Tavistock Institute for Human Behavior

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The Tavistock Institute was founded in London in 1946 with the aid of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. [1] It is a not-for-profit think tank, policy and consulting organization. It publishes "Human Relations and host Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, a scholarly journal. According to their website, they assist organizations:

"Through innovation and change, working with the technical and emotional challenges involved. (They) have consistently been at the cutting edge of participative and action research approaches and applied them, for example, to ground-breaking organisation and evaluation support. (They) integrate different approaches from the social sciences to give our clients a deep understanding of their issues and potential ways forward. (They) bring assumptions to the surface and work with the unpredictable, including what is hidden, and sometimes, unconscious." [2]

Early History

In 1941 a group of psychiatrists from the Tavistock Clinic secured means from British Parliament to try new measures. They were later asked to join the Directorate of Army Psychiatry. After World War I, there was a growing recognition that neurosis was not just war related, but endemic and pervasive in a modern society. In response the Tavistock Clinic had been founded in 1920, as a voluntary outpatient clinic. Many of the founders were doctors who had been concerned with neurosis in World War I. They included general physicians, neurologists, psychiatrists and one or two physicians also trained in psychology and anthropology. They linked social sciences, general medicine and psychiatry. [3] The group also developed a number of "radical innovations in social psychiatry and applied social science".

The second group became known as the 'Tavistock Group', because core members had also been members of the pre-war Tavistock Clinic. Only some of members continued their involvement with the post-war organization. Those who did, "built on the war-time achievements to introduce a number of far-reaching developments in several fields. This style of research related theory and practice in a new mode". This is also referred to as "The Social Engagement of Social Science".[4]


Clients include international agencies, the European Union, local and central government within the United Kingdom, regional agencies, health local authorities, charities and small family firms. The work with organizations, groups and individuals while "always retaining a focus on system-wide issues and dynamics". They are known for "helping organisations adapt to environmental changes and new technology, with a focus on organizational issues and relationships, leadership, emergence of knowledege, cultural differences and diversity and public policy. [5]


Tavistock describes itself as "a registered charity and a not-for-profit organisation" whose income "comes from research grants and contracts for research projects, consultancy, training and publishing;" plus its "own resources." [6]

A number of Tavistock educational initiatives are validated by the University of East London. [7]

Personnel & council members

Researchers & consultants

Council members

See also: Tavistock Institute for Human Behavior: Former People


The Tavistock Institute
30 Tabernacle Street
London EC2A 4UE

Email: central.admin@tavinstitute.org

Tel: +44(0)20 7417 0407

Fax: +44(0)20 7417 0566

Web address: http://www.tavinstitute.org/

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. Eric Trist The Social Engagement of Social Science, A Tavistock Anthology, February 1989
  2. About Us, Tavistock Institute, 2007
  3. Eric Trist, Hugh Murray A Social Engagement of Social Science: Historical Review, Tavistock Anthology, February 1989
  4. Eric Trist The Social Engagement of Social Science, A Tavistock Anthology, February 1989
  5. Our Clients, Tavistock Institute, 2007
  6. Tavistock Institute for Human Behavior, Spin Profiles, accessed October 2007
  7. Quality Audit Report, University of East London, July 2000
  8. Researchers and Consultants, Tavistock Institute, accessed August 19, 2007.
  9. Council Members, Tavistock Institute, accessed August 19, 2007.

External articles

External resources