The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) germinated as an idea in the period immediately after World War 2. It came into being in 1946.

JR Rees suggested that the TIHR should be created as a separate department but as the Clinic prepared to join the NHS it became clear that it needed to become a separate organisation to be able to carry on work that was outside of the remit that the Clinic would have in the NHS. Another factor was that it needed to be able to remain outside the NHS to receive a substantial Rockefeller grant that was on the table.

On 20 September 1947 the TIHR was officially incorporated. The founders included: Wilfred Bion, Leonard Browne, Henry Dicks, Ronald Hargreaves, Elliott Jaques, Mary Luff, John Rawlings Rees and Tommy Wilson

In the TIHR’s early work they brought together staff from different disciplines to find ways to apply psychoanalytic and open systems concepts to group and organisational life.

Action research was from the outset a key element in the way the TIHR worked. Through early collaboration with commerce and industry, they developed new participative approaches to organisation change and development.

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