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John Graves Burgoyne

School 1958-63

John (born 7 December 1944) was one of a small band of School House boys who were the despair of Ken Naylor, our long-suffering housemaster, who made heroic efforts to corral us into joining things, doing more sports and participating more widely in school affairs. We were all irritatingly resistant to this but John was quietly the arch-individualist of the 1958 School House intake. He was much happier taking his canoe on to the Cam than playing any team sports.

But Ken Naylor need not have worried – at least about John. Without setting foot on a playing field, he became BSc (Psychology, UCL), MPhil (Occupational Psychology, Birkbeck, and later Research Assistant), PhD (Business Administration, and later Lecturer, Manchester Business School), Research Director and later Senior Lecturer in Management Studies at Lancaster University, and beyond that  Professor of Management Learning and later Professor Emeritus.

Alongside this, for 10 years John was Adjunct Professor in Continuing Education, University of Calgary, Canada. For two years he was Visiting Professor of Organisational Behaviour at the London Business School. He was seconded for two years as Policy Research Consultant to the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership (a DfEE and DTI sponsored review of management and leadership development), and spent seven years (2002-9) as part-time Professor of Management Learning, Henley Business School – not to omit being a Fellow of the Leadership Trust and Fellow of the British Academy of Management (from 1995). If that were not enough, he worked in many countries including China, Australia and Finland as well as Canada.

John was at the absolute forefront of the ever-changing principles of management and education. The titles alone of his lectures, monographs and publications (some in collaboration with others) run to many pages; the list of students whose PhDs he supervised reads like a Who’s Who of the management world; his book “A Manager’s Guide to Self-Development” (co-written with two others) is in its sixth edition; and when a friend posted the notice of John’s death on Linkedin, within six days it received 2700 views with tributes from all over the world. One wrote, “He steered me through my doctorate offering little nuggets of seemingly left-field advice that often turned out to be boulders of wisdom.”

In retirement (not that he ever properly retired) John lived with his wife Trudi on a 7-acre property fronting on to Lake Windermere where, along with playing with boats, he started re-learning the flute. The small band of School House recalcitrants kept in touch over the 60 or so years and still meet in London at least once a year … but our collective brain power is now sadly diminished.

Words by John’s School House friends Roger Thomas (1958-63), Ken Organ (1958-62), Angus Whimster (1958-63) and Sam Whimster (1960-65)