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In a short essay, describe the Hawthorne studies and how they were interpreted.
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Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications
Edition: 10th
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The Hawthorne studies were a series of studies conducted by engineers at the Western Electric Company Works in Cicero, Illinois. The engineers initially designed the studies as a scientific management experiment to test the effect of various illumination levels on worker productivity. The engineers expected a simple relationship to emerge–the greater the illumination was, the higher the productivity would be.

The results did not support the expectations of the engineers. Instead of a clear-cut relationship between light intensity and productivity, they saw varied results–some groups performed better than others in low light levels, for example. To explain these results, they began exploring the nature of groups and group interactions. These additional studies resulted in two primary conclusions. First, the authors of the studies concluded that group pressures could significantly affect individual performance. And second, they concluded that people behave differently when they know they are being observed in a test situation.

These results functioned to further the importance of human behavior as it pertains to management. After the Hawthorne studies, managers realized that people in a workplace could be affected by more things than just their jobs and the work conditions themselves.
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