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Elton mayo

"Mayo and the human relations theories"

Elton Mayo is best known for his “Hawthorne effect” conclusions. His work is basically based on the assumption that working conditions (lighting, heating, rest periods, etc) had a big impact on workers’ productivity. He did experiments to ensure that what he proposed are all true. As lighting and other conditions changed (except for the control group who had not experienced any changes), productivity in groups either improved or worsened, so all the groups’ productivity rose.

Mayo made the conclusion that:

  • Working conditions in themselves were not important in determining productivity levels.

  • Other motivational factors needed to be investigated further before conclusions were made.

The Hawthorne effect - the conclusions of Mayo's workEdit

  • Changes in the working conditions and financial rewards have little or no effect on productivity.

  • When management consult with workers and take an interest in their work, then motivation is improved.

  • Working in teams and developing a team spirit can improve productivity.

  • When some control over their own working lives is given to workers, there is going to be a positive motivational effect.

  • Groups can establish their own norms and these can greatly influenced their motivation.

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Evaluation of Mayo's research

Ever since Mayo’s work were published, there has been a trend where workers were given the opportunity to be more involved in business decision making - called participation. In the 20th century, many personnel departments were established to put the “Hawthorne effect” into work. Team and group work can also be applied in businesses these days and these offer the best opportunities for workers.

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