What, if any, has been your experience with the Hawthorne effect on a job?
After viewing the video and thinking back through my work history, there is one particular experience that came to mind. I was working for a small local company that was purchased by a larger company. Immediately after the transition, leadership began making small changes in the environment, such as strategically placing desks so that workers faced away from one another rather than facing each other. At the same time, employees were asked to communicate only through email, never in person. As employees, the ideas struck us as cold and impersonal. As time wore on and I assumed more leadership roles, I began to see those as strategies for improved productivity. It just wasn’t communicated to us at all that that was the reason for the poor reception. It ended up having a negative impact on productivity as our morale was impacted.
Describe a supervisor who inspired and motivated you — what were their characteristics or actions that made such a positive impact?
My most inspirational supvervisor was also the most demanding supervisor I have ever had. She didn’t hesitate to delegate new responsibilities to me, and never failed to act as if she had absolute faith in my abilities. While it was demanding and stressful at times, it afforded me the opportunity to learn and advance at a rate much faster than I expected. Her unfailing confidence in me taught me to be confident in myself. While she delegated many duties to me, she was working alongside me so there was never a feeling that I was being treated unfairly. Of all of my supervisors, she is the only one who never implied that I was less of a professional because I didn’t have a college degree.
1 Comment for “M9 – Beshaw”
I found it very interesting that you wrote about a negative experience regarding to the Hawthorne effect, since the whole idea of it was that positive results came from attention to employees. Any time large changes in a business occur such as being bought out, it seems like communication is crucial in order for things to continue to run smoothly. It can cause a lot of tension and confusion when communication isn’t happening, like the situation you described. I think part of the reason that the Hawthorne effect works is because attention to workers creates a sense of unity. Changing the desks in your workplace like that sounds like is might have created disunity, which is the opposite of what a team needs!
Having a supervisor who is willing to teach and work alongside you is so important! I learned from my favorite supervisor to always extend that hand, even if it’s as simple as saying “call me if you need anything” to my employees before I leave. I say this every day now, and while they rarely do call me, I am much more confident that things are running smoothly, and know that they don’t feel as though they’re bugging me if they need to. It’s a win-win for everyone.