Elton Mayo (1880-1949)
• Psychologist, sociologist
and organisation theorist
• Conducted research into
worker productivity at the
Hawthorne Plant, Western
Electric Company, USA in
the 1930s
Elton Mayo (1880-1949)
• He discovered that ANY change in lighting
conditions increased productivity.
• He developed the theory that the increase
in productivity occurred because workers
were motivated by being involved in an
experiment, ie. they felt special
Elton Mayo (1880-1949)
• His theory became known as the
‘Hawthorne effect’, summarised as:
Motivation is improved by
 showing interest in others
 involving others in decision making
 ensuring the wellbeing of others
 ensuring work is interesting and nonrepetitive
 greater communication
 good teamwork
Mayo’s theory has been applied by major
businesses including Tesco. The following
is from a Tesco presentation:
Tesco approach to motivation
Values employees
Supports work/life balance
Provides realistic but challenging
Creates interesting work
Competitive salaries
Flexible working
Offers lifestyle rewards
Discount gym membership
Health benefits
Staff discount
RIP Elton Mayo

Elton Mayo (1880