Hawthorne effect


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Related to Hawthorne effect: placebo effect, Hawthorne studies

Hawthorne effect

a term derived from the Hawthorne investigations (see HUMAN RELATIONS SCHOOL), in which the conduct of experiments produced changes in the behaviour of subjects because, firstly, they knew they were being observed, and, secondly, investigators developed friendly relationships with them. In the first instance, the Hawthorne effect made sense of the otherwise puzzling experimental finding of an inverse relationship between illumination (environmental change) and employee output. In the second instance, the attempt to assess the impact of a range of variables on the performance of employees, who were removed from their normal work situation, was rendered problematic, partly because over time investigators adopted a friendly supervisory relationship with the subjects. The difficulty in disentangling the effects of poorly controlled changes on the observed improvement in employee output was controversially resolved in favour of stressing the significance of employee preference for friendly supervision of cohesive and informal work groups. Indeed, this finding became the main platform in the prescriptions which human relations theorists proposed for effective management.

In both of the cases described above, the Hawthorne effect was associated with the way in which subjects interpreted and responded to poorly controlled experimental changes. As the researchers became aware of the need to consider the ways in which employees interpreted their work situation, other techniques of investigation, such as interviews and observation of natural settings, were adopted. Nevertheless, all of the phases in the research programme have been subjected to criticism, as has the interpretation of the findings (M. Rose, 1988). See also UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCES OF SOCIAL ACTION.

References in periodicals archive ?
Therefore, the Hawthorne effect may alter participants' natural behavior toward social desirability due to their awareness of the project.
Although the Hawthorne effect can explain these results, we also consider that the improved interpretation of SI joints by a rheumatologist is accomplished by specific training during fellowship and constant readings and exposure to musculoskeletal imaging.
"It's the Hawthorne Effect: If people know you're checking behind them, they'll give that little bit extra." LTL
Relying on best practice can also lead to observer effects (see Wikipedia entries on the observer effect and the Hawthorne effect).
New coverage also includes consideration of bullying, the new concept of "emerging adulthood," the Hawthorne effect, Veblen's concept of conspicuous consumption, and the influence of global outsourcing.
As the authors point out, "simply observing people or otherwise making them feel special can be suggestive," a phenomenon termed the Hawthorne effect.
A related factor is the Hawthorne effect, in which social and behavioral researchers' interactions with and observation of subjects being studied affects the subject's behavior.
Cox attributed the improvement in the comparator group to their participation in the study, a Hawthorne effect, especially because ANCHOR received a lot of media attention in Nova Scotia.
"The Hawthorne Effect: A Reconsideration of the Methodological Artifact," Journal of Applied Psychology, (69:2), 1984, pp.
The unexpected results gave rise to one of the key insights of modern psychology, later named the Hawthorne effect: Researchers can change the behavior of their subjects merely by studying them.
According to the Hawthorne effect, such an approach should facilitate increased productivity and achievement (Jones, 2007).