The possibility of developing, in countries outside the UK, conferences for the study of group relations based on the “Tavistock-Leicester model” is a proposal that has the full support of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
However, the Tavistock Institute has no ambition to run a one-off conference with predominantly imported staff. Rather than do it ourselves, it has always been our policy, particularly in working outside Britain, to collaborate with other institutions so as to help them acquire the competence to run conferences themselves. We have done this, for example, in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and the United States. Typically, we enter into co-sponsorship agreements for the first few conferences with a local institution, which then continues to run them independently. The proportion of expatriate staff declines rapidly during the co-sponsorship phase, as local people are trained for staff roles – initially by coming to the Leicester conference in England, subsequently in the local conferences themselves. As a result there is now a network of conference institutions in the Tavistock tradition in several countries, all of them being autonomous, but maintaining technical standards through interchange of staff. Thus the Tavistock Institute invites individuals on to the staff of our Leicester conferences and people at the Institute get invited to take staff roles in other countries.
If it turns out there is sufficient support to embark on this kind of process in a country, a target date for a first conference would be about 18-24 months after the establishment of the local group relations institution.
For further enquiries, contact Dr Leslie B. Brissett, Director, Group Relations Programme, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.