elton mayo the hawthorne studies n.
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  1. ELTON MAYOTHE HAWTHORNE STUDIES Studies carried out at the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago between 1927 and 1932

  2. HUMAN RELATIONS SCHOOL • Due to unrest caused by Taylor’s scientific principles in the 20’s and 30’s work was carried out based in the ‘human side’ of workers – not focusing on money • Elton Mayo was one of the main theorists involved.

  3. Background on Mayo • Born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1880 • Died in Surrey in 1949 • Worked in Australia, UK and the USA on various projects and lecturing

  4. History of the Hawthorne Studies • Background: Mayo wanted to find out what effect fatigue and monotony had on job productivity and how to control them through variables such as • Rest breaks • Work hours • Temperatures • Humidity

  5. In the process…. • He found a principle of human motivation that would help to revolutionise the theory and practice of management

  6. The experiment • 6 women from an assembly line • Segregated them from the rest of the factory • Put them under the eye of a supervisor (a friendly observer) • Made frequent changes to their working conditions • Always discussed and explained the changes in advance

  7. The changes • Changed the hours in the working week and in the working day • Increased and decreased the number of work breaks and the time of the lunch hour • Occasionally he would return the women to their original, harder working conditions

  8. The findings • Under normal conditions with a 48 hour week, including Saturdays and no rest pauses: • Team produced 2400 relays per week each

  9. Findings during experiment • They were put on piecework for 8 weeks • Output went up • Rest pauses were introduced for 5 weeks • Output went up

  10. Rest pauses were lengthened to 10 minutes • Output went up • Six 5-min pauses were introduced and the girls complained that their work rhythm was broken • Output fell very slightly • Return to 2 rest pauses the first with a hot meal supplied free of charge • Output went up

  11. Group were dismissed at 4.30 pm instead of 5.00 pm • Output went up • They were dismissed at 4.00 pm • Output remained the same • Finally all improvements were taken away and the team went back to the conditions at the beginning of the experiment • Output was the highest ever recorded at 3000 relays per week per person

  12. What happened during the experiment? • The individuals became a team and the team gave wholehearted co-operation with the experiment • They were happy in the knowledge that they were doing what they wanted to do • They felt they were working under less pressure than before • They were not pushed around or bossed by anyone • Under these conditions they developed an increased sense of responsibility which came from within the group itself

  13. Mayo’s Conclusions • Individual workers cannot be treated in isolation but must be seen as members of a group • Monetary incentives and good working conditions are less important to the individual than the need to belong to a group • Informal or unofficial groups formed at work have strong influence on behaviour • Managers must be aware of these ‘social needs’ and cater for them to ensure that employees work with the organisation rather than against it

  14. Moving On Human Relations School • The basis of the HR Movement is the use of social sciences to secure the commitment of individuals to the aims of the organisation. • This movement, although now considered simplistic, established the importance of social factors in the workplace.


  16. What is Neo-Human Relations? • The Hawthorne Experiments did not highlight how work practices and structure should be modified to improve worker satisfaction and productivity • In the 40’s it was realised that links between organisational design, motivation and productivity were more complex than first thought

  17. DOUGLAS MCGREGORTHEORY X AND THEORY Y • McGregor, an American social psychologist, proposed his famous theory in his book • “The Human Side of Enterprise” • In his book he examined theories on behaviour of individuals at work , he has formulated 2 models

  18. THEORY X ASSUMPTIONS(Authoritarian Management Style) • The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he/she can • Most people must be controlled/threatened if they are to work hard • The average human prefers to be directed, dislikes responsibility, is unambiguous, and desires security above everything else • Similar view to FWT

  19. THEORY Y ASSUMPTIONS(Participative Management Style) • Effort in work is as natural as work and play • Control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work man will direct himself if he is committed to the goals of the org • If a job is satisfying then the result will be commitment to the organisation • The average man learns not only to accept but to seek responsibility • Similar view to Mayo

  20. Imagination, creativity and ingenuity can be used to solve work problems by a large number of employees • Under the conditions of modern industrial life the intellectual potential of the average man is only partly utilised

  21. Manager has Theory X attitude toward staff No worker initiative Autocratic Manager has Theory Y attitude towards staff Workers are creative Workers given responsibility SO… managerial style can be seen as:- X MANAGERIAL STYLE Y

  22. DIAGRAM THEORY X MANAGEMENT STAFF X Authoritarian and repressive style. Tight control, no development. Produces limited depressed culture

  23. DIAGRAM THEORY Y STAFF MANAGEMENT Y Theory Y – liberating and developmental, control and achievement

  24. Findings • McGregor sees the 2 theories as quite different attitudes

  25. X • Can range from soft to hard approach • It is part of the managers job to exercise authority and there are cases when this is the only method that will get results • Much of behaviour in organisations reflects the Theory X view • X is limited and unrealistic and relies on authority as the primary means of control • Hard approach results in hostility, purposefully low output and hard union demands • Optimal approach would be somewhere between hard and soft – middle ground

  26. The problem with X • X relies on money to motivate • Once the need for money subsides the drive for motivation is lost • Does not allow workers to reach higher levels of motivation as shown by Maslow

  27. Y • Theory Y is difficult to put into practice on the shop floor • Level of maturity of staff will play a large part • Y can be used initially in the managing of management • Y is conducive to participative problem solving • Y will lead to higher motivation • Y can be seen in the successful Japanese Management technique - TQM

  28. Implications for management • Decentralisation and Delegation can be used freely in a Y environment • Delayering and reduction in management levels – flatter structures • Job enlargement – broadening the scope of an employee’s job adds variety

  29. Participative Management – consulting employees in the decision making process taps their creative capacity • Performance Appraisals having the employees set objectives and participate in evaluation


  31. Story So Far • We have seen the Classical, Human Relations and Neo-Human Relations schools of thought. • All of these approaches are rather narrow and do not have a holistic view of the organisation • Systems Theory is an attempt to address this – introduced in the 60’s and 70’s

  32. What is it? • Systems Theory argues that in any organisation everything is so interdependent that a small change in one part will mean changes in the other part • Often called the Open-systems approach it views any one organisation as an interdependent of a much bigger whole • That is with the internal and external environment


  34. The wider environment can include • Suppliers • Customers • Peer organisations • The environment then impacts on the business

  35. The approach seeks to find the best fit from the elements in the diagram • Technical factors • Social factors • Economic factors • Legal factors

  36. Summary • This approach to an organisation states that it is necessary to incorporate social and technical aspects of work if an effective system is to be incorporated • When technology is introduced social groups should NOT be broken up • This fragmentation will reduce motivation


  38. What is contingency theory? • “There is no single approach to organisational structure that will suit all organisations at any point in time.” • Contingency means ‘It depends’

  39. Contingency theory tries to get the best fit between the task and the peopleand the environment they work in TASKS PEOPLE

  40. 3 Factors to Consider • Strengths and weaknesses of the organisation • Objectives of the organisation • The external environment of the organisation

  41. Management Approach • Using contingency theory a manager would be expected to • Develop an organisational approach that suits a particular situation • The approach will change in line with external factors • Within one organisation you may have a variety of approaches in different areas