Hawthorne Studies/Cultures AND Subcultures Essay Examples
Description and Analysis of the Hawthorne Study
The Hawthorne study was conducted in 1927 to 1932 by Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger. It was done at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company. Initially, the main objective of the study is to determine the effect of lighting on worker efficiency. The scope of the study was further expanded to understand the socio-psychological aspects of human behavior in organizations. The main idea behind this study is that there are several factors which affect worker productivity. It was found out that employee productivity does not only depend on suitable working conditions, but that it is largely dependent on social factors such as the relationship between supervisors and subordinates and being able to work in teams.
The results of the Hawthorne experiment serve as very useful inputs in human resource management today. It gave rise to new ideas on how to motivate individuals in the workplace. New ways of motivating employees, aside from monetary benefits, are now used by companies such as allowing their employees to work in teams and participating in the decision-making process for issues that affect them directly. Organizations today are more aware of the importance of effective leadership in increasing worker productivity.
The significance of the Hawthorne experiment can be seen in one’s current and past work setting. In one’s current workplace, management divides its sales people in sales teams because they realized that the sales of the company increases when the employees work as a team. In one’s previous employment, management held regular meetings with the various departments to discuss problems, and the employees are allowed to voice out their opinions on how to solve these problems.
Dominant Cultures and Subcultures
Every organization has a dominant culture which is exclusive and distinct to that organization. This culture is shared by the members of the organization. It serves as an invisible guideline on how employees should behave. However, in large organizations, the presence of subcultures are also very common. Subcultures are the cultures of a smaller group of people within the organization. These subcultures may be formed on the basis of geographical locations, departments, functional specialty, tenure, race or age. As an example, Bank of America may have a unique dominant culture; however, since it has different branches all over the country, each branch may have its own subculture. Multinational companies are organizations where one can expect several subcultures. The Asian employees in a multinational company may have a different subculture compared to the Europeans or Middle Easterners who work in the same organization.
Having a dominant culture in a company is very important because if the workers are committed to a common norm or value espoused by the organization, the organizational goals and objectives are easier to achieve. An employee’s job performance is positively influenced by the organizational culture (Shahzad, Luqman, Khan, et al, 2012). Aside from the dominant culture, it is essential that one understands the impact of subcultures in the organization, especially in this era of globalization. The diverse cultures present in a company means that management should be able to deal with the various intricacies of each culture. Leadership and management styles should be adjusted so that each subculture is addressed appropriately.
An example where one demonstrated an openness to understanding a cultural difference is when there was a luncheon meeting at the office. It was a working lunch so everyone ate while discussing the issue on hand. Everyone except a Muslim employee ate because the meeting was held during the Ramadan month. One did not force the employee to eat knowing that it is against his religious belief.
There are a number of ways how one can embrace diversity in the workplace. The most important guideline in embracing diversity is to accept every individual regardless of race, culture and religious beliefs. Every employee should exert an effort to educate themselves about the different backgrounds and cultures present in their organization. Management must see to it that the workplace is safe for all employees, meaning each one can be their own person without fear of being ostracized.
Cultural diversity is one of the major challenges that organizations have to face today. Companies should learn to develop strategies where cultural diversity can work as a competitive advantage for them, rather as a setback in accomplishing their goals.
McLaughlin, J. (2015). Organizational subculture: Definition and examples. Retrieved from Study.com: http://study.com/academy/lesson/organizational-subculture-definition-examples.html
President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2012). Illumination studies and relay assembly test room. Retrieved from Harvard Business School: http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/hawthorne/03.html#three
Shahzad, F., Luqman, R. A., & Khan, A. R. (2012). Impact of organizational culture on organizational performance: An overview. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 975-985. Retrieved from http://www.journal-archieves14.webs.com/975-985.pdf