Trist, Eric Lansdown, 1909-1993

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Trist, Eric Lansdown, 1909-1993

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Dates of existence

1909-1993

History

Eric Lansdown Trist (September 11, 1909 – June 4, 1993) was an influential British theorist in the fields of psychology and organizational development. Trist was born to a British Naval Officer and Scottish mother in Dover, England, where he spent his early life. After completing his primary school education at the Dover County School in 1928, Trist read English Literature and Psychology at the University of Cambridge. While there, he studied under psychologist Sir Frederick Bartlett and influential British literary critics, F.R. Leavis and I.A. Richards, and was heavily influenced by the ideas of Kurt Lewin, whom he later met on more than one occasion. Trist graduated from Cambridge in 1933, whereupon he became the Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Social Psychology and Anthropology at Yale University until 1935. From 1935-1940, Trist was a member of the department of Psychology at the University of St. Andrew's, Scotland. During the war, he worked as a psychologist and researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry at Mill Hill Emergency Hospital, University of London, and as a senior psychologist with the War Office Selection Board. This led to a post-war position advising the British Army's Civil Resettlement Scheme for British repatriated prisoners of war. For this work, Trist was designated an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE).

In 1946, Trist helped launch the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, a British charity dedicated to research in organizational and group behaviour. He acted as the Institute's Deputy-Chair until 1958 and as Chair from 1958 to 1966. From 1960 to 1961, Trist was a Ford Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In 1966, he became professor of organizational behaviour and social ecology at the University of California Los Angeles, a post he held until 1969. At this time, he joined the faculty at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as professor of organizational behaviour and social ecology, a position from which he retired to Emeritus status in 1978. Following this, Trist became a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, again teaching organizational development and social ecology. In 1979, Trist was named a Fellow of the International Academy of Management. In 1983, he was awarded an honourary LLD from York University. He retired from academia in 1985.

During his career, Trist authored and co-authored numerous works in the social sciences, including Organizational Choice: Capabilities of Groups at the Coal Face Under Changing Technologies (Tavistock, 1963) and Towards a Social Ecology (with Fred Emery, Plenum Press, 1973). He was co-editor (with Hugh Murray) of The Social Engagement of Social Science: A Tavistock Anthology (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990).

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Related entity

Leavis, F.R., 1895-1978 (14 July 1895 – 14 April 1978)

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associative

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Leavis was Trist's professor at the University of Cambridge.

Related entity

Skinner, B.F., 1904-1990 (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990)

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Category of the relationship

associative

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Trist met with B.F. Skinner while the former was a Fellow at Yale University.

Related entity

Richards, I.A., 1983-1979 (1893-1979)

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associative

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

I.A. Richards taught Eric Trist at the University of Cambridge.

Related entity

Lewin, Kurt, 1890-1947 (1890-1947)

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associative

Dates of the relationship

Description of relationship

Trist was heavily influenced by the ideas of Kurt Lewin. The two met on several occasions.

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Final

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

09/03/2016 C. Falls (Creation)

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Sources

http://viaf.org/viaf/104106686
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Trist

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