Professor John Thompson

Professor of Social Entrepreneurship

Faculty:Lord Ashcroft International Business School

Department:Leadership and Management Staff

Location: Chelmsford

John Thompson is Professor of Social Entrepreneurship (part-time) at Anglia Ruskin and also Emeritus Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield, where he spent most of his academic life. 

Untitled Page


John is an active researcher, author and case writer. He is a Board Member of The Case Centre (which was formerly the European Case Clearing House) where he also acts as a workshop tutor. He has had visiting links with Universities in Australia, Finland and New Zealand.

He has written over a dozen management texts on both entrepreneurship and strategy. An eighth edition of his strategic management textbook has been written during 2015 – his new book with Dr Bill Bolton on entrepreneurs and leaders was published by Routledge in 2015. In 2009 John received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Research interests

John’s current research activities are focused in the areas of:

  • Social enterprise and charity strategy, in particular
  • Mergers and collaboration in the Third Sector
  • Third Sector leadership
  • Entrepreneurship education

In recent years his main interest has been identifying people with the potential to be entrepreneurs – work he has published with co-researcher and author, Dr Bill Bolton. This work has been extended and written up as a book on entrepreneurs and leaders.

He is also a scholar in social entrepreneurship, entrepreneur enabling and entrepreneurship enabling. It is his work on social entrepreneurship that has been cited most extensively. 

Areas of research supervision

John has supervised and examined PhD and DBA theses in areas of direct relevance to his research and continues to do so.


John supports the Certificate and Degree programmes on social enterprise and charity management and leadership offered by Third Sector Futures in the Business School.


  • PhD – University of Huddersfield
  • MBA – Cranfield School of Management
  • BA (Hons) – Coventry University

Memberships, editorial boards

John's main editorial contribution is currently with the Social Enterprise Journal, but he reviews for various UK and US journals.

Selected recent publications

Selected recent publications:


The Entirepreneur: The All-in-One Entrepreneur-Leader-Manager (with Bill Bolton), Routledge, 2015

Entrepreneurs: Talent, Temperament, Opportunity (with Bill Bolton). Third edition, Routledge 2013. Earlier editions 2004, 2000.

Enabling Entrepreneurs – Maximising Effectiveness in Advising, Coaching, Mentoring and Incubating New Businesses. University of Huddersfield/UK Business Incubation, 2006.

The Entrepreneur in Focus – Achieve Your Potential (with Bill Bolton). Thomson Learning, 2003

Strategic Management

Strategic Management: Awareness and Change. Seventh edition 2014, Earlier editions: 2010, 2005, 2001, 1997, 1993, 1990. Thomson Learning/Cengage, Editions 1-4, sole author; 5 & 6 with Frank Martin; 7 with Jonathan Scott and Frank Martin

Book chapters:

Innovation, change and the intrapreneurial mindset (with Jarna Heinonen and Jonathan Scott) In Short, T. and Harris, R. (Eds) (2014) Workforce Development: Strategies and Practices, Springer Australia, pp. 263-277.

Social Enterprise or Social Entrepreneurship – Which Matters and Why? (with Jonathan Scott) In: Denny, S and Seddon, F (2013) Social Enterprise: Accountability and Evaluation Around the World, Routledge.

Issues in Measuring the Performance of Social Enterprises (with Jonathan Scott) In: Lyons, T. (2012) Social Entrepreneurship, Praeger/ABC-Clio.

New Zealand Perspectives of International Entrepreneurship (with Howard Frederick and Peter Mellalieu)  In:  Dana, LP (2004) Handbook of Research on International Entrepreneurship, Edward Elgar

Refereed Papers:

The Social and Economic Impact of Improving a Town Centre – the case of Rotherham (with Martyn Benson and Peter McDonagh) Local Economy, Vol.30 (2) 2015

A Holistic Social Constructionist Perspective to Enterprise Education (with Deema Refai and Rita Klapper)  International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research .  21 (3) 2015

Utilising Enterprise Education to Prepare Healthcare Professional Graduates for the Real-World (with Deema Refai)  Industry and Higher Education Special issue: Enterprise Education and Entrepreneurial Learning, Special Edition, 2015

Enterprise Policy, Delivery, Practice and Research: Largely Rhetoric or Under-valued Achievement? (with Scott, J. and Downing, R.) International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol.25 Number 5, 2012

Incredible Edible: Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship in the Era of the Big Society, Social Enterprise Journal, Volume 8, Number 3, 2012

Reflections on Social Enterprise and the Big Society, Social Entrepreneurship Journal, Vol 7  Number 3 2011

Entrepreneurship Enablers – Their Unsung and Unquantified Role in Competitiveness and Regeneration, Local Economy, Vol 25 Number 1 2010

Assessment Practice in Enterprise Education (with Pittaway, L., Hannon, P. and  Gibb, A.), International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, Vol 15 No 1 2009.

Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurship – where have we reached? A summary of issues and discussion points, Social Enterprise Journal, Vol 4 No 2 2008 

The Entrepreneur Enabler – Identifying and Supporting Those With Potential (with Downing, R.) , Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol 14 No 3 2007

The Diverse World of Social Enterprise – A Collection of Social Enterprise Stories (with Doherty, B.) International Journal of Social Economics, Vol 33, No 5/6, 2006.

Innovation Through People, Management Decision, Vol 42, No 9, 2004.

The FACETS of the Entrepreneur – Identifying Entrepreneurial Potential, Management Decision, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2004.

The World of the Social Entrepreneur, The International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 15, No 5, 2002. Recipient of Emerald ‘Highly Commended’ Award for 2002.

Social Entrepreneurship – A New Look at the People and the Potential (with Alvy, G. and Lees, A.), Management Decision, Vol. 38, No. 6, 2000.

A Strategic Perspective of Entrepreneurship, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, Vol. 15, No. 6, 1999.

Recent presentations and conferences

Currently John’s main conference attendances are ISBE and USASBE, but in the past he has presented regularly at ICSB, NBIA and UKBI Conferences.

During 2015 he was a Plenary Speaker at two UK conferences: Prometheus (Manchester Business School, and for Third Sector leaders) and ISIRC (International Social Innovation Research Conference, York). He also presented two papers at USASBE (Tampa, January); one of these is being rewritten as a book chapter for 2016 publication. His joint paper with Jonathan Scott and Andy Penaluna won ‘Best Paper’ in Entrepreneurship Education at the ISBE 2015 Conference.