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Hawthorne Effect

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

From 1924 to 1927, Elton Mayo of the Harvard Business School, together with Fritz J. Roethlisberger and William J. Dickson, carried out a series of experiments with the level of illumination in a factory called the Hawthorne works of the Western Electric Company in Illinois. After informing the workers that they would be observed to assess their level of productivity, the level of illumination was varied in the factory. In some cases, during the experiment a person associated with the research remained on the factory floor. The researchers expected to find that illumination correlated with increased productivity; however, worker productivity increased throughout the experiment regardless of the level of light. In fact, in one experiment, the level of illumination was decreased steadily; productivity increased until ...

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