Dr Tom Reader


Dr Tom Reader is a lecturer in Organisational and Social Psychology at the London School of Economics. Tom is a chartered applied psychologist, and his research involves applying organisational, social and cognitive psychology theory to medicine and other high-hazard environments (e.g. oil and gas, aviation, rail).

Tom has specialised in the topic of patient safety, and his research has investigated the relationship between organisational psychology and medical error within acute medical environments. Much of Tom's empirical research has been conducted in the highly complex, expensive, and risky environment of critical care medicine. Critical care patients typically suffer from complex illnesses (i.e. multiple organ failure), are treated by multidisciplinary care teams, and have been shown as highly susceptible to experiencing preventable medical error. Over half of such errors are caused by 'non-technical' factors related to social and cognitive psychology (Reader et al., 2006). Tom has investigated how factors such as clinical/team leadership, multidisciplinary communication, team adaptability (e.g. to emergency scenarios), shared decision-making processes (e.g. during rounds), ergonomics, risk perceptions and safety culture are important for ensuring patient safety. Tom's current research is focussed on developing a prototype observational system for training and assessing the teamwork skills of intensive care medics during the different phases of patient care provision. Tom is also interested in the topics of medication error, safety culture and climate within the NHS, risk management, and patient neglect.

Tom holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen, alongside a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology Research Methods (with distinction) and an MA Honours psychology degree (1st Class). Tom has published, presented, and consulted widely on organisational psychology in a variety of industries, and in 2008 won a post-doctoral fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust.

Recent publications

For a full list of Tom's publications, please see his LSE Research Online| page