Simon P Walker

Simon Walker _ University of Bristol - Academia.ed

My recent papers

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Discovering how steering cognition contributes to human society


Dr Simon P Walker, DProf, MTh, MA Oxon, BTh, MBsPS, APECS is a British researcher and writer in the area of steering cognition. He has crystallised his research into a theory,  'Human Ecology Theory', which he described in a monograph 'A Brief Introduction To The Theory of Human Ecology'[1]. He has written several books on the implications of these ideas for leadership, coaching and human flourishing [2,3,4].


Along with Dr Jo Walker, his co-researcher and wife, he founded Mind. World in 2010 to research, develop and publish materials and tools to improve ability to regulate steering cognition in schools. Mind. World became STEER in 2017.


STEER's notable achievements to date include:


-Publishing the Footprints KS2 PSHE Curriculum, which is is currently in use with over 2,500 children in the UK.


-Developing AS Tracking to track affective-social self regulation and detect incipient mental health risks in primary and secondary school children.


-Conducting major research programmes: In 2015 8,000 pupils took part in a British research study 'Measuring the Unmeasured'. This was funded, designed and led by Human Ecology Education and investigated the impacts of steering cognition upon academic and non-academic outcomes within different school models (state, independent, boarding).




Dr Walker was educated at Felsted School, and then Christ Church Oxford where he studied Biology. He returned to study Theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford between 1994-7 and wrote several papers on the epistemology of relational knowledge and the ontology of personhood which would become foundational for his subsequent psychological ideas of an ecology of personhood.


Between 1997 and 200 he completed his MTh in Applied Theology at Regents Park College, Oxford within which he developed his ideas of an Human Ecology Theory.


In 2014 he was awarded his DProf by Public Works from Winchester University. His doctorate 'Becoming Undefended' was based on his innovative development between 1997 and 2013 of a programme to train leaders to become aware of, and take responsibility for, their steering biases.




Walker is an elected member of the British Psychological Society and has served as an accrediting panel member of The Association of Executive Coaching and Supervision[19]. Walker is an ordained Anglican priest in the Church of England but serves no congregational role.




Dr Walker is a Head of Research and co-founder of STEER. He is an Honorary Fellow of Bristol University Graduate School of Education. Previously, Walker developed and taught The Undefended Leader course at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University,  between 2002-2009. More than 250 graduate students participated in this intensive and ground-breaking 6 day programme.


Dr Walker has also taught at St Mellitus College, Middlesex University and University of Winchester Business School.


Alongside his teaching and research, Dr Walker has worked as a leadership consultant to the corporate world founding The Leadership Community, an alumni of graduates from his successful Undefended Leader 6 day course. This grew to 500 members between 2005-8.


Walker was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1997 and served as a curate for three years.





Dr Walker's steering cognition research papers can be read in the Research section.



Prior work

Prior to his cognitive research programme was launched in 2011, Walker published several books and articles. His Undefended Leader trilogy was voted amongst the ten most influential books of the 21st century by a MODEM committee[20] and the single edition launched at the Oxford Literary Festival in 2011.[21]


From his Human Ecology Theory Dr Walker also developed a number of other ideas in the areas of leadership and coaching. He published the idea of 'undefended leadership' in a trilogy of books.[2]


Dr Walker has also set out the implications of steering cognition for Christian spirituality, arguing in an eponymous book that it calls for us to live an 'Undefended Life'.[4] This has stimulated numerous responses from other commentators in the church. [5][6][7][8] Dr Walker's ideas have had an influence on writers in the area of school leadership (Seldon)[9] and power in leadership (Preece)[10].



A Brief Introduction to the Theory of Human Ecology

Human Ecology Partners, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907459-00-9


The Undefended Life

Human Ecology Partners, 2011, ISBN 978-1-907459-03-0


The Undefended Leader trilogy


Piquant 2007,8,9

Single Volume hardback ed., Human Ecology Partners, 2011, ISBN 978-1-907459-04-7


The Ecology of Coaching, A New Approach to Transformational Coaching

Human Ecology Partners, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907459-02-3


Non-cognitive Academic and Journal Papers

The Evolution of Coaching, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, Vol 2, No 2, October 2004 [22]

Grounding Biblical Metaphor in Reality: The philosophical basis of realist metaphorical language, Churchman, Vol 112,issue 3, 1998, [23]

Challenging Deconstruction: A Look at Persons, Texts and Hermeneutics, Churchman, Vol 111,issue 3, 1997, [24]

Time, Berliner, Spring 2005

Abrahamism, Berliner, Autumn 2005

Personal Ecology, Stress News, Journal of International Stress Management Association, January 2004

When Training is not Enough, People Management, May 2002



Walker competed as an U21 for Great Britain in the Long Jump and jointly holds the Oxbridge Long Jump record at 25ft (7.62m) [25]. He briefly made his living as an artist from 2000-2001 and produced the illustrations and maps for The Undefended Leader trilogy.



1. ^ Simon P Walker, A Brief Introduction to the Theory of Human Ecology, Human Ecology Partners, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907459-00-9

2. ^ Simon P Walker, The Undefended Leader: Piquant 2007,8,9 and Single Volume hardback ed., Human Ecology Partners, 2011,ISBN 978-1-907459-04-7 Volume 1: Leading Out of Who You Are, Discovering the Secret of Undefended Leadership Volume 2: Leading with Nothing to Lose, Training in the Exercise of Power, Volume 3: Leading with Everything to Give, Lessons from the Success and Failure of Western Capitalism

3. ^ Simon P Walker, The Ecology of Coaching, A New Approach to Transformational Coaching, Human Ecology Partners, 2009, ISBN 978-1-907459-02-3

4. ^ Simon P Walker, The Undefended Life, Human Ecology Partners, 2011, ISBN 978-1-907459-03-0

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