Professor Jonathan Gosling
Emeritus Professor of Leadership Studies


Trained as an anthropologist, Professor Jonathan Gosling worked for several years as a mediator in neighbourhood conflicts in London, founded the UK‘s first community mediation service and was the founding Secretary of the European Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. After taking a mid-career MBA, he moved into management education at Lancaster University, where he directed the MBA and other programmes for British Airways and other major companies. He co-founded, with Henry Mintzberg and three other malcontents, a new approach to management education, the International Masters in Practising Management. This takes place in six countries around the world, and has been the springboard for several subsequent innovations in helping practising mangers to improve the way they manage. Professor Gosling also played a significant role in the so-called ‘critical management‘ movement, launching an influential MPhil and PhD and contributing to the development of specialist conferences and interest groups. At Exeter he led the growth of leadership studies towards a consisted research and publishing profile, significant contributions to undergraduate education, and  headed Executive Education for several years. In 2009/10 he collaborated with Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud at WWF International to co-found the One Planet MBA, the first MBA designed explicitly to build on the implications of a fundamental but seldom-questioned assumption: that we have just one planet - and we’ve all got to get along on it!

Amongst the many questions posed by this approach is  ‘How will value be negotiated in the food and agriculture supply chain?', where producers vie for control with international companies, and nature is valued in different, often incommensurable ways. This complex issue is crucial to enabling peace, health and environmental sustainability across the world, and could be a driver for economic reform; Prof Gosling has co-founded Business, Nature Value, a multidisciplinary, international research cluster to address the issue.

Professor Gosling has published articles in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Leadership, Management Learning, Academy of Management Learning and Education, and in many more practice-oriented outlets. He is currently finalising a text book based on the One Planet MBA. His most recent book is Napoleonic Leadership: A study in power (Sage, 2015); following his Nelson‘s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Commander, published for the 2005 bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Both books underpin popular talks and workshops on contemporary strategic leadership. Prof Gosling has also written several core texts on leadership, including ‘Key Concepts’ titles for Rutledge (2008) and Sage (2013); a successful text book Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organisational and Social Perspectives for Oxford University Press (2011, with colleagues at Exeter); and several other collections including one on leadership lessons from fiction. 

Professor Gosling advises several companies, international agencies and government departments on their leadership-related issues, and is Lead Faculty member on the Forward Institute’s ‘responsible leadership programme’ 2015-'16.  He is a Fellow of the Leadership Trust Foundation ,Trustee of the JH Levy Trust,  a co-director of the European Leadership Centre , and a director of Coaching Ourselves Inc

As former director of the Centre for Leadership Studies (2002-2009), he works with a world-wide first-rate team of researchers, teachers and consultants collectively making a significant impact on both the understanding and practice of leadership.

Professor Gosling is currently (2015) Visiting Professor in the School of Philosophy at Renmin University of China, where he delivered a series of lectures on the Philosophy of Leadership. He held an Otto Mønsted Fellowship at Copenhagen Business School (2014), working on ’the pleasures of power’;  was 2009 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership Development at INSEAD, France, working on experiential methods in leadership development; and has held similar posts at at McGill University, Quebec; Lund University, Sweden; and IEDC Bled School of Management, Slovenia.

He retired from Exeter in July 2015, much before the official retirement age, in order to focus on more immediate and impactful contributions to society; he remains active as an Emeritus Professor at Exeter, and can be contacted at




Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1392 2568
AddressStreatham Court
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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