John Thompson

John Thompson
John Thompson

John was employed as a senior research officer at the National Institute for Personnel Research and at the Human Resources Laboratory of the Chamber of Mines. He was the training manager at Nampak, the human resources manager at Dow Chemical Africa and spent 17 years in financial services in a variety of HR and HR Development roles at Standard Bank. He was instrumental in setting up the Action Learning (AL) process for Executive Development at the Standard Bank. John took delegates on these programmes to major centres which included Sao Paulo, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Prague, Mumbai, Malaysia, Singapore and Madrid to benchmark best practice in financial services. He presented on the outcomes of the programmes at three Global Forums on Action Learning. The presentations were made in Johannesburg (2002), Amsterdam (2003) and Munich (2004). He attended the Global Forum again in 2007 in Dublin.


​John is a member of the Professional Associate Faculty at GIBS. He provides Action Learning Coaching on a variety of customised programmes and current GIBS clients he is working with are Nampak, ABSA Fin., Services and Standard Bank. He has worked with a variety of clients for GIBS over the last 8 years including Anglo American, Impala Platinum, SuperSport, SABMiller, Nedbank, Lafarge Cement, T-Systems and other prominent blue chip companies. He also does Personal Development Plan (PDP) coaching for GIBS clients based on the Discovery Insights Assessment instrument, the Thornhill 360° Leadership Survey instrument and various other psychometric evaluations related to personal development.

Published Research

​He has presented papers on his research work at the National Institute for Personnel Research (NIPR) which was part of the CSIR and on research in the mining industry at the Human Resources Laboratory of the Chamber of Mines. He wrote and presented a paper at the International Cross-Cultural Association conference in Aberdeen in 1982 which was subsequently published in the book of the proceedings of that conference.

The measurement of modernisation among South African Blacks: A pilot study. J C Thompson. NIPR, CSIR, Pers., 273. December, 1977.

The measurement of modernisation amongst South African Blacks: A second study. J C Thompson. NIPR, CSIR, Pers., 302, January, 1980.

Alleviating organisational and individual stress. Paper presented to MBA class, Wits Bus. School, February, 1980.

An investigation of factors related to the employment of urban blacks resident in Tembisa. J C Thompson and G Godsell. NIPR, CSIR, C/Pers., May, 1981.

Occupational mobility amongst employees in the South African mining industry: A literature review. J C Thompson. Human Resources Laboratory, Chamber of Mines of SA. HRL 38/82, July, 1982.

The assessment of modernity amongst black workers on the Witwatersrand. Published conference proceedings of the 6th International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Aberdeen, Scotland. July, 1982.

Papers presented to 2 Congresses of the National Psychology Association of South Africa. 1978 and 1981. Papers on the Standard Bank and GIBS WINGS and CHALLENGE Action Learning programmes presented to three global forums on Business Driven Action Learning. Johannesburg, 2002. Amsterdam, 2003. Munich, 2004​

Published and Speaking

Consulting Involvement

Works with the one of the Carton and Label Division plants (Nampak Gravure) driving a management development process which includes competency mapping and use of the Leadership Practices Inventory to assess manager/leadership capacity. This is combined with Action Learning Projects to develop leaders and to deliver an ROI for the company. Has done work for SABMiller locally in the Marketing Division where action learning visits were used in SA to develop more accurate views of local market conditions. Vodacom used him to conduct an action learning process in collaboration with The Immersion Lab, a Toronto based company which involved a week visiting a variety of telecom and IT companies based in Mumbai.

Significant Achievements

Publications, attendance and the presentation of papers at local and international Psychological Conferences and at the Global Forum on Business Driven Action Learning in Johannesburg (hosted by GIBS and sponsored by Standard Bank), Amsterdam and Munich. He attended the Melbourne and Dublin Global Forums with colleagues from Standard Bank and GIBS.

Contact Details
  • Honours degree in social anthropology
  • Master’s degree in social anthropology (co-supervised by a Prof., in the psychology faculty at UJ)
  • Wits Business School Executive Development Programme (EDP)
  • GIMT/Standard Bank Advanced Management Programme (AMP)
Fields of Interest

He is an Action Learning Coach and works with teams of delegates who work on projects as part of leadership development programmes at GIBS. He is certified as an Action Learning Coach by the World Institute for Action Learning (WIAL).

John also has extensive experience in personal development coaching both one-on-one and in groups based on various instruments (Discovery Insights, Thornhill 360, Belbin Team Role profile and the Leadership Practices Inventory).

Professional Memberships

He is a registered Action Learning Coach with the World Institute for Action Learning, which is based in Washington and provided training two years ago at GIBS.

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