Nevitt Sanford (1909-1996), a leading thinker of the 20th century, was a pioneer in the integration of social issues and clinical psychology.
His response to the rise of Nazism was to develop a scientific method to study hatred and prejudice, resulting in the foundational book, The Authoritarian Personality, and then followed by Self & Society, and Sanctions for Evil. In 1950, he relinquished his professorship at UC, Berkeley when he refused the sign the loyalty oath. He founded the Wright Institute in 1968 to train people to change cultures by influencing the interactions between social systems and personality.
Dr. Sanford envisioned organizations that allowed people to be productive, respected and adult. He believed that with courageous leadership, organizations had the capacity to bring out the best in human beings while also being highly productive. Values, theory and action were united.
Dr. Sanford was Dr. Hartshorn's intellectual mentor (and chairman of her dissertation). To honor his contribution to cultural change in organizations, Dr. Hartshorn co-founded and helped run (with the principals of Simple Idea) the Nevitt Sanford Symposium, an invitation-only, hands-on practicum for corporate leaders held in 1995, 1996, and 1998. It combined action with theory in a small group environment.
“There is nothing more practical than a good theory.”
– Kurt Lewin
Working Hypothesis of the Symposium:
- People are more developed than the cultures in which they work.
- Future-oriented companies must help their managers shift from a command-and-control stance to a relate-and-respond stance.
- The future of the free-market system rides on its ability to adapt to a new world context.
- Only profit-making corporations have the leverage to take a leadership role in improving the human face of capitalism.