my background

Portret Hans Vermaak


J.G. Vermaak PhD MMC MCM CMC



past education

I studied chemistry and organizational psychology in Utrecht and Florida and received my masters degree in Utrecht in 1985. I completed education programs on psychotherapy and counseling and was also certified as a yoga teacher. I received a master’s degree in management consulting from the Free University in Amsterdam in 1994. I have followed courses where and when relevant and set up learning environments with like-minded professionals. Later, I also I received a honorary masters in change management from Sioo. However, I have learned most on the job by combining consultancy, teaching, research and writing in collaboration with others. And still do.

consultancy background

After being a social activist for years I worked between 1987 and 1992 at the Institute of Environmental and Systems Analysis (IESA) where we mediated conflicts between industry, government and environmental groups and helped industry to realize more sustainable practices. My interest in systems thinking and social innovation stems from this period. After a short period as an independent consultant and an interim manager of a spiritual center, I joined one of the large Dutch management consultancy firms, Twynstra Gudde. I worked there for 17 years as a senior partner where I first focused on how to manage professional firms and then specialized in the diagnosis, design and realization of organizational development and change. Action research about the change dynamics around complex issues takes center stage. The focus of this research has gradually shifted to ‘tough problems’ within and between organizations. It often concerns innovation of organizations’ products or services to clients or citizens. I work as an independent consultant since 2011.

teaching background

I have always taught about change and consultancy within the organizations I worked, starting with IMSA. At Twynstra Gudde I lead a knowledge center on change management, support product development and professionalize fellow consultants sinds the ’90’s. I give lectures and run education programs and I have a coaching practice for the last twenty years. Over time, teaching and coaching has focused on change agents as a target group: people who take responsibility for change in their own environment regardless their function or affiliation. I have a long-standing involvement with programs of the Copenhagen Business School (CBS/SIMI), the Technical University of Denmark, the Vlerick Business School, both major universities in Amsterdam, the Academy of Information and Management and Focus Conferences. I worked closely together with the National Centre of Social Innovation (LESI) between 2009 and 2016. I work most intensely with Sioo, Inter-university Centre for Development in Organizational Studies and Change Management in shaping education programs. Here, I was part of a small team that taught the Master’s program ‘Advanced Change Methodologies’ from 2003 till 2015. In this program experienced change agents do action research on their own change practices. I now have a role contributing to a range of their programs and involving its alumni network.

research background

Doing research within and about change practices is a common thread in my work.  My PhD research on innovation around complex issues in the Dutch diplomatic arena has been my most intense enterprise in this area. This concerned action research on multi-year change efforts in about twenty sites, most of which took place in Africa. During this time I also became member of Sioo’s research platform and Twynstra Gudde’s research platform. I received my degree with honors in 2009. The dissertation was shortlisted as the best PhD research by the Dutch Society for Political Science and rewarded as the best PhD research by the Dutch Network of Quality Management. I am member of the scientific council of the professional association of management consultants in The Netherlands (OOA), a member of Practitioners’ Council for Critical Organization and Intervention Studies (KOIS) at the University of Humanistic Studies in the Netherlands, a member of the Creative Board of the Academy of Information & Management, a member of the academic board of Sioo and a member of the Academy of Management. I support others in doing action research in various change efforts and education programs at Sioo and Lesi. I also participate in a network of action researchers and am involved in setting up a new education program for action research.

writing background

I started writing as a great way to learn and share ideas an still publish regularly. This adds up to about a hundred publications, varying from books and academic articles to columns, professional publications, CD’s and videos. The publications focus on topics like organizational change, learning, systems thinking, professionals and research. They have received publication awards such as the best book award by the Dutch Professional Association of Management Consultants, several best article awards by the Dutch Association of Management Consultancy Firms and best paper awards at the Academy of Management. Though most of these publications are in Dutch, I increasingly publish in English as well. Best known in English is probably the handbook ‘Learning to Change’ that I wrote with Léon de Caluwé. I contributed to books like ‘creative consulting’ and ‘dynamics or organizational change and learning’. Articles have been published in journals like the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Organizational Development Journal, Management Decision and Holland Management Review. I was an editor of the peer-reviewed journal ‘Management & Organisatie’ for five years and am now part of its editorial board. I am also part of the editorial board of the humanistic journal ‘Waardenwerk’.

present environment

I work independently since early 2011 to allow more time for my profession at the expense of management responsibilities. Most of my work I do in collaboration with like-minded consultants, academics and educators. I am also affiliated with two organizations to continue long lasting collaboration. In the area of management consultancy I am associate partner with Twynstra Gudde and in the area of education I am associate partner with Sioo. I am also registered as certified management consultant (CMC) and registered as a teacher at the central register for vocational education (CRKBO).