Elton Mayo, muilezels en de ontdekking van de sociale ruimte | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0921-5077
  • E-ISSN: 1875-7235


Elton Mayo, mules and the discovery of 'social space'

Elton Mayo, mules and the discovery of 'social space'

L.A. ten Horn, Gedrag & Organisatie, volume 22, March 2009, nr. 1, pp. 41-49

The Human Relations movement has fundamentally altered the way we look at the relationship between work and the individual. This shift is traced using publications by Elton Mayo. Over a period of more than twenty years he reported several times on the same research project done in the spinning department of a textile mill in 1923/1924. Both his description and his interpretation changed dramatically between publications from 1924 to 1945. The changes were caused by and ran parallel to the Hawthorne studies in which he was deeply involved. The comparison of publications illustrates how fundamental and incisive this change in thinking was and how difficult it was to make the mental shift necessary. In addition, it questions the extent to which the development of knowledge over time is the result of strict rationality.


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