Yes, but that’s just it. When people know they are being watched, they act differently.
Let me explain how the Hawthorne effect got its name and...well...you’ll get the idea.
See, there was a manufacturing facility called the Hawthorne plant.
And researchers conducted some experiments there to see what conditions make workers the most productive.
What sort of conditions?
Well, one thing they experimented with was the lights.
Were workers more productive with bright lights or dim lights?
Well, here is the thing, whatever the researchers did, the workers’ productivity increased.
When the lighting was improved, productivity went up, when the lighting was dimmed, productivity went up again.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense.Exactly! So initially the experiment was considered a failure.
But then, the researchers realized that their own presence had affected the workers’ productivity.
The workers knew that the researchers were watching them, and with so much attention on them, the workers felt compelled to work harder.
Oh, I guess that really could be an issue with my group’s research.
Yes, but I don’t want to send you all back to square one.
So how about you set up a meeting with your group members and discuss this, then we can meet again and go over your ideas.
And I think that we should be able to figure out a way to get around the problem.