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Charles Hampden-Turner

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Charles Hampden-Turner

Charles Hampden-Turner

Charles Hampden-Turner (29 September 1934 London, England) is a British management philosopher, and Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge since 1990. He is the creator of Dilemma Theory, and co-founder and Director of Research and Development at the Trompenaars-Hampden-Turner Group, in Amsterdam.


  • Biography 1
    • The Cambridge Institute, The Wright Institute and Shell 1.1
    • Return to the UK, Cambridge, and the Judge Institute of Management Studies 1.2
    • Teaching, Social participations and awards 1.3
  • Work: overview 2
    • Dilemma theory 2.1
    • The "social marketing" concept 2.2
    • Dilemmas of innovation 2.3
  • Publications 3
  • External links 4


Hampden-Turner was born in London in 1934 and grew up in Cambridge, in a house on the site where Robinson College now stands. He was educated at Wellington College, a military public school attended by his father, and did his national service with the same regiment his father had served in, the Suffolk Regiment.

On finishing military service, Hampden-Turner attended Trinity College, Cambridge, to read Social History, for the first part of the undergraduate Tripos. For Tripos II, he read Law. Politically, he was a keen debater, and spoke often in the Cambridge Union Society, from the vantage of being a committee member and elected Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association.

After coming down from university to London, Hampden-Turner spent a brief period working with an advertising agency, before applying to study for an MBA at the Harvard Business School. In his second (and final) year of the MBA he discovered a talent for Organisational Behaviour (gaining several distinctions in related subjects), starting a lifelong interest, and providing an intellectual background to make sense of his time in Cambridge politics. He joined the Harvard faculty as a research associate in the Department of Organisational Behaviour, which he decided to combine with reading for a Doctorate (a DBA, there being no PhD available at the time). A part of his thesis won the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award (1966) and a prize from the Columbia University Centre for the Study of the Corporation (1967). He published his Doctoral Thesis as ‘Radical Man’ in 1969, which sold in paperback with Doubleday, some 70,000 copies in 3 languages.

He joined an inter-disciplinary Harvard program on graduation from his Doctorate, focusing on work with a group of Black Community organizers. This work on human rights continued, until the then President of Harvard indicated he was keen to restrain scholars from working on social problems at the sharp end, saying “Scholars should not involve themselves in the nation’s slums and ghettoes.” Hampden-Turner disagreed, and moved on.

The Cambridge Institute, The Wright Institute and Shell

Following Harvard, Hampden-Turner joined a radical think tank, The Cambridge Institute, founded by historian Gar Alperowitz and sociologist Christopher Jencks, staffed largely with Harvard and MIT members. The group avoided fashionable socialist and Marxist views, preferring a free-thinking approach in search of new social solutions. For three years, Hampden-Turner worked in ghettoes, and poor rural communities, from the Bedford-Stuyvesant Corporation in New York, to Eskimo reindeer herding in Alaska and getting in the watermelon harvest in Southwest Georgia, developing social and intellectual policy solutions.

This was an "alternative" cross-disciplinary graduate school originally a spin-out of Stanford University but now adjoining the Berkeley campus. It was founded and presided over by Nevitt Sanford, the political scientist and author of The Authoritarian Personality. Hampden-Turner worked here for five years, until the death of the founder. During this time he was elected President of the Association for Humanistic Psychology (1974) and completed Maps of the Mind which was selected as a Premium Book for those joining The Book of the Month Club for Science. It sold over 100,000 in the US alone.

He returned to the UK permanently in 1981 to work for Group Planning in Shell. After three years they endowed a senior fellowship for him at the London Business School. While at Shell he met his future partner Fons Trompenaars, with whom he founded his company. The Global Business Network nominated Hampden-Turner as a “Remarkable Person” in 1987 and he has also created scenarios for them.

