Evaluate the Contribution of the Hawthorne Studies to the Development of Management Theory and Practice.

1720 Words Oct 9th, 2007 7 Pages
Hawthorne Studies have been subjected to many criticisms. Yet, the evolvement of many of the management theories today would not have come about without the experiments done by Elton Mayo. This essay will cover the various aspects of management that has been refined through the findings of the tests conducted and how improvements were made to aid in the development of organisational behaviour. It will also discuss the various studies and will show how these theories implement Hawthorne studies as the foundation and the basis of the human relations movement. It will also investigate the criticisms that arise within it.

In the past, managers considered workers as machinery that could be bought and sold easily. To increase production,
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As proven by the Hawthorne studies where motivation is a key factor for success, Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies to the same aspect.

Not long after Maslow's interpretation of management theory, his student, Douglas McGregor studied worker attitudes. According to McGregor, people can be assumed to belong to two groups. They are known to be Theory X and Theory Y.

Theory X assumes that most people will stay away from work as they do not enjoy it and must be "threatened or persuaded to put forth adequate effort"(Bruce et al, 1999). He further assumes that people belonging to this group have minimal ambition and would pull away from responsibilities. These people would rather be directed and considers job security as their utmost priority.

Theory Y however assumes that work is a natural process for people and most people are self driven to accomplish goals which they are responsible for. Responsibility is desired by people belonging to this group and work itself would be self satisfactory for them.

McGregor's study was suppose to identify that work itself could be a motivator to people.

However, these assumptions of people were once applied to the management styles inaccurately. This in turn led to people being classified as part of a certain group and the individuals were not recognised for their qualities. People who were of certain qualities were not