The Modern Day Hawthorne Effect

Matt Mosley at ESPN:

For now, Jones truly believes the opening of Cowboys Stadium will serve as a motivating force for his team in ‘09. He’s done everything except name the stadium a team captain, but I think that’s probably coming Sunday night.

“I think our team will play to the level of the new stadium,” Jones said at the beginning of training camp. “We’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking about playing for the Cowboys, what it means, the visibility of the team, the interest in the team. We’re the most-watched team there is in the NFL; we’re the most-watched programming in all of television … the Dallas Cowboys. That’s fact.”

I’ve never heard of a new building leading a franchise to a Super Bowl, but Jones is convinced something like that can happen.

Silly, right?  But then this from the Columbus Dispatch about a new hospital:

“It has to be uplifting and convey hope for the people coming here for treatment and for our staff.”

It’s believable.  But the crux of the Hawthorne Effect is that it results in short-term productivity improvement and recent research questions the totality of its impact.

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