The Hawthorne Studies, conducted at Western Electric's Hawthorne plant outside Chicago, starting in 1924 and running through 1936, were intended to bring about a greater understanding of the effects of working conditions on worker productivity. The results of the experiments were contrary to the management theory of the time (Scientific Management), and were key in bringing about an understanding of motivation factors in employment
Basically, a series of studies on the productivity of workers introduced several deliberate various conditions (pay, light levels, rest breaks etc.), but each change resulted on average over time in productivity rising, including eventually a return to the original conditions. This was true of each of the individual workers as well as of the group’s average.
Clearly the changes that the experimenters deliberately introduced were not the only or dominant causes of productivity. One interpretation, mainly due t...