Return to the UK, Cambridge, and the Judge Institute of Management Studies

As the Seventies drew to an end, Hampden-Turner was becoming increasingly concerned about his own country. He won a Motorola, Royal Dutch Shell, Advanced Micro Devices, British Telecom, Applied Materials, General Motors, British Airways, TRW, McKinsey, A.T. Kearney, Unilever, IBM, Linde and Rockwell Automation. In 1987, Hampden-Turner became a Global Business Network “Remarkable Person”, joining the resources of one of the world’s most important think-tanks.

Hampden-Turner arrived back in Cambridge to work as a Senior Research associate with the Judge Institute of Management Studies, in the autumn term of 1991. Since then, he has supervised 14 PhD’s at Judge and several MPhils. Two of his three MBA thesis supervisions, won the Best Thesis of the Year Prize at Judge. He was a visiting scholar at MIT (1992-5) and in 2001 was included in the Financial Times World Business Thinkers list. In 2003 he toured nine Chinese universities, as the Hutchinson Cambridge University Visiting Scholar, and then became (2003-5) the Goh Tjoe Kok Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University from 2003-05. He has also taught at European universities, Erasmus, Leiden, Solvay, Delft, Groningen, IMD, Helsinki and Utrecht.

His prolific publication continues, with bestseller ‘Riding the Waves of Culture’ (1997) – now passed 180,000 sales and in its thirteenth language (Bulgarian), and ‘Managing People Across Cultures’ (2004), both authored with Fons Trompenaars. This book provide significant insight into the leadership lessons and cultural dilemmas that may be considered to be at the root of the problems in the working conditions within corporations in the developing world. It also presented the model, known as Trompenaars' model of national culture differences. His recent book ‘The Titans of Saturn’ (Sept 2005), co-authored with Bram Groen described the 18-nation space mission to Saturn and Titan.

From 2005, he has been a Consulting Supervisor in the Institute for Manufacturing at the School of Engineering, University of Cambridge.

Teaching, Social participations and awards

Universities at which Hampden-Turner has taught were Harvard University, University of Cambridge, Brandeis University, University of California, University of Toronto, London Business School, Leiden (in the Netherlands), Erasmus University (in the Netherlands), Solvay (in Belgium) and Sungkyunkwan (in Korea).

Hampden-Turner was a Fellow of the Cybernetics Society in the USA and is currently a Fellow Royal Society for the Arts, as well as an Honorary Fellow of Arts and Business. He has also donated his services to Cambridge University for 16 years and has helped out on occasion at the University of Bedfordshire where he is currently a Visiting Professor, Essex University where he is a Fellow in Entrepreneurship Studies and at Bath, Cranfield, Ashcroft, and Anglia Universities, all unpaid posts.

His doctoral thesis received the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award and a prize from the Columbia University Centre for the Study of the Corporation. He won a Guggenheim Fellowship to write up his experiences in The War on Poverty, which he published as Strategy for Poor Americans. He won a Rockefeller Fellowship a few years later and used it to become a Visiting Scientist at the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations in 1979. He studied the cultural reasons for Britain’s slow growth, which culminated in the publication of Gentlemen and Tradesmen.

He was recently made a Fellow the Royal Society of Arts, he is also an Honorary Fellow of Arts and Business, and was the Goh Tjoe Kok Distinguished Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. In addition, he has been the Cambridge University Hutchinson Visiting Scholar to China in 2003, touring Chinese Universities at the invitation of Li Ka Shing Foundation.

Work: overview

Hampden-Turner intellectual interests developed from his time as an undergraduate at Cambridge (BA Trinity), the Chairman of Cambridge University Conservative Association, and a committee member of the Cambridge Union Society at the time of the Suez conflict. He refined and developed his ideas at Harvard, during both his MBA and DBA, and during his time on the Harvard faculty, publishing his thesis as Radical Man: Towards a theory of Psycho-social Development in 1969. He joined “The War on Poverty” and he worked with Black and Puerto Rican Empowerment Groups, being strongly orientated towards free thinking and community-based capitalism, rather than Marxism or Communism.

