Dr Helen Hughes

Dr Helen Hughes


I joined Leeds University Business School in 2007 and am currently the Programme Director for the BPS accredited MSc in Organisational Psychology. I lead the Faculty-wide ‘Year in Industry’ module, taken by students who take the industrial placement year during their undergraduate studies in the Business School. I am currently the module leader for ‘The Psychology of Effective Organizations’ (LUBS5381), but have also taught across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules, such as ‘Commercial and Professional Skills' (postgraduate), ‘Occupational Psychology’ (postgraduate), ‘Organisations and the Human Resource’ (UG level 2), and ‘Organisational Behaviour’ (UG level 1).

I continue to be research active within the Socio-Technical Centre (STC) and the Workplace Behaviour Research Centre (WBRC). I have held a number of advisory and consultancy roles working with organisations such as Rolls-Royce, Jaguar-Land-Rover, The National Health Service, Marks & Spencer, Yorkshire Water, and Arup.


  • MSc Organizational Psychology Programme Director

Research interests

My main research interests are in the following areas:

  • The ways that social interactions influence and shape jobs and careers
  • New ways of working, job design, job crafting and work organization
  • Team and group behaviours in relation to complex systems, service design, social networks, job design and professional sport
  • Systems design, and socio-technical thinking and practice
  • Organizational change and change management
  • Applied methods e.g. modelling and simulation, social network analysis

Awarded Research Funding

I have been awarded a number of major research grants including:

System Understanding & Sub-System Utopia through Design Integration and Optimisation (SUSSUDIO) (Principal Investigator)

Project Value: c£19.5m (value to UoL: £141,049)

Funded by Innovate UK, beginning July 2017.

Overcoming Barriers to Mainstreaming Assisted Living Technologies (MALT) (Co-Investigator)

Project Value: c£1.71m (value to UoL: c£757,577)

Funded by the Innovate UK and ESRC, beginning May 2011.

Funded Research Projects

I have worked on a range of academic research projects, including:

  • System Understanding & Sub-System Utopia through Design Integration and Optimisation (SUSSUDIO) This project examines the implementation of a new business process in one of the worlds leading aerospace engineering companies. My research focuses on the role that the seeking and sharing of different types of advice play in concurrent engineering teams, as well as the influence that workspace plays in effectiveness, and productivity.
  •  Understanding the Value of Work Placements I am engaged in pedagogical research, exploring how students derive value through their work placements, and how work placements help to shape the career trajectory of new graduates. The research employs mixed methodologies, and explores the longitudinal consequences of work placements on students skill development, knowledge acquisition and subsequent related career progression.
  • Mainstreaming Assisted Living Technologies (MALT) This project is sponsored by the TSB and ESRC. Our work aims to understand the business models and systems required to mainstream telehealth in the NHS.
  • Advice behaviours: A social network approach This project was funded through the SILOET project. It used a mixed methods research design to explore advice behaviours in concurrent aerospace engineering teams, and considered the implications for the design of jobs and work. The outputs of this project included a typology advice behaviours and a framework model for understanding social job design.
  • High Performing and Robust Systems" (HIPARSYS) This project was a multi-disciplinary collaboration, sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover. In our part of the project we worked collaboratively with computer scientists at the University of Southampton, and used agent based (computer) modelling and simulation to understand and explain team working behaviours amongst concurrent design teams. The project aimed to develop long-term capability in order to better understand organizational behaviours, and to reduce the risks associated with organizational change.
  • Positive Action Research in Education and Health (PAREH) This project was funded by the ESF. The project explored peoples aspirations and experiences of Positive Action as a means of promoting equality of opportunity in the whole employment cycle.


  • PhD Management
  • MSc Organizational Psychology (Distinction)
  • BSc Psychology (1st class hons)
  • Chartered Occupational Psychologist (BPS)
  • Registered Psychologist (HCPC)

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society
  • Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) (Chartered Occupational Psychologist
  • Registered Practitioner Psychologist (HCPC)
  • Member of the Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP)
  • Member of the BPS Division of Academics Researchers and Teachers of Psychology (DARTP)
  • Member of the BPS Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology (DSEP)
  • Professional Member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)

Student education

Current Teaching Portfolio (2019/20):

Programme Director:

  • MSc Organizational Psychology

Module Leadership

  • The Psychology of Effective Organizations (LUBS5381)
  • Training in the Workplace (LUBS8001)


  • Systems Thinking and Consulting Practice (LUBS5385, and LUBS5875 Executive-MBA)

I supervise Post Graduate Researchers (PhDs) and MSc dissertations.

I currently co-deliver the Occupational Test User training programme offered to MSc Organizational Psychology and Business Psychology students at Leeds.

I have been a personal tutor to students across the Faculty, as well as an Access to Leeds tutor, focusing on widening participation.

Research groups and institutes

  • Workplace Behaviour Research Centre
  • Socio-Technical Centre

Current postgraduate researchers