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London School of Economics
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Daniel Linehan
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Service Delivery Manager: MSc Programmes
Jacqueline Crane
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7995

PhD Programme and Communications Administrator

Terri-Ann Fairclough
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7700

Dr Tom Reader

For publications click here|

I am a Lecturer in Organisational and Social Psychology|, and a Chartered Applied Psychologist.

My research, teaching, and consultancy work applies organisational and social psychology theory to improve safety management in complex and risky organisations (e.g. aviation, finance, healthcare, energy).

My research and teaching interests focus on the following psychology topics

  • Decision Making;
  • Teamwork;
  • Safety culture;
  • Leadership;
  • Human error;
  • Risk-taking
  • Methodologies for measuring risk

Current list of publications|

I studied for an MA (2000-2004) and PhD (2004-2008) in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen's School of Psychology. My doctorate investigated the extent to which healthcare teams form a shared understanding of the patients they treat, and how group dynamics influence 'team cognition'. After completing my PhD, I took a post-doctoral fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (in 2008) to study effective leadership in acute healthcare settings. Since 2010, I have been a Lecturer in Organisational and Social Psychology at the LSE.

More broadly, I investigate how workplace activities (e.g. teamwork, leadership, decision-making, risk-taking) and organisational systems (e.g. management, culture, technology) interact to influence safety outcomes in high-risk organisational settings. I am particularly interested in developing new methodologies and models for measuring and analysing safety-related data (e.g. on human behaviour, incident reporting, culture).

In addition to my academic career, I have previously worked in the UK oil and gas industry (1997-2000), alongside being employed as a risk advisor for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2009-2010).

My research investigates how workplace activities and organisational systems interact to influence safety outcomes within high-risk industries, for example healthcare, aviation, energy, and finance. I apply qualitative and quantitative methodologies to study activity at different organisational levels, and am particularly interested in developing methodologies for measuring and improving safety management.

At present, I have four inter-linking research streams. These are:

1. Safety culture. This research investigates i) how organisational culture is perceived by members of an organisation, and ii) how safety-related behaviours (e.g. speaking-up, risk-taking) are shaped by organisational culture. My research is supported by a EUROCONTROL (part of the European Commission) grant to investigate safety culture in Air Traffic Management. I am investigating whether it is possible to scale and compare organisational culture in different countries (within a single industry), and if so, to establish whether organisational culture is shaped by national culture, and how to facilitate learning between countries. I am also interested in safety culture within healthcare environments, and in particular barriers to speaking-up on poor patient care.

2. Non-technical skills. This research applies psychological theory (on teamwork, leadership, situation awareness, and decision-making) to investigate the skills and activities that underpin safe performance during high-risk work tasks. It aims to both develop interventions for improving organisational safety (e.g. observational frameworks, training packages, incident analysis tools), and also to develop psychological theory on workplace behaviour (through examining psychology concepts in 'real-world' settings). I manage or supervise a number of projects in this area, including the study of expert decision-making for ethically complex medical scenarios, leadership during patient reviews and medical crises (previously supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship), and human error in financial trading,

3. Care and well-being. This research explores how 'caring' relationships can influence organisational safety. First, in healthcare, I am examining (with Dr Alex Gillespie) how uncaring relationships between patients and hospital caregivers create negative outcomes for patient safety (patient neglect). Specifically, through examining a database of 1,500 hospital patient complaints, the association between poor patient care and caregiver-patient  relationships is being explored (funded by an LSE seed fund grant). We aim to develop a new methodology for analysing patient' letters of complaint, and to examine how a focus on 'targets' can compromise caring relationships. Second, in the energy industry, I examine (with Dr Kathryn Means) whether employees in 'caring organisations' (e.g. for employee health) are more likely to engage in reciprocal safety activities (e.g. reporting incidents) essential for organisational well-being. 

4. Systems approaches to safety. Finally, to understand how the concepts above interact to shape organisational safety outcomes, I apply systems-thinking approaches to develop new models of organisational safety. This theoretical work aims to model and explain the interactions between organisational systems and behaviour that lead to organisational accidents (e.g. The Deepwater Horizon incident), and to develop models for avoiding future incidents.

I co-direct the Organisational and Social Psychology MSc programme (PS404|), lead a half-unit option on Organisational and Social Decision-Making (PS445|), and am Chair of the Psychology Undergraduate Exam Board.

I also lecture and teach on the following courses: Societal Psychology (PS443|), Creativity and Innovation (PS458|), Group Dynamics (PS421|) Research methods for Social Psychology (PS4.A), Introductory Social Psychology (PS102|), Health and Community Development (PS461|), and Advanced Decisions Sciences (OR435)

I supervise the following PhD students|:

Kevin Corti (second supervised with Dr Alex Gillespie). Kevin's thesis investigates the 'cyranoid' effect.

Phillipe Fauquet-Alekhine (second supervised with Prof Saadi Lahlou). Phillipe's thesis investigates human factors issues in nuclear power plants.

Meghan Leaver (co-supervised with Dr Alex Gillespie). Meghan's thesis investigates human error and non-technical skills in financial trading.

Emily LeRoux-Rutledge (second supervised with Prof Cathy Campbell). Emily's thesis investigates the role of media as an aid to women’s empowerment in South Sudan

Teresa Whitney (co-supervised with Dr Caroline Howarth). Teresa's thesis investigates decision-making in multi-cultural environments.