Dilemma theory

Recently he has concentrated on refining Dilemma Theory, connecting paradox to innovation, ethical decision making, new digital pedagogies that stress narrative and drama and entrepreneurship eco-systems in general. He is Visiting Professor to the Chinese Enterprise Centre at Nanyang and is producing DVDs and filmed case materials on sustainable development. He has supervised 14 PhD theses for the Judge Business School, and 2 of his 3 MBA thesis supervisions won ‘the best thesis of the year’ prize. At present, he is a consulting supervisor at the Institute for Manufacturing in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

The "social marketing" concept

The conclusion to Hampden-Turner’s intellectual work at his time at the Cambridge institute was the “Social Marketing” concept, which he devised for the Community Development corporations he was working with. This linked market forces to the social benefits bestowed by consumers. This led to the 1974 publication of From Poverty to Dignity: Strategy for Poor Americans. In the last chapter he imagined what CDCs might become and an enthusiastic reader flew him to San Francisco where it seemed his dream had become true. The Delancey Street Foundation ran twelve businesses, using the money to rehabilitate ex-cons and addicts through work. He passed the grant to write his book Sane Asylum through the Wright Institute. It was in trying to understand crime and drug addiction that Dilemma Theory was born, much influenced by his informal mentor Gregory Bateson, the anthropologist. Those he interviewed at the Foundation had faced such appalling dilemmas that acting out violently or retreating into drugs was the way they had tried to cope, but these tactics only worsened their situations. The book sold well and was featured on the Today Show

Dilemmas of innovation

Currently, Hampden-Turner is investigating the dilemmas of innovation and the inability of mere print, words and pictures to portray this adequately. He has turned to digital media and film to communicate his long-held convictions. He sees the future of innovation as building “cultures-that-create”. But these require pattern recognition and filmed case materials which reveal generative patterns.

Much of his time is now spent attempting to make innovation measurable. Nanyang Technological University has invited him to evaluate its “Technopreneurship and Innovation Programme” (TIP), a university post-graduate course much praised by its students and designed by his ex-PhD student, Tan Teng-Kee. The programme is run by Dr. Raymond Ferris Abelin. The evaluation is extremely positive and suggests that innovation can be taught, a most exciting prospect. A book titled "The Singapore Experiment" will be published on 30 November 2009 by Cambridge University Press.

A new interest is a return to the more political types of philosophy and the attempt to reconceive values as differences on a mental continuum. The common fallacy is that values are things, or like things, plays into the hands of extremists, who believe that the MORE you have of a value the more virtuous you become, so that all convictions escalate in vehemence. His thesis that values are differences which develop when reconciled gives a whole new perspective to the values of democracy and the Western Enlightenment. He believes we can put up a much stronger case against fundamentalism and terrorism and recently completed a 40-minute video on this issue.


