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veritasHarvard University Library Notes, For Harvard Library Staff, Number 1340 November 2007

Harvard University Library Notes / November 2007 / No. 1340

The Human Relations Movement: Harvard Business School and the Hawthorne Experiments, 1924–1933

At Harvard Business School's Baker Library, an unusual exhibition entitled "The Human Relations Movement: Harvard Business School and the Hawthorne Experiments, 1924–1933," provides a rare view of human relations pioneer and HBS Professor Elton Mayo.

Mayo, a professor of industrial management at Harvard Business School, working with his protégé, Fritz J. Roethlisberger, led a landmark study of worker behavior at Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T. Unprecedented in scale and scope, the nine-year study, known as the Hawthorne Experiments, took place at the massive Hawthorne Works plant outside of Chicago. Mayo's work generated a mountain of documents, from hourly performance charts to interviews with thousands of employees. Harvard Business School's role in the experiments represented a milestone in the dawn of the human relations movement.

Baker Library's exhaustive archival record of the experiments reveals the art and science of this seminal behavioral study and the questions and theories it generated about the relationship of productivity to the needs and motivations of the industrial worker. The exhibit and accompanying web site feature a range of graphs, charts, interviews, correspondence, photographs, and publications from the library's collection, selected to tell the story of the Hawthorne experiments and to introduce pioneers in the human relations movement associated with this groundbreaking study.

The exhibit, which opened in September, continues through January 17 in the North Lobby of Baker Library at Harvard Business School. For more information, visit the exhibition web site at http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/hawthorne.

 

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