George Mayo and The Hawthorne Effect

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Introduction The Hawthorne Effect has been described as “the rewards you reap when you pay attention to people” (Maslow, 2005). George Elton Mayo conducted the Hawthorne Studies with the intention of bringing about a greater understanding of the effects of working conditions on worker productivity. The results of these studies turned out to be contrary to the management theories of the times but were important in creating an understanding of motivation factors in workers. “The studies have had a profound effect on the field of Organizational development” (Richard, 2004). Due to the research efforts of past management theorists, we have many more insightful management trends and educated managers today. Biography of Theorist George Elton Mayo was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on December 26, 1880. He was the second child of a respected colonial family, whose father was a civil engineer. After failing to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps studying medicine, he was sent to Britain. He then began to write about Australian politics for the Pall Mall Gazette and taught at the Working Men’s College in London. Afterwards, he returned to the university and became the most brilliant student of the philosopher, Sir William Mitchell, although his views on management cause him to be unpopular. George Mayo married Dorothea McConnel, and then had two daughters, Patricia Elton Mayo, who would follow her father’s management...
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