Wednesday, November 13, 2019
CRITICAL THINKING TOOLS - ppt video online download: Critical Thinking Tools…. Introduction to 4 that may be useful to make initial choices: PMI PCD Pohl Directed Thinking Problem Solution Chart Sourced from Sally Pohipi ‘Critical Thinking Pack’
Monday, November 11, 2019
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Hawthorne Experiment: Key Findings.
The Hawthorne plant of Western Electric was located in Chicago. It had some 29,000 employees and manufactured telephones and telephone equipment, principally for AT & T. The company had a reputation for advanced personnel policies and had welcomed a research study by the National Research Council into the relationship between work-place lighting and individual efficiency.
The study began in 1924 by isolating two groups of workers in order to experiment with the impact of various incentives on their productivity. Improvements to levels of lighting produced increases in productivity, but so too did reversion to standard lighting and even below-standard lighting in both groups. The initial assumption therefore was that increased output stemmed from variation alone.
Other incentives - including payment incentives and rest pauses - were manipulated at regular intervals, and although output levels varied, the trend was inexorably upwards. Whatever experimentation was applied, output went up. Although it had been fairly conclusively determined that lighting had little or nothing to do with output levels, the Assistant Works Manager (George Pennock) agreed that something peculiar was going on and that experimentation should continue.
Early deductions - supervision and employee attitudes
In the winter of 1927, Pennock invited Clair Turner (Professor of Biology and Public Health at MIT) to consult. Turner quickly resolved that rest pauses in themselves were not the cause for increased output, although it was observed that longer rest pauses gave rise to more social interaction, which in turn impacted on mental attitudes. Turner attributed the rise in output to: the small group; the type of supervision; earnings; the novelty of the experiment, and the increased attention to the experimentees generated by the experiment itself.
Pennock had been among the first to note that supervisory style was important. The supervisor involved in the illumination experiment had been relaxed and friendly; he got to know the operators well and was not too worried about company policies and procedures. Discipline was secured through enlightened leadership and understanding, and an esprit de corps grew up within the group. This was in stark contrast to standard practice before the experiment.
When Pennock invited Turner to participate, he also invited Mayo (although it is unknown whether this was as a result of Mayo's achievements at the Philadelphian Spinning Mill, or because of a desire to involve Harvard). Visits in 1929 and 1930 indicated to Mayo 'a remarkable change of attitude in the group'. Mayo's view was that the Test Room Workers had turned into a social unit, enjoying all the attention they were getting, and had developed a sense of participation in the project.
In order to understand this further Mayo instituted a series of interviews. These provided the workers with an opportunity to express their views and let off steam. It emerged that they would feel better for discussing a situation even if it did not change. Further exploration into worker complaints revealed that some had little or no basis in fact but were actually symptoms or indicators of personal situations causing distress.
By focusing on a more open, conversational, listening and caring interview approach, Mayo had struck a key which linked the style of supervision and the level of morale to levels of productivity.
Further research - social groups
A third stage in the research programme took place in the Bank Wiring Room with a similar application of incentives to productivity. Here it emerged that:
- output was restricted - the group had a standard for output which was respected by individuals in the group;
- the group was indifferent to the employer's financial incentive scheme;
- the group developed a code of behaviour of its own based on solidarity in opposition to the management, and
- output was determined by informal social groups rather than by management.
Mayo had read the work of F W Taylor, who had already established that social groups were capable of exercising very strong control over the work behaviour of individual members (Taylor had referred to this as 'systematic soldiering'). The interesting development which Mayo noted, however, was that whereas in the first set of experiments productivity went up as the experiments progressed, in the Bank Wiring Room productivity was restricted.
In The human problems of an industrial civilisation Mayo wrote:
Human collaboration in work, in primitive and developed societies, has always depended for its perpetuation upon the evolution of a non-logical social code which regulates the relations between persons and their attitudes to one another. Insistence upon a merely economic logic of production...interferes with the development of such a code and consequently gives rise in the group to a sense of human defeat. This... results in the formation of a social code at a lower level and in opposition to the economic logic. One of its symptoms is 'restriction'.
