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The Hawthorne Effect

What the heck is the Hawthorne Effect?   I’m so glad you asked!

To sum it up in only a few words, the Hawthorne Effect describes the results you receive when you give people attention.  The simple act of showing people that you care about them inevitably spurs them to better job performance.

The Hawthorne Effect was discovered by researchers at Harvard who were studying the relationship between worker productivity and work environment.  The experiments were conducted at the Hawthorne Works plant of Western Electric in the 1920s and 30s.   The original study was conducted in order to determine if increasing or decreasing the amount of light workers received would increase or decrease worker productivity.

The astonishing results were that the productivity increased, but the increase was shown to be due to the personal attention of the researchers to the employee and were not affected by the changes in lighting.  Pretty incredible findings!

The Hawthorne Effect has also been referred to as the “Somebody Upstairs Cares” syndrome.  Because people spend such a large percentage of their time at work it is important to have a sense of belonging.  When people feel like they belong, they are more productive and more creative.

Take away:  Make sure your employees know you care!  It is the right thing to do and it affects the bottom line in a very positive way!

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Judy W Bell

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