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Organizational Behavior - Hawthorne Studies

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Essay  •  777 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,909 Views

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1. Discuss the original purpose of the Hawthorne studies as opposed to what they ended up showing. Make a list of points illustrated by the Hawthorne Studies.

The original purpose of the Hawthorne studies was to study the effects of lighting (or illumination) and worker productivity. Instead of showing a relationship between illumination and productivity, the study emphasized the importance of understanding human behaviors and attitudes. The study revealed that productivity or output is not affected by changes in the physical working conditions, but rather by the direct treatment of the workers.

- The illumination test revealed that the output for both the test and control group increased, and that the levels of illumination were not a factor in either group's output.

- The women assembly telephone relays revealed that when attention was given to the workers, they felt more a part of the company, and worked together as a cohesive group. The women developed feelings of belonging, competence, and achievement, and worked harder and more effectively.

- The workers' interview sessions (1) revealed that it is therapeutic when workers have the opportunity to speak freely about the company, (2) revealed that implementing the workers' suggestions made them feel more a part of the company's operation and future, (3) indicated the need for management to study and understand relationships among people, and (4) revealed that when informal groups identified with management productivity rose.

2. Discuss McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y. What are the important limitations of each?

McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y are two differing views about human behavior at work. Theory X assumes that most people dislike work, must be directed or threatened to meet organizational objectives, have no interest in taking on responsibility, and prefer safety and security above all else; and that managers who accept Theory X attempt to pressure and control their employees. Theory Y assumes that people are not naturally lazy or unreliable, and if committed to objectives, people can be self-directed, creative, and seek and accept responsibility. Managers who accept Theory Y are supportive and facilitating.

Theory X and Y are attitudes, or ideas toward people. Management approaches based on Theory X may fail to motivate employees to work toward organizational goals, especially if their physiological and safety needs


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