The relationship between the Hawthorne effect and Kanban STATIK.

STATIK (Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban) approach is one of the most important points of the Kanban Method. For a successful organizational change, it is important to understand the current situation well. In other words, an accurate diagnosis brings success. In this blog, I will try to explain the sociological dimensions of the internal and external dissatisfaction which are examined in step 2 of the STATIK approach as much as I can. Let us briefly recall the steps of the STATIK approach.

  • Step 1: Understand what makes the service fit for purpose for the customer
  • Step 2: Understand sources of dissatisfaction with the current system
  • Step 3: Analyze demand
  • Step 4: Analyze capability
  • Step 5: Model workflow
  • Step 6: Discover classes of service
  • Step 7: Design the kanban system
  • Step 8: Socialize the design and negotiate the implementation

Change is not just a mechanical process. Design a Kanban board, limit work, and have a Kanban meeting every morning and I’m agile! No !!! Let’s look a little deeper.

STATIK — (Systems Thinking Approach to Introducing Kanban)

Our story begins in the 1920s. Researchers begin experimenting at the Western Electric plant in Hawthorne, Chicago to measure the impact of working conditions on employees. The first experiment is quite simple. Researchers decided to improve the lighting of the work environment. The factory environment is further illuminated. The result is as expected, the productivity of employees has increased. Based on this result, researchers make several improvements within the factory. The result is as expected, the productivity of the employees has increased further.

Researchers rollback all the improvements they have made this time. Inadequate lighting and other poor conditions are restored. The researcher’s expectation is that employee’s productivity will decrease at the same rate. But not like that. The motivation and productivity of employees increased.

Researchers accidentally discovered a sociological fact. It is not lighting or other environmental improvements that increase employee motivation. The main factor that increases the motivation and productivity of the employees is the attention of top management. The approach of the top management to the employees has emerged as the most important factor determining the performance within the organization.


The question which is asked in step 2 of the STATIK approach has the potential to bring about the Hawthorne effect and to maximize employee motivation and performance: What are the internal dissatisfaction points in the current situation? What are the external dissatisfaction points in the current situation? Let’s go with an example scenario; Let’s say we have a software development company and we asked our employees those questions. Here are the sample answers:

We have to find the point of causes before digging (5 whys) into root causes. Expressing these problems at step 2 in the STATIK process has a great motivational (Hawthorne) effect on the employees.

Originally published at on October 17, 2019.

Business Agility lover, TDD guy, clean coder, non-stop learner.