To focus on that one finding, some have argued , is to ignore a wider set of studies that would become credited for the development of organizational behavior as a field of study and the human resources profession as we now know it. The idea of looking scientifically at behavior and productivity in the workplace with the goal of increasing the amount and quality of work an employee can get done, along with the idea that workers were not interchangeable resources but were instead unique in terms of their psychology and potential fit with a company. These ideas were radically new when Hawthorne first began the studies, and they helped create a field of study and an entire professional field.
This paper represents an abridged version of a longer technical report of the same name. Additional information concerning the measures reported and the analyses performed are discussed in this report and can be obtained from the senior author. Support for the preparation of this manuscript and for many of the studies reported herein was provided by the Office of Naval Research, Contracts N00014-69-A-0200-9001, NR 151-315 and N00014-76-C-0164, NR 170-812. A number of individuals have been involved in the development of the OCQ and in subsequent studies using the instrument for which data were made available.
With this set of moves we can see how Chris Argyris and Donald Schön connect up the individual world of the worker and practitioner with the world of organization. Their focus is much more strongly on individual and group interactions and defenses than upon systems and structures (we could contrast their position with that of Peter Senge 1990, for example). By looking at the way that people jointly construct maps it is then possible to talk about organizational learning (involving the detection and correction of error) and organizational theory-in-use. For organizational learning to occur, ‘learning agents’, discoveries, inventions, and evaluations must be embedded in organizational memory’ (Argyris and Schön 1978: 19). If it is not encoded in the images that individuals have, and the maps they construct with others, then ‘the individual will have learned but the organization will not have done so’ ( op. cit. ).