Prof. Lionel Stapley

Home    consultant team    Prof. Lionel Stapley

Lionel Stapley is an internationally recognised author, organisational consultant and psychodynamic and executive coach working with individuals, groups and organisations in both public and private sectors across the UK, Europe and South America.

He is also a commercially focused consultant, engaging with major public and private sector organisations at a senior level to help deliver their strategic objectives. He has a proven record of growing brand recognition and of successfully managing and developing the reputation of OPUS, an international educational charity that seeks to encourage the reflective citizen.


Chartered Fellow of both the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and the CIM (Chartered Institute of Management)

Member of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations (ISPSO)

Fellow of OPUS



Professor of Organisation Coaching Birkbeck University of London. Appointed July 2014.

PhD – (the Psychodynamic Explanation of Culture and Change), Sheffield Hallam University

MSc - (Organisation Development), Sheffield Hallam University







Group Relations Experience

Professor Stapley began his Group Relations career working on several short Group Relations Conferences under the Directorship of Eric Miller. He was then a Staff Member at the Leicester Conference In 1989 and 1990. Lionel has been engaged in Group Relations learning in the UK and other countries for over thirty years. In all of his Group Relations activities, Lionel sets and insists on providing high quality Group Relations learning.


In 1994 he was appointed the Director of OPUS (An Organisation for Promoting Understanding of Society) which used a psychodynamic approach to the understanding of societal dynamics - seen as ‘an identifiable field of study’, a societal extension to Group Dynamics.


In 2000, he introduced a new OPUS strategy, which included the creation of a new Journal ‘ Organisational and Social Dynamics’, of which, he became the Chair of the Editorial Board.


A further part of this Strategy was to develop an OPUS Group Relations Learning Programme. This included a four-day Group Relations Conference, under the title ‘Making the Difference’, still today a shorter version than others that are normally of 7 - 14 days duration. And following this, the development of an ‘Advanced Training in Small Group Processes Workshop’, still the only dedicated Advanced Learning event in the world.


Building on his previous Group Relations experience, in both these events he centred the learning on a Group-as-a-Whole perspective. This, as he considered, was the most important aspect of Group Relations learning, which he felt had been lost by others, by a concentration on individual learning. Later, he developed a One Day Group Relations workshop: ‘Learning About Small Group Processes’.


He continued as Director of OPUS until standing down in 2016, after 22 years, when he was made a Fellow of OPUS, one of only three.


During this period, he also developed a thriving and highly successful ‘organisational consultancy’ service: and a ‘Psychodynamic and Executive’ coaching service. Both these services were very much informed by his Group Relations knowledge, skills, and ability. In regard to organisational consultancy, he was recognised for his whole organisation achievements, mainly sustainable, organisation culture transitions: major changes and sustainable implementation of change.


This resulted in working with major companies in the U.K., various countries in Europe, e.g., Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and Brazil; for over ten years, here working with many multinational organisations.


A major Group Relations project was undertaken in Krakow, Poland where over a ten-year period (from 2007 to 2017) Polish coaches and trainers were developed to become successful Group Relations consultants capable of managing and Directing Group Relations Conferences.


As stated previously, in 2016 Lionel met with Yujia Zhang and Han Liu, when they decided that they would work together.


Today, Lionel is frequently and actively supporting the work of Group Relations China, where he has introduced the One-day Workshop: ‘Learning About Small Group Processes’, the 4-day ‘Making the Difference’ Group Relations Conference and the ‘Advanced Training in Small Group Processes Workshop’. He is also working with founders of Group Relations Russia, a new group in Warsaw, Poland, and a new group in Ghana, West Africa and Slovenia.