M9 (Levenson)

What, if any, has been your experience with the Hawthorne effect on a job?

My experience with something comparable to the Hawthorne effect has come from my current position. When I became the store manager at my current workplace, I learned all of the duties of the position and policies of my company; it seemed like my idea of a typical management position. Since then, the company has initiated a program set up to catch up with the times-updating systems, creating new training programs, providing more tools for the customers, etc. Corporate has also encouraged us at the store level to become more involved with both our customers and throughout the company. We have competitions within our districts, are encouraged to be creative, and are asked for our opinions and ideas regularly. Even at our quarterly meetings, there are themes, games, and more brand reps coming to support us and get us involved. This has given me a feeling of belonging within my company and made me to believe that I am appreciated and my ideas respected, even though I am a thousand miles from the next closest store.

Describe a supervisor who was a poor supervisor (un-motivating, indecisive, uncaring, etc.) — what were their characteristics or actions that made you feel that way?

The only poor supervisor I have had was when I was in my early 20’s. At first I thought she was really “chill’ for a boss, and seemed like she was everyone’s friend. It didn’t take a lot of time to realize that she was passive-aggressive and manipulative. A supervisor shouldn’t have to use these tactics in order for their employees to do what the manager needs done. Instead of continuing to train me, especially after moving from sales associate to merchandiser, she had those who had been there a little longer than I had to teach me. At times they would show me how to do something, and I would later find out that it wasn’t actually how my supervisor wanted it done. She also would keep important information to herself about what was going on in the company and store. We never had team meetings or did anything as a group, so I felt like it was every worker for themselves most days. The final characteristic that resulted in my leaving that job, was that the manager did not take personal responsibility when something went wrong in the store. She literally blamed others for her actions at times.

1 Comment for “M9 (Levenson)”

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Your current job definitely sounds like a great example of the Hawthorne Effect. Your employer engages with you and your store quite frequently, be it through sales competitions, asking for feedback on procedures, and quality training programs for employees. It also sounds like they make you feel like you’re a part of something much larger than the single store you work in, which is very important when working for a big corporate entity. It definitely sounds like a workplace that would be engaging and exciting to work in.

The supervisor you’ve had who you did not enjoy working for sounds like one I’ve also had in my time. Manipulation and passive-aggressive tactics are always a poor combination for a higher-level employee. Poor communication skills are the worst – I’ve also had a supervisor who would pass off training of new employees (often that training fell onto me), and would never communicate with employees when upper management decided that the price of something needed to change, or ever changing procedures. And, like the supervisor you described, she would often pass off the blame of anything that went wrong in the store to other employees, resulting in quite a few of them quitting.