What is the Hawthorne effect’
The Hawthorne effect is the tendency of people who are the subject of an experimental study to change or improve a behavior is only because she studied, and not due to changes in the parameters of the experiment or stimulus.
Breaking down the ‘Hawthorne effect’
The Hawthorne effect refers to the fact that people change their behavior simply because they are being watched. The effect got its name from one of the most famous industrial history experiments that took place at the Western Electric plant in Hawthorne suburb of Chicago in the late 1920’s and early 1930-ies. However, subsequent analysis of the impact of University of Chicago economists in 2009 showed that the original results were probably inflated.
The Hawthorne experiments were initially developed by the National research Council to study the effects of shop lighting on worker productivity at a telephone parts factory in Hawthorne. However, the researchers were puzzled to find that productivity improved not only when lighting was improved, but when lighting is reduced. Performance is improved when changes were made in other variables such as working hours and rest breaks. The researchers came to the conclusion that the productivity of workers does not depend on changes of working conditions, but rather from the fact that someone was concerned enough about their working conditions to conduct an experiment on it.
The Hawthorne effect and modern research
For many types of research that uses man as a subject, the Hawthorne effect is an unavoidable bias that researchers should try to take into account when analysing the results. As awareness of the subject of study may change their behavior is extremely difficult to quantify. All a researcher can really do is try factor influencing the research design, which is a hard statement not universally agreed methodology. The presence of the Hawthorne effect the majority of social studies in a business that requires experience and human judgment for evaluation.
As an example of the Hawthorne effect in action, consider a study in 1978 to determine whether cerebellar neurostimulators resolve motor dysfunction in young people with cerebral palsy, the results showed that the Hawthorne effect affects the results. Objective testing showed that all patients reported that their motor function improved and they were satisfied with the treatment.
However, quantitative methods, showed that there was a slight improvement, and researchers invoked the Hawthorne effect as the main factor skewing the results. They believed that special attention is paid to patients, doctors, nurses, and doctors, and was the cause of reported improvements in the initial study.