Graduate Level Psychology Help

The Hawthorne Effect

PSYCH/610 Version 2


University of Phoenix Material

The Hawthorne Effect

Use the table below to answer the following. Be sure to write in complete sentences.

· Investigate the history of the Hawthorne Effect and discuss why it is important for researchers to know about this phenomenon.

· Brainstorm ways that researchers can eliminate this confound.

History and definition of Hawthorne Effect “The Hawthorne effect concerns research participation, the consequent awareness of being studied, and possible impact on behavior” (McCambridge et al, 2014, p. 267). The Hawthorne effect began at Western Electric telephone company manufacturing company in Hawthorne. The studies occurred between 1924 and 1933. The observations included a select group of employees who were observed by managers continuously. It was also backed by a research program. In addition, the Hawthorne effect was used in a methodology textbook that was prevalent in 1953. There has been an evolution of controversies in regard to the Hawthorne effect. If there is a Hawthorne effect going on, there can be bias in ways that are not understood well.
Example of Hawthorne Effect


Why is it important for researchers to know about this? To better understand the environment that influences production and performance it is important for researchers to know about the Hawthorne effect. There are vital traits within a company whereby production is influenced. For example, an employee who gives 100% work ethic. This example shows an employee who is giving their all and one who is motivated to complete their job requirements at a high level. The Hawthorne effect will aid in assisting an organization in understanding multiple ways to motivate their employees and provide a better work environment (Barnes, 2010). It is important for researchers to know and consider the possibilities of the Hawthorne effect as its results are often a temporary fix and may not be reliable (Barnes, 2010). Researchers should be cautious and make certain that they are establishing ways to keep a positive environment and consistent productivity beyond the Hawthorne effect.


Strategies to avoid the Hawthorne Effect (at least two) In the study conducted by Goodwin, Stange, Zyzanski, Crabtree, Borawski & Flocke (2017), they wanted to see how the Hawthorne Effect alters the content of a directly observed outpatient visit (p.1323). The goal of the study was designed to minimize the potential for a Hawthorne effect (Goodwin et al, 2017). The results showed that those that were directly observed by the nurse during their visited showed little to no effects. Two ways that come to mind to avoiding the Hawthorne Effect would be to ensure the researchers are trained on how to interact with their participates, and to run random practice studies to ensure the researcher is comfortable with their participates. Another way would be conduct Blind-case studies, this way neither the participates or the researcher would have a change to feel uncomfortable with being observed (Cozby & Bates, 2015).


Barnes, B. R. (2010). The Hawthorne Effect in community trials in developing countries. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13(4), 357-370. doi:10.1080/13645570903269096

Cozby, P. C., & Bates, S. C. (2015). Methods in behavioral research (12th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Goodwin, M. A., Stange, K. C., Zyzanski, S. J., Crabtree, B. F., Borawski, E. A., & Flocke, S. A. (2017). The Hawthorne effect in direct observation research with physicians and patients. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 23(6), 1322–1328.

McCambridge, J., Witton, J., & Elbourne, D. R. (2014). Systematic review of the Hawthorne effect: new concepts are needed to study research participation effects. Journal of clinical epidemiology67(3), 267–277. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.08.015