Hawthorne Effect

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Hawthorne Effect

The phenomenon in which subjects of study alter their behavior simply because they are being studied. The Hawthorne effect is important in marketing. For example, test audience members may unintentionally skew their responses one way or another simply because they know they are part of a test audience. The concept originated in 1950 when analysis of a study from the 1920s and 1930s saw that productivity in a factory improved during a study of employees and declined after the study's conclusion.
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Did the Hawthorne Experiments prove that workers became more productive when treated by supervisors with greater informality and friendliness?
That, argues Gillespie persuasively, is the critical importance of study of the Hawthorne Experiments.
By systematically deconstructing the Hawthorne experiments - from their inception to their effects on industrial relations and the social sciences - Richard Gillespie successfully shows the complex processes at work in the production and consumption of knowledge.
Schachter views the Hawthorne experiments as a continuation and development of Taylor's ideas rather than a repudiation of them.
It is as the author of `Human Problems of an Industrial Civilisation' which reports on the Hawthorne Experiments, that he is known for his contribution to management thinking, even though he disclaimed responsibility for the design and direction of the project.