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RE: [XP] Hawthorne effect?

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  • Lynn, James
    ... Stolen from some web page: In an early (1927-1933) productivity study in Western Electric s Hawthorne plant near Chicago researchers discovered that their
    Message 1 of 3 , May 30 11:59 AM
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      > What's the Hawthorne effect?

      Stolen from some web page:

      In an early (1927-1933) productivity study in Western Electric's Hawthorne
      plant near Chicago researchers discovered that their own presence affected
      to outcome of the study. In this case, so long as the study was in progress
      productivity increased. The term "Hawthorne Effect" was thus coined to
      define the influence of the researcher's presence on the outcome of the
      study. Or, put another way, attention increases productivity.

      Put yourself in the shoes of one of these weary, ignored and neglected
      workers. A collection of smart-looking researchers show up and constantly
      check on how well you're doing. They nod, click their stop watches, and
      scribble on their clipboards regularly recording your productivity. You get
      attention. Someone actually cares about how well you are doing. What
      happens? Productivity goes up. If the researchers give more breaks, you
      produce more. When they give less breaks ( or even no breaks at all) you
      produce still more. Why? Because you feel special, important and that your
      job is important.

      The Hawthorne Effect may not be actually proved. Gina Kolata de-bunked the
      effect in the New York Times article titled "Scientific Myths that are too
      good to die"(12/6/98). Apparently only five workers took part in the
      original study, and two were replaced before the study was finished. Adair,
      Sharpe, and Huynh (1989) examined 86 studies they believed are the studies
      involving use of control groups to counteract the Hawthorne Effect and
      concluded that there is no such artifact, and if there is it is too small to
      be of importance, since 86 studies did not find it. A psychology professor
      at the University of Michigan, Dr. Richard Nisbett has called the Hawthorne
      effect "a glorified anecdote" going on to say, "Once you've got the
      anecdote, you can throw away the data." However, the Hawthorne Effect is one
      of those "facts" which certainly ought to be true, even if it isn't.

      James
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