Professor Theo Veldsman

Theo VeldsmanHe is regarded as one of the pioneers in change navigation, organisational design, strategic people management and multi-skilling in South Africa. He has an excellent proven ability to function at the executive/senior management level with the capability to adapt to the level of complexity required. He holds a Doctorate in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. He is a registered psychologist (both Industrial and Research Psychology) and a registered personnel practitioner.

Theo developed extensive research and development, as well as consulting experience over the past 30 years in the fields of strategy formulation and implementation; strategic organisational change; organisational (re)design; team building; leadership/management development; and strategic people/talent management. He has consulted/consults with many leading South African companies, and organisations overseas, in the above areas in the roles of Advisor, Expert, Coach/ Mentor.

One of Theo’s areas of expertise is leadership and leadership development. Over the past eight years he has led a Leadership Excellence Research Programme at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at UJ that on average has 15-20 masters and doctoral students at any given point in time, which puts the Department at the forefront in terms of the latest thinking regarding leadership. Nearly five years ago he founded the Leadership Development Academy at the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, UJ. To date nearly 500 executives, senior and middle managers have gone through the Academy, nationally and internationally.

Theo has supervised a recently completed doctoral study on the design and validation of a global competency model for central bankers which covers both technical/ professional and leadership competencies. Thirty central banks worldwide partook in this study. A paper was presented at an international conference on the study. An article on the same topic is about to be published in a high profile, accredited journal.

He started his career at the Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (Comro) where he did applied people management research and also set up and headed a people consulting unit for the mining industry (8 years); worked as a management consultant at Central Training Unit, Maccauvlei, Anglo-American (4 years); led the national people effectiveness consulting team of Ernst & Young South Africa (6 years); as well as those of Argil Consulting; CS Holdings; and Bytes People Solutions (5 years in total).

He was appointed part-time professor in the Human Resource Management Department, RAU (now the University of Johannesburg) from January 2003 until 2008, specifically to bring theory and practice together in the Department’s post-graduate research programme, which at present has close on 200 post-graduate students. He joined the Department (now called Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management) on a full time basis as Head of the Department on 1 September 2008. He also leads the five year, post-graduate Research Programme on Leadership Excellence in the Department, overseeing some 20 doctoral/masters studies regarding leadership. He has supervised a number of post-graduate masters’ dissertations and doctoral theses successfully. At present he is supervising 3 doctoral students.

He is the author of about 190 reports/articles covering the abovementioned areas. He has done numerous management and professional presentations and seminars at national and international level. On average, he presents 5 conference papers per year. He is the author of a book entitled “Into the People Effectiveness Arena – Navigating between chaos and order” (2002), dealing with pressing people issues. He has also contributed nine book chapters on respectively organisational culture, organisational change interventions, strategic talent management, organisational partnering, people competency modeling; the profile of the People Professional in emerging economies; the meta-theory of Work Psychology; leading HR; and the design of the HR Function.

He was chairperson of the Society of Industrial Psychology, a Division of the SA Psychological Association from 1990 until 1995. He also served as the 1990/91 President of the South African Psychological Association (PASA); and the 1995/96 President of the newly formed Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA). He served on the Council of the Psychological Association of South Africa form 1990 until 1999. He was a part-time lecturer at Witwatersrand Technikon at post-diploma level. He has lectured at Rand Afrikaans University at post-graduate level (Honors, Masters, Doctoral) over the past 20 years. He has also lectured for close on seven years on the Doctoral Programme in Consulting Psychology at Unisa.

He has also served/serves on the Council of Technikon Pretoria for 7,5 years, and now the Council of Tshwane University of Technology; the Advisory Board of the Centre of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, Unisa. He was an Advisory Fellow of the Centre for Work Performance, Department of Human Resource Management, Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg). He was a member of the Academic Board of Cida. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the S.A. Journal of Industrial Psychology and the S.A. Journal of Human Resource Management.

He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Scientific Development of the Human Sciences Research Council. At present he serves on the Advisory Board of the Society of Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA). He has been awarded Fellowship status by the Society of Industrial and Organisational Psychology of SA (SIOPSA). He was given an Award for Life Long Achievement by the SA Board for People Practices (SABPP) IN 2012.

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