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Word Count: 417
One of Elton Mayos major involvements in direct observation was in the famed Western Electric researches conducted at the companys Hawthorne Plant near Chicago which ran from 1927 to 1932 80 The work of Mayo and his associates had been preceded by a series of experiments conducted by engineers at Western Electric concerning the effect of the degree of illumination on worker productivity 81 In the first of these experiments three departments were exposed to different levels of lighting The results were inconsistent In one department output fluctuated with no direct relationship to the intensity of illumination In the second department output remained relatively stable over the period of the experiment In the third department output increased as the level of lighting increased but failed to decline when the level of lighting was decreased Subsequent investigations did little to resolve these inconsistencies In a second experiment a test group and a control group were subjected to different levels of lighting Output in the test group increased as was expected however output also increased in the control group where the level of lighting was held constant A third experiment involved just the use of artificial lighting to afford greater control over the degree of illumination In this case output suffered under decreased lighting only when the workers complainedthat they could barely see Further informal experimentation served only to add to the confusion as two operators maintained their level of productivity even when the degree of illumination was reduced to the approximate level of moonlight Confounded by these results company officials sought the advice of Mayo and his associates at Harvard The Harvard group suggested that human response had defeated the purpose of the lighting experiments The workers they argued had reacted to the experiments themselves not to the level of lighting and speculated that the implicit expression of managements concern in merely conducting the experiments had been a determining factor
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