Definition of Hawthorne Effect
(noun) When an individual’s behavior changes in some way due to their awareness of being observed.
Example of Hawthorne Effect
- When workers’ productivity improves when being watched by their boss.
Hawthorne Effect Pronunciation
Syllabification: haw·thorne ef·fect
- Plural: Hawthorne effects
- Named after a productivity study conducted in the late 1920s and early 1930s at the Hawthorne Works, a plant of Western Electric located outside of Chicago, in the United States. The study is referred to as the Hawthorne Experiment or the Hawthorne Study.
- Also called:
- experimenter effect
- observer effect
- “Variously defined, the central idea [of the Hawthorne effect] is that behavior during the course of an experiment can be altered by a subject’s awareness of participating in the experiment” (Jones 1992:451).
- Adair, John G. 1984. “The Hawthorne Effect: A Reconsideration of the Methodological Artifact.” Journal of Applied Psychology 69(2):334–45. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.69.2.334.
- Adair, John G., Donald Sharpe, and Cam-Loi Huynh. 1989. “Hawthorne Control Procedures in Educational Experiments: A Reconsideration of Their Use and Effectiveness.” Review of Educational Research 59(2):215–28. doi:10.2307/1170415.
- Lee, Raymond M. 2011. “‘The Most Important Technique …’: Carl Rogers, Hawthorne, and the Rise and Fall of Nondirective Interviewing in Sociology.” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 47(2):123–46. doi:10.1002/jhbs.20492.
- Mahoney, Kevin T., and David B. Baker. 2002. “Elton Mayo and Carl Rogers: A Tale of Two Techniques.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 60(3):437–50. doi:10.1006/jvbe.2001.1839.
- Mason, Emanuel J., and William J. Bramble. 1997. Research in Education and the Behavioral Sciences: Concepts and Methods. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.
Jones, Stephen R. G. 1992. “Was There a Hawthorne Effect?” American Journal of Sociology 98(3):451–68. doi:10.1086/230046.
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Cite the Definition of Hawthorne Effect
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “hawthorne effect.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 25, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/hawthorne-effect/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
hawthorne effect. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/hawthorne-effect/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “hawthorne effect.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 25, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/hawthorne-effect/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“hawthorne effect.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/hawthorne-effect/>.