To view the publications below, please visit my Google Scholar| page.

Under review

Leaver, M, & Reader, T. (Under Review). Non-technical skills in financial trading.

Reader, T., Noort, M., Kirwan, B., Shorrock, S. (Under Review). Safety san frontières: An international safety culture model.

Reader, T., Mearns, K., Lopes, C. (Under Review). Organisational support for workforce health and employee safety citizenship behaviours: a reciprocal relationship.


Gillespie, A., Reader, T., Cornish, F., & Campbell, C. (2014). Beyond ideal speech situations: Adapting to communication asymmetries in health care. Journal of Health Psychology, 19, 72-78. [1.8]

Howarth, C., Campbell, C., Cornish, F., Franks, B., Garcia-Lorenzo, L., Gillespie, A., Gleibs, I., Goncalves-Portelinha, I., Jovchelovitch, S., Lahlou, S., Mannell, J., Reader, T., & and Tennant, C. (In Press). Insights from societal psychology: a contextual politics of societal change. Journal of social and political psychology.

Reader, T., Gillespie, A, & Mannell, J. (2014). Patient neglect in 21st century healthcare institutions: a community health psychology perspective. Journal of Health Psychology, 19, 137-148. [1.8]

Reader, T., Gillespie, A., & Roberts, J. (Accepted) Patient complaints in healthcare systems: A systematic review and coding taxonomy. BMJ: Quality and Safety. [IF 2.4]

Reader, T., & O'Connor, P. (2014). The Deepwater Horizon explosion: Non-technical skills, safety culture, and system complexity. Journal of Risk Research, 17, 405-424. [IF 1.2]


Mearns, K., Kirwan, B., Reader, T. Jackson, J., Kennedy, R., & Gordon, R. (2013). Development of a methodology for understanding and enhancing safety culture in Air Traffic Management. Safety Science, 53, 123-133. [IF: 1.4]

Reader, T., & Gillespie, A. (2013). Patient neglect in healthcare institutions: a systematic review and conceptual model. BMC health services research, 13, 156. [IF 1.7]

Voyer, B., & Reader, T. (2013). The self-construal of nurses and doctors: Beliefs on interdependence and independence in the care of older people. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 16, 2696–2706 [IF: 1.5]


Reader, T., & Cuthbertson, B. (2012). Challenges in using high-fidelity simulation to improve learning and patient safety. Resuscitation, 87, 1317-9.[IF:3.0]


Reader, T. (2011). Learning through high-fidelity simulation: The role of episodic memory. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 20, 1035-1042. [IF: 4.2]

Reader, T., & Cuthbertson, B. (2011). Teamwork and team training in the ICU: Where do the similarities with aviation end? Critical Care, 15, 313-319. [IF: 4.6]

Reader, T., Flin, R., & Cuthbertson, B. (2011). Team leadership in the Intensive Care Unit. Critical Care Medicine, 39, 1683-1691. [IF: 6.3]

Reader, T., Flin, R., Mearns, K., & Cuthbertson, B. (2011). Team situation awareness and the anticipation of patient progress during ICU rounds. BMJ Quality and Safety, 20, 1035-1042. [IF: 1.7] 

Reader, T., Flin, R., & Cuthbertson, B. (2011). Naturalistic and Team-Based Decision-Making in the Intensive Care Unit. In S Fiore & Harper-Sciarini (Eds.). Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making, Orlando, FL(pp. 160-166): University of Central Florida.


Reader, T., Flin, R., Mearns, K., & Cuthbertson, B. (2009). Developing a team performance framework for the Intensive Care Unit. Critical Care Medicine, 35, 1789-1793. [IF: 6.3] 

Mearns, K., & Reader, T. (2009). Measuring Support for Health in Offshore Environments. Ergonomics and Health Aspects of Work with Computers, 56, 61-69.


Reader, T., Cuthbertson, B. & Decruyenaere, J. (2008) Burnout in the ICU: Potential consequences for staff and patient wellbeing. Intensive Care Medicine, 34, 4-6. [IF: 4.9]

Reader, T., Flin, R., Mearns, K., & Cuthbertson, B. (2008). Communication and the perceived involvement of team members during the ICU morning round. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting Proceedings, 52, 830-34.

*Mearns, K. & Reader, T. (2008). Organisational support and safety outcomes in the Oil and Gas industry: An un-investigated relationship? Safety Science, 46, 388-397. [IF: 1.4] 

Reader, T. (2008). Teamwork and Team Cognition in the Intensive Care Unit. University of Aberdeen. Doctoral Thesis.


Reader, T., Flin, R., Mearns, K., & Cuthbertson, B. (2007). Interdisciplinary communication in the Intensive Care Unit. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 98, 347-352. [IF: 4.2]

Reader, T, Flin, R, & Cuthbertson, B. (2007). Communication skills and error in the Intensive Care Unit. Current Opinions in Critical Care, 13, 732-736. [IF: 2.5] 

Reader, T., Flin, R., & Cuthbertson B. (2007). Teamwork in the Scottish ICU. Scottish Medical Journal, 52, 49.


Dr Tom Reader

"My work utilises organisational and social psychology theory to improve safety management in complex and risky organisations"

Publications page|