International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

productivity and goal attainment will rise ( Lawler 1986). This conceptual notion of subordinate involvement with organizational leadership was defined by E. E. Lawler ( 1986) as "participative management."

In one study that grew out of the Hawthorne studies and subsequent research, a form of participative decisionmaking and inclusion of employees was introduced into a hospital subsystem. Over the 18-month period of the study, attitudes improved, absenteeism declined, and productivity increased. Absence and productivity rates in the comparison groups did not change during the study period. Performance differences between the experimental and comparison groups were significant practically as well as statistically. Productivity during the 18-month period increased 42 percent ( Bragg and Andrews 1973).

In another study, questionnaire responses were collected from 400 managers in the six divisions of a manufacturing organization, along with company data on division performance. Analysis of data collected from the six divisions indicated a relationship among leadership behavior, satisfaction, and performance. Specifically, the study showed that democratic-participative leadership behavior and daily inclusion of the employee are related to individual organizational member satisfaction and to overall organizational performance and motivation ( Roberts, Miles, and Blankenship 1968).

In 1986, K. I. Miller and developed a meta-analysis literature review that tested cognitive, affective, and contingency models of the effects of participation in decisionmaking on employee's satisfaction and productivity. Results from field studies provided some support for cognitive models, but strong support was provided for affective models, linking a participative climate with worker satisfaction. The meta-analysis also showed that incorporating organizational members into organizational decisionmaking had a positive effect on the overall performance of the organization ( Miller and Monge 1986).

The two studies and the meta-analysis just discussed exhibit evidence that if a leader incorporates subordinates in the decisionmaking process and includes them in the daily operation, organizational performance will increase. Thus, the early conceptual notions of Maslow ( 1943) and McGregor ( 1957), derived from the Hawthorne studies, have guided many researchers to look deeper into the issue of human phenomena. Hundreds of studies in motivational literature are still trying to answer earlier notions developed at the Hawthorne plant.


Conclusion

F. J. Roethlisberger ( 1941) wrote that the Hawthorne studies seemed to be a beginning on the road back to sanity as far as employee relations are concerned. The Hawthorne studies offered a working hypothesis that produced a few simple and clear ideas for further research in understanding the motivations of people in the workplace. If a business is to understand what motivates a worker, it must treat the worker as a human. Roethlisberger also believed that all issues or problems do not have complex solutions. For example, a human problem of how to increase productivity requires a human solution; it does not require a set of complex solutions about to how to manipulate the physical environment. It simply requires that humans be understood and that human needs be fulfilled.

The Hawthorne studies initiated a combination of researchers' intellectual and emotional strength to form the embryonic stages of the study of organizational behavior ( Ott 1996). The Hawthorne experiments provided the first empirical challenge to the scientific management notions of Taylor ( 1911). These studies also significantly changed how researchers, as well as organizational managers, view behavior in organizations with regard to the motivations of the individual worker. The Hawthorne experiments demonstrated that there are many complex, interactional, and interconnected variables that can help to develop a highly motivated workforce, thus improving overall output and productivity. Variables such as listening to the individual worker, allowing discussion of topics on how best to improve specific technology, paying attention to the workers, granting autonomy to individuals during the workday, developing creativity, and allowing the employee to take charge of his or her employment destiny have all become a greater part of organizational management because of the Hawthorne studies.

DOUGLAS L. CHRISTIANSEN


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bragg, J. E., and I. R. Andrews, 1973. "Participative Decision Making: An Experimental Study in a Hospital". Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences, vol. 9: 727-735.

Lawler, E. E. III., 1986. High Involvement Management. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Maslow, Abraham H., 1943. "Theory of Human Motivation". Psychological Review, vol. 50: 370-396.

Mayo, Elton, 1933. The Human Problems of Industrial Civilization. New York: Macmillan.

McGregor, Douglas M., 1957. "The Human Side of Enterprise". Management Review (November): 278-301.

Miller, K. I., and P. R. Monge, 1986. "Participation, Satisfaction, and Productivity: A Meta-Analytic Review". Academy of Management Journal, vol. 29: 727-753.

Ott, J. Steven, ed. 1996. Classic Readings in Organizational Behavior. 2d ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Roberts, K., R. Miles, and V. L. Blankenship, 1968. "Organizational Leadership, Satisfaction, and Productivity: A Comparative Analysis". Academy of Management Journal, vol. 11: 401-414.

Roethlisberger, F. J., 1941. Management and Morale. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Roethlisberger, F. J., and W. J. Dickson, 1939. Management and the Worker. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Shafritz, J. M., and Albert C. Hyde, eds. 1992. Classics of Public Administration. 3d ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks-Cole.

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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