Hawthorne Studies - Meaning & Definition

Published by MBA Skool Team, Last Updated: May 28, 2015

What is Hawthorne Studies?

The Hawthorne studies were a series of investigations conducted by Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger were a part of a refocus on managerial strategy with emphasis on the socio-psychological aspects of human behaviour in organizations. These studies were conducted in the 1920s at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company.

The hypothesis of research was that if workers are given a choice in choosing their co-workers, everyone works together as a group, everyone is treated special, and everyone is supervised by a sympathetic supervisor, the productivity of workers will increase. One of the key findings of the research was that monetary incentives combined with good working conditions are not as important as meeting workers’ need and desire to work as a group and feel included in decision making.

These studies were conducted for over ten years and checked if the worker productivity increases if working conditions are improved (e.g. improved lighting). It was observed that the productivity is more responsive to social factors like team-work and managerial support than factors, like improved lighting etc., the researchers wanted to inspect.

These studies included other assignments like separating a group from others, increasing managerial support in one group and reducing in the other, measuring the impact of breaks on output, and allowing the groups to make their own decisions and set their own targets.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Hawthorne Studies along with its overview.

This article has been researched & authored by the Business Concepts Team. It has been reviewed & published by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

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