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Video Clip — Abraham Zaleznik on Hawthorne experiments
The significance of Hawthorne was in the Relay Assembly Test Room, and this was really Mayo’s intuition or genius, if you want to call it that. That study was organized by Hawthorne people, and they had all the periods set up, in which they discovered that when they went—they reduced working hours, and instituted rest periods, output went up. So as they thought they were improving working conditions, workers responded by improving output.
And it was Mayo’s idea to revert back to the original condition, and output went up. Why should this be? And why it should be is the notion of morale. And also the transference reaction of workers to these researchers and supervisors. This is what—transference is like falling in love, positive transference. They want more output, we’ll give it to them, no matter what. Working conditions not—and this confounded all the theories about industrial organization and work.
When they did the Bank Wiring Observation Room, which was the second part of the study, they did not intervene. They had no effect on output, but you had—what you had is an excellent description of the formation of group structure, and then the theory of restriction of output, of the notion of norms of behavior developing in a group, which could react against the desires of management for more output, and so on.