Professor Lorna McKee

Professor Lorna McKee

Emeritus Professor

Professor Lorna McKee
Professor Lorna McKee

Contact Details

fax +44 (0)1224 438165
The University of Aberdeen Health Services Research Unit
3rd Floor Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD


Lorna McKee joined the Health Services Research Unit in May 2004 and holds a joint position with the University of Aberdeen Business School. She is a Professor of Management and Programme Director of the Delivery of Care Programme. She studied social sciences at Trinity College, Dublin, and undertook a PhD in sociology at the University of York. She has held research posts at the Universities of York, Aston, Warwick and Aberdeen and also spent time as a NHS departmental manager. She has led major projects on quality and safety including an NIHR SDO funded project on Understanding the Dynamics of Organizational Culture Change: Creating Safe Places for Patients and Staff. She has generated more than £4 million in research funds and her publications include several books on change management in health including “Managing Change in Large Organisations, the case of the NHS” (with Ferlie and Pettigrew) and “Organizing and Reorganizing: Power and Change in Health Care Organizations” (with Ferlie and Hyde).

External Memberships and Affiliations

  • Chair of steering group for the CLASSIC study (2014)
  • Research College and Advisory Panel, Dublin City University (2014)
  • Proving consultancy advice to NHS Grampian on Decision Support in Unscheduled Care (May to September 2013).
  • Invited member of Short-Life Working Group on Safety Climate in Maternity Care, Healthcare Improvement Scotland (April 2013 - 2014).
  • Joint Organiser of Quality and Safety in Healthcare Event (2012, 2013 and 2014)
  • Chair of Quality and Safety European Union Project QUASER Expert Advisory Board (2011 - 2014).
  • Member and Deputy Chair of NIHR HS&DR Commissioning Programme (2011 - 2014).
  • Chair NIHR SDO Studies Panel (2009-2011).
  • Member of NIHR HS&DR Programme Oversight Group (2012 - 2014).
  • Member of NIHR SDO Commissioning Board and Programme Executive Group (2009 - 2011)
  • Member of King’s College International Patient Safety and Quality Scientific Advisory Board (2008 - 2012)
  • Member of Scientific Advisory Board Leeds Bradford and York CLARHC (2009 - 2011)
  • Member of Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences for Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme 2009.
  • Member of Dublin City University Business School Promotions Panel 2008 and 2009.
  • Member of Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Services Research Fellowship Awards Board (2008 - 2013).
  • Co-Vice Chair  (2004-2008) and Member of the Programme Board of the National Co-ordinating Centre for NHS Service Delivery and Organisation R&D; and of the commissioning groups on Managing Change and Continuity of Care (2000-2008).
  • Member of the Awards Panel of NHS NIHR: Research for Innovation, Speculation and Creativity (RISC) Programme (2007 - 2010).
  • Founder member and Trustee of the Society for the Study of Organising in Health Care (SSHOC) (2005-onwards).
  • Expert Panel and Multi-Disciplinary Advisory Committee Member for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) (2000, 2001, 2004). Member of CFI 1st Regional Hospitals Fund Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee in 2004

Research Overview

Current research interests include healthcare management, executive coaching and developing leadership potential in senior staff, the management of change and innovation and the sociology of work and family life. Her main areas of expertise are in qualitative research including organisational case studies and ethnography. . Lorna currently directs the Delivery of Care programme and is responsible for leading and developing projects focusing on  the organisation  of care and culture, people; patient-centred care; on values and ethics. The Delivery of Care Programme emphasises research that has potential to inform improvements in the way health care is delivered. Lorna is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Current Research

Lorna currently directs the Delivery of Care programme and is responsible for leading and developing projects with a health organisation, policy and management focus. The Delivery of Care Programme emphasises research that has potential to inform improvements in the way health care is delivered. The programme is multidisciplinary and currently has the following interlinked themes



Lorna has acted as Chair and Deputy Chair on number of NIHR Research programme Boards and Panels as well as providing ongoing input to several international research funding  and advisory bodies.

In early 2014 Lorna won the 'Royal Society of Edinburgh/ Caledonian Visiting Research Fellow Award' to host Professor Holger Pfaff, from the Institute of Medical Sociology, Health Services Research and Rehabilitation Science, (IMHR) at the University of Cologne. (July 2014 - March 2015). There are plans to build mutual research training exchanges between the Universities of Aberdeen and Cologne to enhance capacity of health services research in both places. They have co-authored a publication on social capital and discussions about future research collaborations on specific projects comparing health systems and coordination principles were also central to the visits.

Lorna also won an Award from the International Scholars/ Guest Professorship Scheme administered by the University of Cologne to provide Masters level teaching to students studying Rehabilitation Sciences. Lorna visited Cologne for a two week period and was involved in delivering an intensive teaching programme on two themes, ‘Undertaking Interdisciplinary Research’ and ‘Conducting Mixed Methods’ research in the context of health services and health care research.

Lorna recently completed a Department of Health commissioned project to evaluate the extent to which cultural and behavioural change is occurring in the NHS in England; ‘Quality and Safety in the NHS: Evaluating Progress, Problems and Promise.’


Teaching Responsibilities

Involved in postgraduate and post-experience teaching since 1982 at the Universities of Aston, Warwick and Aberdeen. Has taught research methods, courses on managing change, leadership and teamwork.  Involved in supervision of PhD, Mlitt, MSc and MBA theses and dissertations.   Presently, main or co-supervisor to 3 PhD students.

From 2003 - Course Coordinator of MSc in Public Health Module PU 5004 on Managing Change in Health Care Organisations.

From 2009 – Module Co-ordinator for MSc in Clinical Human Factors in Patient Safety (Management).

Current supervisory load

  • Rosemary Hollick (2nd supervisor) Service evaluation of osteoporosis services in NHS Grampian and NHS Shetland
  • Heather Camille Cassie (2nd supervisor) Improving Quality in Healthcare: A Case Study in Dental Primary Care in Scotland
  • Comfort Yetunde Adeosun (1st supervisor) Organizational Culture and Quality Care in Nigeria