World War II brought together a group of psychiatrists and clinical and social psychologists in the British Army who developed a number of radical, action-oriented organizational innovations in social psychiatry. They became known as the "Tavistock Group," since the core members had been at the pre-war Tavistock Clinic. At the post-war Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, they developed a pioneering mode of relating theory and practice, called in these volumes "The Social Engagement of Social Science." Previous volumes presented two of three interdependent perspectives: the socio-psychological (Volume I, 1990) and the socio-technical (Volume II, 1993). The latest volume, on the socio-ecological perspective, completes the set.
The socio-ecological perspective is concerned with the coevolution of systems and their environments. It considers the broader environment which shapes not only the task environments of socio-technical organizations but the institutional and cultural environment that confronts the individual.
Volume III focuses on nonhierarchical forms of organization facilitating inter-organizational relations in complex and rapidly changing environments. This perspective provides a guide to institution building for the future.
Eric Trist, Professor Emeritus of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, was a founding member of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London, and became internationally known as the "Father" of socio-technical systems in the further development of which his Australian colleague, Fred Emery, has taken the leading role. In the late 1960s he partnered Russell Ackoff in building the Social Systems Sciences Department then at the Wharton School. He is the principal author of Organizational Choice: Capabilities of Groups at the Coal Face Under Changing Technologies.
Fred Emery is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He was formerly Chairman, Human Resources Centre, Tavistock Institute.
Hugh Murray is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a senior staff member at the Tavistock Institute. He began working with Trist during World War II and is a co-author of Organizational Choice.
Beulah Trist was on the administrative staff of the Tavistock Institute from 1942 to 1959.