  • 1970, Radical man. London: Duckworth.
  • 1974, From Poverty to Dignity: a strategy for poor Americans. Garden City: New York.
  • 1976, Sane Asylum: Inside the Delancey Street Foundation. San Francisco Book Company: San Francisco.
  • 1981, Maps of the Mind: Charts and concepts of the mind and its labyrinths. Macmillan Publishing Company: New York.
  • 1983, Gentlemen and tradesmen: the values of economic catastrophe. London: Routledge/Kegan Paul.
  • 1990, Charting the corporate mind: from dilemma to strategy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • 1990, L'enterprise face a ses valeurs: cartographier les tensions et developer la synergie. Paris: Les Editions d'Organisation.
  • 1993, with Fons Trompenaars, The seven cultures of capitalism: value, systems for creating wealth in the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands. London: Piatkus.
  • 1994, Corporate culture: how to generate organisational strength and lasting commercial advantage. London: Piatkus.
  • 1997, with Fons Trompenaars, Mastering the infinite game: how East Asian values are transforming business practices. Oxford: Capstone.
  • 1997, with Fons Trompenaars, Riding the waves of culture: understanding cultural diversity in business. London: Nicholas Brealey.
  • 2000, with Fons Trompenaars, Building cross-cultural competence: how to create wealth from conflicting values. Chichester: Wiley.
  • 2001, with Fons Trompenaars, 21 leaders for the 21st century: how innovative leaders manage in the digital age. Oxford: Capstone.
  • 2004, with Fons Trompenaars, Managing people across cultures. Chichester: Capstone.
  • 2005, with B. Groen, The Titans of Saturn: leadership and performance lessons from the Cassini-Huygens mission. Singapore and London: Marshall Cavendish Business and Cyan Communications Ltd.
Book Chapters
  • 1992, "Foreword." In Common, R., Flynn, N. and Mellon, E. (eds.): Managing public services: competition and decentralization. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp.vii-x.
  • 1993, "Dilemmas of strategic learning loops." In Hendry, J. and Johnson, G., with Newton, J. (eds.): Strategic thinking: leadership and the management of change. Chichester: Wiley, pp. 327-346.
  • 1994, "Foreword." In Huffington, C. and Brunning, H. (eds.): Internal consultancy in the public sector: case studies. London: Karnac Books, pp.xiii-xv.
  • 1994, "Foreword." In McCaughan, N. and Palmer, B.: Systems thinking for harassed managers. London: Karnac Books, pp.xiii-xvii.
  • 1996, "Strategic dilemmas occasioned by using alternative scenarios of the future." In Garratt, B. (ed.): Developing strategic thought: rediscovering the art of direction-giving. London: McGraw-Hill, pp. 99-138.
  • 1996, "Mintzberg, Henry (1939-).", "Morgan, Gareth (1943-).", "Reich, Robert M. (1946-)." & "Schon, Donald (1930-)." In: Warner, M. (ed.): International encyclopedia of business and management. London: Routledge, 1st edition, pp. 3492-3495.
  • 1996, "A world turned upside-down: doing business in Asia." In Joynt, P. and Warner, M. (eds.): Managing across cultures: issues and perspectives. London: International Thomson Business Press, 1st edition, pp. 275-305.
  • 1996, "Designing the infinite game: the forty-fifth International Design Conference in Aspen." In Kao, J. (ed.): The new business of design. New York: Allworth, pp. 207-221.
  • 1997, "Mintzberg, Henry (1939-)." In Sorge, A. and Warner, M. (eds.): The IEBM handbook of organizational behaviour. London: International Thomson Business Press, pp. 661-664.
  • 1997, "Masters of the infinite game." In Mulgan, G. (ed.): Life after politics. London: Harper Collins, pp. 361-368.
  • 1998, "Reich, Robert M. (1946-)."' "Mintzberg, Henry (1939-).", "Schon, Donald (1930-).", "Morgan, Gareth (1943-).", "Reich, Robert M. (1946-)." & "McGregor, Douglas (1906-64)." in: Warner, M. (ed.): The IEBM handbook of management thinking. London: International Thomson Business Press, pp. 466-469.
  • 2000, "Perspectives on management in the Americas." In Warner, M. (ed.): Regional encyclopedia of business and management: vol.1: Management in the Americas. London: Thomson Learning, pp. 94-108.
  • 2002, "A mirror-image world: doing business in Asia." In Warner, M. and Joynt, P. (eds.): Managing across cultures: issues and perspectives. London: Thomson Learning, 2nd edition, pp. 143-167.
  • 2003, "Culture and management in Singapore." In Warner, M. (ed.): Culture and management in Asia. London: RoutledgeCurzon, pp. 171-186.
  • 2012, Cross-cultural management textbook: Lessons from the world leading experts, Introduction by Edgar H. Schein with Fons Trompenaars, Meredith Belbin, Jerome Dumetz, Juliette Tournand, Peter Woolliams, Olga Saginova, Stephen M. R. Covey, Dean Foster, Craig Storti, Joerg Schmitz

External links

  • Charles
  • Charles Hampden-Turner at Global Business Network.
  • Charles Hampden-Turner at
  • BBC world service about Trompenaars and Hampden Turner.
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