Hawthorne Effect - Definition
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What is the Hawthorne Effect?
The Hawthorne effect is a term that describes the tendency of individuals to alter or change their behavior if they are aware that they are being observed.
This tendency changes in the result of the research or experiment parameters. More specifically, the Hawthorne Effect shows how reactivity or modification of human behaviors can reduce the integrity of research or experiment parameters.
Back to: Management & Organizational Behavior
A Little More on What is the Hawthorne Effect
The Hawthorne effect resulted from an experiment conducted between the 1920s and 1930s at the Western Electrics factory in the Hawthorne suburb of Chicago.
The original intent of the Hawthorne experiment was to study how the productivity of employees is impeded by shop - floor lightning. However, researchers found out that employees' productivity improved both when the lightning was bright and when it was dimmed.
The researchers then discovered that the employees modified their behaviors because they were aware they were being observed.