One way of conceptualizing the relationship of individuals, through their roles, to their various groupings (such as families, communities, and business and industrial enterprises) is to consider their political relatedness. This includes an exploration of organizational structures, management, and issues of responsibility, leadership, and authority. Beyond this, the Tavistock open systems approach has always held that unconscious social processes are of central importance in such explorations. The methodology of the approach, therefore, is one that encourages people to consider the unconscious in relation to the political dimensions of institutions, This involves people in examine a range of boundaries, such as those between the inner and outer worlds of the individual, between person and role, and between enterprise and environment. Also involved are less obvious boundaries - or limits, or distinctions - such as those between certainty and uncertainty, order and chaos, innovation and destructiveness, reality and fantasy, and relationship and relatedness.
Gordon Lawrence was a managing partner of Social Dreaming Ltd, London, and a visiting professor at the University of Northumberland, Newcastle, the New Bulgarian University, Sofia, and at La Sapienza, the University of Rome. Formerly, he held a visiting professorship at Cranfield University, Bedford. He was on the editorial board of Free Associations (UK), Freie Assoziation (Germany) and Organizational and Social Dynamics (UK). He was a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Socio-Analysis and a Distinguished Member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations.