Interaction and cooperation improve productivity.
What causes workers to be more productive? Researchers have asked this question for years. In fact, pioneering work began in the 1920s as an attempt to discover ways to increase production efficiency – and then led both to the founding of the human relations school of management, and to the development of many of the motivational tools that are used today.
At the center of this work was Elton Mayo, a Harvard researcher. He looked at the results of early motivation experiments and concluded that psychological and social factors played a larger role in productivity than physical elements.
In 1927, researchers were trying to determine the optimal amount of lighting, temperature, and humidity for assembling electronic components at Western Electric's Hawthorne plant. The results showed that lighting had no consistent effect on production. Researchers were frustrated to discover that increasing light increased output, but reducing light also increased output. The common factor, it seemed, was that something in the work environment was changed, and that positive effects were then observed.
After thoroughly examining the results, Elton Mayo and his fellow researchers determined that workers weren't responding to the change in lighting conditions, but instead were reacting to the fact that they were being observed by the experimenters. This phenomenon became known as the Hawthorne effect. The workers' awareness that researchers were measuring their productivity was sufficient to increase productivity.
The identification of the Hawthorne effect led to...
With the Mind Tools Club, you get much, much more than you do here for free.
And we'll give you the 4 workbooks above when you join!
Learn on the move with the free Mind Tools iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Short bursts of business training ideal for busy people.