Saturday, December 15, 2012

Human behavior . . .

HUMAN MOTIVATION is incredibly complex. Attempts to tweek with it are invariably mis-directed. Esther Inglis-Arkell's article at io9, "The lasting mystery of the Hawthorne Effect" is worthy of  attention.

The Hawthorne Effect is cited by both business experts and psychology experts, but rarely in the same way. Some say it's real, some that it's real but misinterpreted, and then others that it doesn't exist and never has. It all started with an attempt to increase productivity at a factory in the 1920s, and we've been arguing about it ever since. 

The story of the Hawthorne Effect begins in the 1920s, when productivity studies began at the Hawthorne Works electrical equipment factory in Illinois. They continued for the better part of a decade, with investigators tweaking nearly every aspect of working life.

— The Home Office —

1 comment:

Silverfox said...

The short answer is that by and large all factory work is already as simplified, streamlined and physically efficient as it can possibly be made... all in the name of maximumizing productivity and of course maximumizing profitability.

Needless to say the only people that envvironment is designed and destined to make happy aren't any of the the ones that actually have to work in it.

For them that is about as mentally boring, dull and completely uninteresting as it can possibly be simply because of that...

So almost any form of change is a welcome and positive distraction and something to actually "think about" that re-focusses the workers' attention on where they are and what they're doing in an environment that doesn't generally offer them anything tangible to "think about" in relation to that.

For however long the novelty of whatever changes last those workers become the interested and curious creatures they were born to be instead of simply the disinterested and bored to death druges any purely artificial and rarely if ever changing environment is always bound to make them.

That they work better and can be more productive by being even
marginally more involved and aware of their immediate surroundings shouldn't come as any real surprise at all.

So why is it?