John Seddon is an occupational psychologist, researcher, professor, management thinker and global authority on change, specialising in the service industry. He is the managing director of Vanguard, a consultancy company he formed in 1985.

John draws on the work of W. Edwards Deming and Taiichi Ohno. He is critical of target-based management, and of basing decisions on economies of scale, rather than ‘economies of flow.’

Vanguard Consulting helps service organisations change from a conventional command-and-control design to a systems design, using The Vanguard Method. Vanguard now has franchisees in Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia and The Netherlands.

Reinventing Leadership

John Seddon is a British occupational psychologist and author, specialising in the service industry. He is the managing director of Vanguard, a consultancy company he formed in 1985 and the inventor of ‘The Vanguard Method‘. Seddon has been a Visiting Professor at Hull University Business School since August 2011.

John Seddon is an occupational psychologist, researcher, professor, management thinker and leading global authority on change, specialising in the service industry. His prominence grew following attacks on current British management thinking including: the belief in economies of scale, quality standards such as ISO9000 [1] and much of public sector reform including ‘deliverology’, the use of targets, inspection and centralised control of local services. The Daily Telegraph described him as a “reluctant management guru”, with a background in occupational psychology.[2]

He is critical of target-based management, and of basing decisions on economies of scale, rather than “economies of flow”.[3]

John Seddon has published six books. In his 2008 book, Systems Thinking in the Public Sector, he provided a criticism of the UK Government reform programme and advocated its replacement by systems thinking.[4] His book The Whitehall Effect was published on the 5th of November 2014.[5]

Seddon won the first Management Innovation Prize for ‘Reinventing Leadership’ in October 2010.

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