentives was not wholly discredited, but economic incentives were
now viewed as one factor--not the sole factor--to which employees
6. A term referring to the tendency of some people to work harder
and perform better when they are participants in an experiment.
Individuals may change their behavior due to the attention they
are receiving from researchers rather than because of any
manipulation of independent variables.
Individual behaviors may be altered by the study itself, rather
than the effects the study is researching was demonstrated in a
research project (1927 - 1932) of the Hawthorne plant of the
Western Electric Company in Cicero, Illinois. This series of
research, first led by Harvard Business School professor Elton
Mayo along with associates F. J. Roethlisberger and William J.
Dickson started out by examining the physical and environmental
influences of the workplace (e.g. brightness of lights, humidity)
and later, moved into the psychological aspects (e.g.
breaks, group pressure, working hours, managerial leadership).
7. The ideas that this team developed about the social
dynamics of groups in the work setting had lasting
influence — the collection of data, labor-management
relations, and informal interaction among factory
The major finding of the study was that almost regardless
of the experimental manipulation employed, the production
of the workers seemed to improve. One reasonable
conclusion is that the workers were pleased to receive
attention from the researchers who expressed an interest
in them. The study was only expected to last one year, but
because the researchers were set back each time they tried
to relate the manipulated physical conditions to the
worker's efficiency, the project extended out to five years.
Hawthorne Effects (continued)
8. Four general conclusions were drawn from the Hawthorne studies:
The aptitudes of individuals are imperfect predictors of job
performance. Although they give some indication of the physical and
mental potential of the individual, the amount produced is strongly
influenced by social factors.
Informal organization affects productivity. The Hawthorne
researchers discovered a group life among the workers. The
studies also showed that the relations that supervisors develop with
workers tend to influence the manner in which the workers carry out
Work-group norms affect productivity. The Hawthorne researchers
were not the first to recognize that work groups tend to arrive at norms of
what is a fair day's work; however, they provided the best systematic
description and interpretation of this phenomenon.
The workplace is a social system. The Hawthorne researchers came to
view the workplace as a social system made up of interdependent parts.
Hawthorne Effects (continued)
9. Elton Mayo’s team conducted a
number of experiments involving six
female workers. These experiments
are often referred to as the
Hawthorne experiments or Hawthorne
studies as they took place at The
Hawthorne Works of the Western
Electric Company in Chicago.
Over the course of five years, Mayo’s
team altered the female worker’s
working conditions and then
monitored how the working conditions
affected the workers morale and
productivity. The changes in working
conditions included changes in
working hours, rest
brakes, lighting, humidity, and
temperature. The changes were
explained to the workers prior to
implementation. Elton Mayo
10. At the end of the five year period, the female worker’s working
conditions, reverted back to the conditions before the experiment began.
Unexpectedly the workers morale and productivity rose to levels higher than
before and during the experiments.
The combination of results during and after the experiment (ie the increase in
the workers productivity when they were returned to their original working
conditions) led Mayo to conclude that workers were motivated by psychological
conditions more than physical working condition. He also concluded that
workers were motivated by more than self interest and instead the following
There is an unwritten understanding between the worker and employer
regarding what is expected from them; Mayo called this the psychological
A worker’s motivation can be increased by showing an interest in them. Mayo
classified studying the workers (through the experiments) as showing an
interest in the workers.
11. Work is a group activity, team work can increase a worker’s
motivation as it allows people to form strong working
relationships and increases trust between the workers. Work
groups are created formally by the employer but also occur
informally. Both informal and formal groups should be used to
increase productivity as informal groups influence the worker’s
habits and attitudes.
Workers are motivated by the social aspect of work, as
demonstrated by the female workers socialising during and
outside work and the subsequent increase in motivation.
Workers are motivated by recognition, security and a sense of
The communication between workers and management influences
workers’ morale and productivity. Workers are motivated through
a good working relationship with management.
