Hawthorne Hooey

My post about the illusory Hawthorne Effect brought this lovely email from a reader:

“Curiously I was reminded of the Hawthorne studies just last week – I spent a pleasurable few hours with some friends at a local cinema watching Cinema Paradiso…a lovely film that I first saw one Thursday afternoon nearly 20 years ago.

As a student in Edinburgh, we had two lecturers in Organisational Psychology. One was always able to hold a theatre of 100 students attention no matter how dry the subject matter. The other spent far too long on the Hawthorne studies, and sadly for her, also lectured to us on Thursday afternoons.

Thursdays was half price for students at the Edinburgh Filmhouse.

Needless to say, in my finals, an essay choice centered around the Hawthorne studies. It was luck that I was able to choose from the others.

Almost 20 years later I am reassured that my time was not wasted.”

It’s strange to think of the colossal theoretical edifices that social ‘scientists’ have erected on such a flimsy foundation.