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Hawthorn Effect - Psychology Definition of the Week

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideMay 30, 2008

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Definition: A term referring to the tendency of some people to work harder and perform better when they are participants in an experiment. Individuals may change their behavior due to the attention they are receiving from researchers rather than because of any manipulation of independent variables. Read More...

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May 31, 2008 at 8:15 pm
(1) Tony Moore :

This is the commonly accepted and widely promulgated definition that Human Resource consultants and HR departments have used to justify a whole host of industrial-relations interventions of questionable worth.

Parsons? reexamination of the experiement, as reported in ?What Happened at Hawthorne?? (SCIENCE, 183 March, 1974), revealed that the experimental group differed from the control group in two critical ways:

1. The experimental group was given frequent feedback on their productivity.

2. The experimental group was paid more when their performance exceeded the standard.

I submit that feedback and incentives were primarily responsible for the increased performance, not the more commonly credited variables.

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