12. Major advances in measurement of attitudes during 1920's and
◦ Likert and Thurstone among those particularly prominent
One of the earliest with clinical roots to enter I/O psychology was
◦ Viteles was student of Lightner Witmer (who many consider the father of
◦ Among Viteles' books were:
Industrial Psychology (1932) (perhaps first book to use that term in its title)
The Science of Work (1934)
Motivation and Morale in Industry (1953)
In 1939, Kurt Lewin led the first publication of an empirical
study of the effects of leadership styles; this work initiated
arguments for the use of participative management techniques
Between the Wars: During and
Shortly After the Hawthorne
The Likert scale is named after its originator, Rensis Likert.
A benefit is that questions used are usually easy to understand and so lead to
consistent answers. A disadvantage is that only a few options are offered, with which
respondents may not fully agree.
As with any other measurement, the options should be a carefully selected set of
questions or statements that act together to give a useful and coherent picture.
A problem can occur where people may become influenced by the way they have
answered previous questions. For example if they have agreed several times in a
row, they may continue to agree. They may also deliberately break the
pattern, disagreeing with a statement with which they might otherwise have agreed.
This patterning can be broken up by asking reversal questions, where the sense of
of the question is reversed - thus in the example above, a reversal might be 'I do not
like going to Chinese restaurants'. Sometimes the 'do not' is emphasized, to ensure
people notice it, although this can cause bias and hence needs great care.
Likert and Thustone
◦ The Likert Scale is an ordered, one-dimensional scale from which
respondents choose one option that best aligns with their view.
◦ There are typically between four and seven options. Five is very
common (see arguments about this below).
◦ All options usually have labels, although sometimes only a few are
offered and the others are implied.
◦ A common form is an assertion, with which the person may agree or
disagree to varying degrees.
◦ In scoring, numbers are usually assigned to each option (such as 1 to
◦ The Likert scale is also called the summative scale, as the result of a
questionnaire is often achieved by summing numerical assignments to the
Likert and Thustone
16. LIKERT: (examples)
5-point traditional likert scale:
Strongly Tend to Neutral Tend to Strongly
Agree Agree Disagree Disagree
I like going to Chinese
5-point Likert-type scale, not all labeled:
Good - Neutral - Bad
When I think about Chinese
restaurants I feel
6-point Likert-type scale:
Never Infrequently Seldom Sometimes Frequently Always
I feel happy when
entering a Chinese
Likert and Thustone
17. LIKERT: Question selection
Questions may be selected by a mathematical process, as
◦ Generate a lot of questions -- more than you need.
◦ Get a group of judges to score the questionnaire.
◦ Sum the scores for all items.
◦ Calculate the intercorrelations between all pairs of items.
◦ Reject questions that have a low correlation with the sum of the scores.
◦ For each item, calculate the t-value for the top quarter and bottom quarter
of the judges and reject questions with lower t-values (higher t-values show
questions with higher discrimination).
Likert and Thustone
◦ Thurstone was one of the first and most productive scaling theorists.
He actually invented three different methods for developing a
the method of equal-appearing intervals
the method of successive intervals
the method of paired comparisons.
The three methods differed in how the scale values for items were
constructed, but in all three cases, the resulting scale was rated the
same way by respondents.
Likert and Thustone
Judges are used beforehand to understand variation -- if the judge cannot
agree, then the question as posed is also likely to result in varied
responses from target people.
One of the biggest problem with Thurstone scaling is to find sufficient
judges who have a good enough understanding of the concept being
With a set of questions with which you can agree or not, it is useful to
have some questions with which the respondent will easily agree, some
with which they will easily disagree and some which they have to think
about, and where some people are more likely to make one choice rather
than another. This should then give a realistic and varying distribution
across all questions, rather than bias being caused by questions that are
likely to give all of one type of answer.
Thurstone scaling is also called Equal-Appearing Interval Scaling.
