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Hawthorne Effect

Edited by: Published: 2010
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The term Hawthorne effect refers to the tendency for study participants to change their behavior simply as a result of being observed. Consequently, it is also referred to as the observer effect. This tendency undermines the integrity of the conclusions researchers draw regarding relationships between variables. Although the original studies from which this term was coined have drawn criticism, the Hawthorne effect remains an important concept that researchers must consider in designing studies and interpreting their results. Furthermore, these studies were influential in the development of a field of psychology known as industrial/organizational psychology.


The term Hawthorne effect was coined as a result of events at Hawthorne Works, a manufacturing company outside of Chicago. Throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, officials at the telephone parts manufacturing ...

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