Elliott Jaques

Dr. Elliott Jaques’ contributions are multi-disciplinary in Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Philosophy and Linguistics in our understanding of the meaning of employment work and in the evaluation and development of individuals engaged in work. His contributions to the social sciences include a method for objectively measuring the complexity of work in roles (time-span of discretion) and an objective understanding of the nature of human potential capability and its maturation throughout life from infancy through old age.

Dr. Jaques, who graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and earned a Ph.D. in Social Relations from Harvard University, first became well known for identifying and coining the term “mid-life crisis” and later for his breakthrough discovery of the time-span of discretion methodology which is used to measure the complexity of work in a role; and for identifying that an individual’s capability to resolve increasingly complex problems matures through life and is predictable, and coincides with the distinctly different levels of work complexity found in employment organizations from the CEO to the shop floor.
During his extensive work with the U.S. Army and corporations and governments around the world, Dr. Jaques developed an objective scientific process for testing and measuring human capability through a validated methodology applied in the context of time- span of discretion as measurement of the level of complexity of work in an organizational role. This breakthrough approach has been used for the selection of generals for the US armed services and managers in some of the world’s largest public organizations, as well as in private businesses, the backbone of the world’s economy. These discoveries are now recognized as two of the most important areas of new knowledge in the social sciences, making Dr. Jaques one of the most referenced and creative social scientists of our time.
Elliott Jaques
Dr. Elliott Jaques Psychoanalyst, 1950s
“What’s most important is that his work be carried forward,” said Kathryn Cason, Dr. Jaques wife and colleague of 30 years. “Elliott and I co-founded the Requisite Organization International Institute (ROII) in the hope that Elliott’s ideas will be discussed, even debated, for many years to come in order to continue to improve upon our understanding of human nature and trustworthy social systems and to create effective working environments capable of achieving organizational goals and providing rich opportunity for the expression of human capability, creativity, and satisfaction in work. This is what Elliott always strived for.”
Dr. Jaques is the author of more than 20 books, including The Life and Behavior of Living Organisms, A General Theory (2002), Social Power and the CEO (2002), Requisite Organization (1988, revised 1996), Human Capability (1994) with Kathryn Cason, and General Theory of Bureaucracy (1976). Dr. Jaques is recognized throughout the world for the discoveries he made in the social sciences, contributing in a significant way to our understanding of human nature and social institutions. His life and work has been a great gift to the world.
Noteworthy awards include the Joint Staff Certificate of Appreciation presented by General Colin Powell on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces for “outstanding contributions in the field of military leadership theory and instruction to all of the service departments of the United States” and the Harry Levinson Award of the Consulting Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association for “a distinguished career and impressive accomplishments”.
elliott jaques
Elliott Jaques and Kathryn Cason, cofounders ROII, 1984

His Life and Times

Born in 1917 in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Jaques graduated with a B.A. Honors Science degree from the University of Toronto at the age of eighteen in 1935, an M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School at age twenty-three in 1939, and a Ph.D. in Social Relations from Harvard University. He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry and was a Visiting Professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and Honorary Professor of the University of Buenos Aires.
Jaques served as a Major in the Canadian Army Medical Corps during WWII using his education and training with Harry Murray of Harvard University to establish the Canadian War Office Selection Boards. He acted as liaison to the British Army War Office Psychiatry Division, whose members developed their War Office Selection Boards.
He remained in England after the war where he was qualified under the renowned psychoanalyst Melanie Klein, and became a founding member of the Tavistock Institute, later moving away from the group-dynamics model toward a rigorous science-based model of human maturation and development. In 1964 he created the School of Social Sciences at the new Brunel University in London, where he served as Professor and Head of School until the mid-1980s. Jaques created chaired departments in psychology, sociology, social anthropology, economics, social policy and law.
He was engaged in consultancy research from 1949 until his death in 2003, devoting over 50 years to the development and testing of a comprehensive scientific analysis of trust-based social systems. This work has been carried out through projects in industry and commerce, in government and policing organizations, and in social, educational and health services including the Church of England and the United States Army.
elliott jaques
Jaques, WWII, 1945
The seeds of his science-based managerial leadership system, Requisite Organization, were germinated in 1952 as he pursued dual interests in psychoanalysis and social analysis. Working as a psychoanalyst by morning and as a social scientist in the afternoon, Jaques applied himself to the social analysis of industrial organizations, first at the Glacier Metal Company Limited in London, working with the managing director of Glacier Metal, Wilfred Brown. It is here that Jaques discovered that the group analysis approach, when applied in an employment system, was inherently flawed.
The findings from this research, which became Jaques’ Stratified Systems Theory, produced sweeping changes in approach to organizational development work which were successfully employed by Rod Carnegie at CRA (Australia), where Jaques continuously expanded the concepts and principles derived from this research consultancy project, ultimately leading to his development of a total managerial leadership system, Requisite Organization, based on scientifically validated new knowledge about human nature at work.
Jaques, 1960s

His Published Work

Dr. Elliott Jaques published works are available from Cason Hall & Co. Publishers, which is devoted specifically to ensuring continuing and on-going access to this body of work and supporting research and practice throughout the world. Visit our Library to learn more about research papers, white papers, books and audio.
elliott jaques
Jaques with curves, 1992

Library & BOOK STORE

The Requisite Organization International Institute, in association with Cason Hall & Co. Publishers, makes the wide range of work during Dr. Elliott Jaques’ career available through the Cason Hall & Co.

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