Research Areas

We are interested in a range of psychological and human factors influencing performance in high-risk workplaces. These include:


Human factors. Much of our research encompasses an element of human factors.  These factors range from an individual's ability to make decisions or work as part of team, to the impact of the workplace or environment on task or job performance.

Teamwork. Teamwork refers to the way in which the members of a team effectively interact and co-ordinate together. We are interested in teamwork and team performance in a number of industrial settings, and in particular within acute healthcare domains and aviation.

Leadership. We are interested in how leadership influences safety and performance at all organizational levels (unit-level supervisors to board level directors), and have a number of research projects investigating leadership within complex organizations.

Situation awareness. We are particularly interested in how operators working in complex environments maintain a dynamic awareness of their current situation, and then take action on the basis of this understanding.

Decision making. We are interested in the ability of individuals to make decisions in time driven or risky environments, such as an operating theatre.  In these scenarios we are interested in how rapid decisions are made, often in conditions of uncertainty and subject to organisational constraints. 

Non-technical skills. We have developed and evaluated a number of specialised observational tools for assessing and providing feedback on the non-technical skills (eg, teamwork, situation awareness) of individuals working in complex team-based environments.

Safety culture. The way in which workers are influenced by their perceptions of the organization has been of interest to the IPRC for over 20 years. We are especially interested in safety culture, as well as in identifying system factors influencing safety in high-risk organizations.

Patient safety.  Research on patient safety has been conducted in partnership with the Scottish Patient Safety Research network (  Topics of interest include: surgeons' decision making, pharmacist dispensing error, nurses' safety leadership, anaesthetists' intraoperative cognition and many more. 

Occupational health. Workforce well-being, and the influence this can have on behaviour, has been of interest to us in the oil and gas sector, public transport, and emergency services.

Rudeness / Incivility. Workplace rudeness has been defined as insensitive or disrespectful behaviour (verbal and non-verbal) that violates social norms.  We are interested in the impact of such behaviours on work based performance, safety and wellbeing.

For more information about our current research projects, please select the research topic of interest.