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?
First, he uses the Hawthorne Experiments to provide, in fascinating detail, a picture of a research network composed of business executives, philanthropists, and academicians that transformed a piece of "obscure and confusing" industrial research into a landmark series of "discoveries." The research network Gillespie describes combined the influence of a powerful corporation, American Telephone and Telegraph, for which the huge Hawthorne Works factory produced intricate electrical equipment, the prestige of faculty members at a famous university, Harvard, and the financial sponsorship of the mighty Rockefeller Foundation.
The Hawthorne experiments might have drifted to a disappointing end had not, in 1927, the other partners in the network entered.
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.