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Assuming the missing home directory is the cause, I'd rather remove an recreate the user account, as the -m option is also automatically creating default .profile and local rc files.
If the automounter is in charge of the /home directory (autohome), and you are creating the user account on the NFS home server, use the -d option with /export/home/john as parameter, as in this case /home is unwriteable, even by root.