Hawthorne Effect | Meaning and Definition

What is the Hawthorne Effect?

The Hawthorne effect is a propensity for certain people to change their conduct when they are aware that they are being watched. This phenomenon suggests that when people are made aware that they are being studied, the attention they receive from the researchers may influence them to modify their behavior. 

The Hawthorne Effect is named after industrial studies conducted in Chicago’s Hawthorne area, which is now known as Cicero, in the 1920s and 1930s. Several productivity studies were included, which looked at how changes in lighting and work patterns, such as break periods and working hours, affected worker productivity. 

According to later readings by many experts, being the focus of a study and receiving extra attention from researchers might result in a temporary rise in worker productivity. However, studies conducted later found that the original study’s findings were likely exaggerated.