The Hawthorne Effect


At Scientific American , Hilda Bastian looks behind the story

Orrin Woodward Leadership Team :: Lead People & Manage Numbers

Orrin Woodward

Meaning, you cannot measure leadership directly, but you can certainly measure the effects of leadership in the results of a group the leader is leading. Measuring results reminds me of the Hawthorne Studies.

Trending Sources

When Clinicians Know They’re Being Watched, Patients Fare Better

Harvard Business Review

In the 1920s, a series of experiments were conducted at Hawthorne Works, a Western Electric telephone factory just outside Chicago, to study the effects of lighting on worker productivity. The “Hawthorne effect,” as it is now known, has been well-documented in social science : individuals, typically research subjects, actively change their behavior when they know they are being observed and monitored. The effect goes beyond productivity.

Virgin Atlantic Tested 3 Ways to Change Employee Behavior

Harvard Business Review

This is consistent with a well-documented social science phenomenon called the Hawthorne effect, whereby people change their behavior as a result of knowing they are being observed.

Uber Shows How Not to Apply Behavioral Economics

Harvard Business Review

In a paper published in 2009 , Alex Haynes and colleagues examined the use and effectiveness of checklists in eight hospitals in eight cities in the Unites States. It’s a well-documented social-science finding called the Hawthorne effect.) Tailored information with targets and feedback was the most cost-effective intervention, improving fueling precision, in-flight efficiency measures, and efficient taxiing practices by 9% to 20%.