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The Hawthorne Studies and the Norms of Behaviour in the Workplace

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Management theories could be traced in 1800s during the industrial revolution and factory growth time (Bartol, Tein, Matthews, Ritson & Scott-Ladd 2006, p.16). The history of management viewpoint is partly involved in developing understanding about the norms of behaviour in the workplace. In fact, the Hawthorne studies did a lot of contributes to that. It also altered the focus of management study, in contrast with the classical management. This essay is trying to demonstrate that how the Hawthorne studies contribute to developing understanding about the norms of behaviour in the workplace and find out researchers’ experience of how group relationships have influenced work performance.

Between 1924 and 1933, a series of the Hawthorne studies was conducted by researchers, including Elton Mayo, of the Hawthorne Works which belonged to the Western Electric Company. Scientists attempted to determine the relation between work environment and productivity over the series of the Hawthorne studies. The first series of studies, called The Hawthorne Illumination Tests (HIT), was performed between 1924 and 1927. The purpose was just to find the optimal lighting for productivity (Sheldrake 1998, p.105). These experiments had two groups, control group (the group with lighting changed) and experimental group. Surprisingly, both of their performance enhanced at last, whether illumination declined or not. Due to Sheldrake’s viewpoint (1998, p.108), the results showed that there was no clear relationship between the intensity of lighting and the rate of output. Thus, researchers realised that there could be something else besides lighting to

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