What, if any, has been your experience with the Hawthorne effect on a job?
Of the three jobs I’ve worked, the one most applicable to the Hawthorne Studies would be my current job, working retail sales at a small outdoor store in my hometown. One of the first things they asked me in my interview for the job was about my favorite outdoor activities. I told them running was probably my favorite, and I found myself working in the running department of the store most days of the week. Having a responsive employer who places you in a position to work with customers who are interested or passionate about the same things you are is huge to workplace morale; I find it incredibly satisfying to help a customer find a new pair of shoes that they love as they pursue their big goal of running a marathon. Management at the store also comes to me, asking what models of shoes we should sell each year, asking if I have any ideas to redo displays and make things look nicer, or asking if I’ve found any new or better ways to fit customers to a specific shoe. This back-and-forth, open communication between employees and management feels like a great application of the Hawthorne Studies.
Describe a supervisor who inspired and motivated you — what were their characteristics or actions that made such a positive impact?
The supervisor who has motivated me the most is also my current supervisor at the same outdoor store. He’s very responsive, making sure I never go without a lunch break on a day where I may need one, asking for input about product or about displays, and often will let me go early if I need to take off and do homework and the store is fairly quiet in the evenings. He also did so much for the store, quite literally putting the whole place on his back, and seeing how much he did, while still being such an accommodating and understanding person always made me want to work harder to change displays, keep inventory, and really just do whatever I could to make his job easier.