Likert and Thustone
20. THURSTONE: (example)
I like going to Chinese restaurants
Chinese restaurants provide good value for money
There are one or more Chinese restaurants near
where I live
I only go to restaurants with others (never alone)
Likert and Thustone
21. THURSTONE: Question Selection
◦ Generate a large set of possible statements.
◦ Get a set of judges to rate the statements in terms of how much they agree with
them, from 1 (agree least) to 11 (agree most).
◦ For each statement, plot a histogram of the numbers against which the different
judges scored it.
◦ For each statement, identify the median score, the number below 25% (Q1) and
below 75% (Q3). The difference between these is the interquartile range.
◦ Sort the list by median value (This is the 'common' score in terms of agreement).
◦ Select a set of statements that are are equal positions across the range of
medians. Choose the one with the lowest interquartile range for each position.
◦ In this method, the judges select between every possible pair of potential
statements. As the number of comparisons increases with the square of the
number of statements, this is only practical when there is a limited number of
Likert and Thustone
23. During the 1930s, Mr. Viteles, considered by specialists to be the father of
industrial psychology - now called consultative psychology-practice - was
known for developing tests to help managers in industry match workers
One of the tests, for applicants for jobs operating electric power stations,
was designed to enable Philadelphia Electric Co. to find workers who
would not lose control when confronted with electrical emergencies.
During what appeared to be a routine test to show that the applicant
could do simple operations, a 10,000-volt charge of electricity would
suddenly crackle across the panel in front of the candidate. Some
applicants stuck by the task and continued to throw switches. Others
By selecting those who kept their cool, the company reduced human
errors that led to substation failures from 36 a year to 5 a year.
24. Mr. Viteles, who held a staff position at Philadelphia Electric Co., where he
was responsible for personnel research and training, also devised tests to
match employees to other jobs. In 1941, the program he developed was
considered one of the most advanced in the country.
He also designed tests to ferret out the best trolley
operators, clerks, typists, stenographers, salesmen, and other workers for
A test he devised for Yellow Cab to find people who would enjoy driving
hacks was so successful that Philadelphia cabbies stayed on the job for an
average of 10 years, about 10 times longer than drivers in other
cities, according to a magazine report in 1942.
``It is important . . . that a man be kept out of a job for which he is not
fitted,'' Mr. Viteles said when asked about his research. ``It is more
important . . . that he be placed in a job where he can be efficient and
26. led the first publication of an empirical study of the effects of leadership styles; this
work initiated arguments for the use of participative management techniques in
While further research has identified more specific types of leadership, this early
study was very influential and established three major leadership styles.
Authoritarian Leadership (Autocratic):
Authoritarian leaders, also known as autocratic leaders, provide clear
expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how
it should be done. There is also a clear division between the leader and
the followers. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with
little or no input from the rest of the group.
Researchers found that decision-making was less creative under
authoritarian leadership. Lewin also found that it is more difficult to move
from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa. Abuse of
this style is usually viewed as controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.
Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little
time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most
knowledgeable member of the group.
27. Participative Leadership (Democratic)
Lewin’s study found that participative leadership, also known
as democratic leadership, is generally the most effective leadership style.
Democratic leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also
participate in the group and allow input from other group members. In
Lewin’s study, children in this group were less productive than the
members of the authoritarian group, but their contributions were of a
much higher quality.
Participative leaders encourage group members to participate, but retain
the final say over the decision-making process. Group members feel
engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative.
28. Delegative (Laissez-Faire) Leadership
Researchers found that children under delegative leadership, also
known as laissez-fair leadership, were the least productive of all
three groups. The children in this group also made more demands
on the leader, showed little cooperation and were unable to work
Delegative leaders offer little or no guidance to group members
and leave decision-making up to group members. While this style
can be effective in situations where group members are highly
qualified in an area of expertise, it often leads to poorly defined
roles and a lack of motivation.