T. North Whitehead, a former Harvard professor who pioneered in the study of human relations in industry, died Saturday in Cambridge at the age of 77. He had been ill with pneumonia.
Whitehead, the son of English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, came to Harvard in 1931 to join a human relations study-group at the Business School. This group was one of the first to investigate human relations in the actual work situations of factories and offices.
When World War II broke out. Whitehead went back to England to serve as an adviser on United States affairs in the Foreign Office.
Whitehead returned to the United States in 1944 to organize a graduate program in personnel administration at Radcliffe for women seeking business careers. He continued to head this program until 1955, when the Business School began admitting women. He then served as associate professor in the Business School until he retired from Harvard in 1963.
Whitehead, who became a U.S. citizen in 1952, grew up in Cambridge, England. He earned a degree in Economics from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and did graduate work in mechanical engineering. However, he chose to work in the field of human relations. He said he changed fields because there was a lack of concern for people in economics and mechanical enginering.
"It is plain that no one really sees how to organize great industrial societies so as to satisfy the longing for such values as freedom, security, adventure and movement," Whitehead wrote. He spent his life trying to discover how to achieve such an organization of society.
While researching and teaching at Harvard. Whitehead wrote three major works: The Designs and Use of Instruments and Accurate Mechanisms, Leadership in a Free Society, and The Industrial Worker.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Church of the New Jerusalem.