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What does the 'Hawthorne' research tell us about group behaviour in the work situation? Describe and analyse critically this classic research programme.
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Between the years of 1924 and 1932 a series of studies was carried out into the main influencing factors affecting morale and efficiency of workers at the Hawthorne works of the Western Electric Company in Chicago. The so-called "Hawthorne Studies", originally a mere investigation into the optimisation of company profits, soon caught the attention of many distinguished and respected academics from such institutions as the National Research Council, the Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and have since been heralded as one of the most extensive and productive pieces of socio-scientific research ever conducted. The aim of...
nevertheless come under fire from many varying angles. For example they have been criticised on methodology, and on failure of the investigators to take sufficient account of environmental factors. The whole 'human relations' approach has been heavily criticised on the grounds that it is 'insufficiently scientific' and takes too narrow a view. However, these criticisms do not, and indeed cannot detract from the sheer fact this was one of the most important social science investigations ever conducted, and that they stand as the single most influential and important foundation of the development of studies into management and organisational behaviour.

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