The question which needed to be asked, therefore, was: What was different between the two groups? The answer was found to lie with the attitude of the observer. Where the observer encouraged participation and took the workers into his confidence, productivity went up. Where the observer merely watched and adopted the trappings of traditional supervisory practice, output was restricted.
For industry to benefit from the experiments at Hawthorne, Mayo first concluded that supervisors needed training in understanding the personal problems of workers, and also in listening and interviewing techniques. He held that the new supervisor should be less aloof, more people-oriented, more concerned, and skilled in handling personal and social situations.
It was only later, after a period of reflection, that Mayo was able to conclude that:
- job satisfaction increased as workers were given more freedom to determine the conditions of their working environment and to set their own standards of output;
- intensified interaction and cooperation created a high level of group cohesion;
- job satisfaction and output depended more on cooperation and a feeling of worth than on physical working conditions.
In Mayo's view, workers had been unable to find satisfactory outlets for expressing personal problems and dissatisfactions in their work life. The problem, as Mayo perceived it, was that managers thought the answers to industrial problems resided in technical efficiency, when actually the answer was a human and social one.
Mayo's contribution lies in recognising from the Hawthorne experiments that the formality of strict rules and procedures spawns informal approaches and groups with their base in human emotions, sentiments, problems and interactions. The manager, therefore, should strive for an equilibrium between the technical organisation and the human one and hence should develop skills in handling human relations and situations. These include diagnostic skills in understanding human behaviour and interpersonal skills in counselling, motivating, leading and communicating.
Mayo has been acclaimed by his followers as the Founder of the Human Relations school of management, and he has been criticised by sociologists for not going far enough in his interpretations.
Mayo's conclusions and interpretations are increasingly commonplace among social scientists, trade unionists and managers alike. Perhaps that is a measure of his achievement, because most critics and commentators agree that he was the first, not necessarily to state the case, but to demonstrate, infer and provide evidence from it to shift management thinking in a direction other than the widespread and entrenched dominance of Taylor's scientific management.
Hawthorne - thanks to both Mayo and one of his major colleagues and collaborators (F. J. Roethlisberger) was widely reported and discussed. Roethlisberger said of Mayo that the data were not his, the results not his, but the interpretations were Mayo's. Without those interpretations, the results of Hawthorne would still be collecting dust in the archives. Following his involvement with the Hawthorne Experiments in the 1920s and 30s, Roethlisberger later revisited the findings with Hawthorne supervisor William Dickson. When analysing the data in detail, they discovered that subjects alter their behaviour when under observation. This they termed the ‘Hawthorne Effect’ - a situation which arose because people were ‘singled’ out for special treatment, or a ‘special situation’ which when created, allowed workers the freedom to air their problems. This psychological phenomenon was written about by Roethlisberger and Dickson in their 1966 publication Counselling in an organization: a sequel to the Hawthorne researches. Since that time, modern-day scholars have sought to investigate the validity of the ‘Hawthorne Effect’; examining the extent to which individuals modify their behaviour when under observation, and in what conditions it manifests itself.
Mayo's conclusions influenced others who later became regarded as management gurus themselves:
His ideas on the emergence of 'informal' organisations were read by ARGYSIS and others as they developed theories about how organisations learned and developed.
The discrediting of the 'rabble hypothesis' theory - based on the assumption that individuals only pursue self-interest - led directly to the work of McGregor (Theory X and Theory Y) with its wider implications for leadership and organisation.
The conclusions drawn by Mayo from the Hawthorne studies established the beginnings of the importance of management style as a major contributor to industrial productivity, of interpersonal skills as being as important as monetary incentives or target-setting, and of a more humanistic approach as a means of satisfying the organisation's economic needs and human social skills.
Although there is some disagreement among academics in terms of what conclusions should be drawn from the Hawthorne Experiments, what is agreed upon is that Mayo’s study and subsequent findings effectively laid the foundation for understanding industrial behaviour and human relations in the workplace. Indeed, it can be said that Mayo’s experiment has left a long-lasting legacy for the field of management to build upon for many years to come