>The Hawthorne Effect and Enterprise Architecture


“The Hawthorne effect—refers to a phenomenon which is thought to occur when people observed during a research study temporarily change their behavior or performance (this can also be referred to as demand characteristics). Others have broadened this definition to mean that people’s behavior and performance change following any new or increased attention. The term gets its name from a factory called the Hawthorne Works, where a series of experiments on factory workers were carried out between 1924 and 1932. There were many types of experiments conducted on the employees, but the purpose of the original ones was to study the effect of lighting on workers’ productivity. Researchers found that productivity almost always increased after a change in illumination, no matter what the level of illumination was. They experimented on other types of changes in the working environment…again, no matter the change in conditions, the women nearly always produced more.” (Adapted from Wikipedia)

If the Hawthorne effect is correct, then User-centric EA may be a performance enhancer for the users and employees, simply by EA making information in the organization transparent and focusing on the users and their requirements. So aside from EA benefiting the organization through better decision-making as a result of information transparency, and enhancing productivity through improved business processes and targeted technology solutions, the Hawthorne effect indicates possible improved organizational performance simply as a result of management paying attention to the users and their needs.

So, the theory is that by simply by shining a light in the dark recesses of the enterprise, users will recognize the additional attention and respond to it with enhanced performance. What a nice additional win for User-centric EA!

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