Previously we mentioned that Utah was trying a 4 day work week to save energy. The results are in and there was very little energy savings. However, they made a lot of savings in other unexpected ways. It is still up in the air whether they will keep the program or not.
I never ceased to be amazed that people are still citing the “Hawthorne Effect.”
Especially since subsequent studies have completely and repeatedly debunked its conclusions.
Unfortunately, The Hawthorne Effect is yet another one of those “stories too good to let die.” And like all good urban myths, it still keeps rearing its head – although nowadays, it’s pretty much restricted to government agency ‘studies’ and reports. Apparently “Magical Thinking” is still alive and well in the Utah state government.
FYI: One good introductory article discussing the Hawthorne Myth can be found at this link:
(A quick Google will net you dozens more.)
Mark Shead says
Thanks for the link. It was a very interesting read.
It seems that “The Hawthorne Effect” is usually used to describe situations where people’s productivity changes when placed under observation. Of course this could also be referred to as the placebo effect.