A five year research project led by Harvard Business School professors Elton Mayo, F. J. Roethlisberger and William D. Dickson between 1927 and 1932 focused on the workers at the Hawthorne Plant at the Western Electric Company in Cicero, Illinois. Workers were advised of the project, although they were not privy to the underlying reason for the research.
Researchers began by studying the effect of environmental influences on the productivity of the workers. One by one, various environmental factors, such as lighting, temperature, humidity and several others, were altered and the productivity of the workers measured. The major finding of the study was that regardless of the specific environmental factor being manipulated, the mere alteration of the physical environment led to an improvement in worker productivity.
Originally intended as a one-year project, the research stretched over five years as the researchers could not find a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. Ultimately, they concluded that the increased productivity could only be explained by the psychological stimulus on each worker of being “singled out and made to feel important,” as expressed in the words of the workers themselves.
Today, we recognise that the very act of observing a person’s behaviour changes and improves the result. We call this the Hawthorne Effect.
The purpose of this blogpost is to help focus your attention on those areas of your life upon which we will work during our time together. This act of observing – focusing upon – these critical life elements ensures maximum return on your investment of time and energy.
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