Monday, August 11, 2014

God and Hawthorne Effect

I was reading about Hawthorne Effect - a psychological experiment done about 65 years back. Though there is a lot of debate about the validity of the study and skew in the study, it is an interesting study. One point that struck me was about the effect of perceived attention on the productivity.

Is there a God has been one of the questions I was trying to find an answer for quite long. Corollary is, if God doesn’t exist why would the civilizations come up with such a concept. Almost all civilizations have this concept though the depiction of characteristics of God varied around the culture prevalent in the respective civilizations.  But one thing is common across all depictions of God… that He is omnipresent and He observes everyone and everything! This is the point that strikes a chord with Hawthorne effect!

There can be real attention given to the employees or it could just be a perceived attention. Either way, it has an impact on the way they behaved! Even if God does not exist, even if it is only a perception, the concept can have the same impact on behaviors of people. When you are conscious that someone is observing you all the time, lets say there is someone sitting next to you , the way you behave changes. (It is the same aspect all the call centers capitalize on! When you call them, you would hear them say that the call will be recorded for quality control reasons etc… that is for you to behave properly with their staff J ). If the observer is someone who you respect, care for then the behavior is at its finest form.  After all, all civilizations wanted fine behaviors from everyone. That explains why all of them have a concept of God!!! Of course, definition of fine behavior varies from culture to culture and person to person too.

Hawthorne effect also talks about dip in productivity after a certain period of introducing a change to create the perceived attention. That is why probably there is cadence set in many religions to reiterate the concept ! Corollary is answered! But the main question is still open because  real attention and perceived attention can create the same effect. Is there God? I am still searching… 

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