M9 (Sanches)

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.

M6 (Sanches)

We’ve all seen examples of scandals come up in the corporate world. Samsung’s exploding phones, Bayer Aspirin’s scandal, and many more. But we’ve also seen scandals of similar scale come up in the sports world, such as when Russia was banned completely from the 2018 Winter Olympics for using performance enhancing drugs. The scandal that resonates the most with me, however, is one that encapsulates both the corporate and the sports world: Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal. For those who don’t know, Lance Armstrong was a professional cyclist. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in the mid-90’s. While fighting cancer, he created the Livestrong Foundation, which raised money to help cancer patients and fund cancer research. In 1997, he was declared cancer free, and returned to cycling, winning the Tour de France, one of the world’s premier cycling races. He would proceed to win seven straight Tour de France titles, earning tons of money in corporate sponsorships, raising loads of money for the Livestrong Foundation, and cementing himself as an American cycling legend. However, in 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency ran an investigation on Armstrong. He was found guilty of doping, and was stripped of his seven titles. In 2013, he admitted to doping in a televised interview, saying that he believed he was “leveling the playing field” by doping, rather than gaining an unfair advantage over competitors. He was also found to have pressured numerous other American cyclists into also taking performance enhancing drugs. He claimed he lost approximately $75 million in a single day after his admission, through his loss of sponsorships and other public support.



M2 (Sanches)

After reading the chapter, I can think of a few situations in my life that apply to some of these normative theories. One situation that seems particularly applicable to me is retail sales. I’ve worked the past two years selling running shoes and clothing at Beaver Sports here in Fairbanks. Now, in most sales jobs, there are sales incentives or commission-based sales that would inspire people to sell things harder to earn more money for themselves, an egoistic behavior. However, at Beaver Sports, we get no commission and have no other sales incentives, so much of my sales approach while working there is following utilitarian behavior.

Because of the lack of sales incentives, my personal theory when working is to do my best to ensure that I help each customer find exactly what they need. If that means selling them a shoe that is on sale when something more expensive would provide the same result to make them happier, that’s what I do. If a customer wants to buy a shoe based on the colors, but I know that they’ll be in pain because the shoe isn’t supportive enough for them, I really try to push them into the shoe that will support them better and leave them in less pain down the line.

Utilitarian theory supports these decisions as well. In all of my sales, I consider both happiness and unhappiness generated from a decision or sale I could make. I also think about how one decision I make might affect the happiness of other customers and employees (if I give a discount to one customer in front of another customer, I offer the same discount to the other so that that other customer doesn’t get upset). Taking long-term happiness into account is the driving force between pushing one shoe over another to a customer.

M1 (Sanches)

This week’s questions: How do we develop our ethics? What are the primary sources for us to develop our ethical position?

I believe that developing our ethics and our ethical position happens at a fairly young age for most people. Based on my own observations, I would say that most of the ethical development in a person occurs between the ages of 6 and 14 years old. These are the years when a person really begins to observe what goes on around them, when a child would ask a lot of questions, and when they would really start to understand the world around them.

Much of our ethical development comes from our parents. They are the people we look up to in every facet of our lives, but especially in our younger years. As children, when we see or hear about something from our parents that they really didn’t like, we ask them questions as children do, and we learn why they didn’t like whatever it is that bothered them. It’s through this kind of behavior that we develop much of our ethical position. If a parent is bothered by an ethics related decision, the young child will learn their parent’s ethical stance on the issue, and will (most likely) adopt the same stance.

Of course, there are other factors besides our parents. Other prominent figures in our lives also help develop our sense of ethics. Perhaps for one person it was their sixth-grade teacher, or for another it was their soccer coach. Maybe one child grew up with their uncle, and that uncle was a major ethical role model for them. But regardless of who any given person’s ethical role models were (besides their own parents, most people probably couldn’t tell you who their role models were), it’s some combination of the people around us that shape who we are and what we believe is right and what is wrong.