Dr Mark Robinson

Dr Mark Robinson


I started my academic journey with a BSc Social Psychology degree at Loughborough University, where I was fortunate to be taught by some of the UK's leading social scientists, including Professor Mick Billig and Professor Jonathan Potter. Following graduation, I secured a role as Human Resources Officer at Alstom Engines near Liverpool where I managed the training and development of the factory’s 500 employees. I then returned to academia to complete an MSc Research Methods in Psychology degree at the University of Bristol. The cognitive focus here complemented my social psychology background, and it was a real honour to spend time in a department with legendary psychologists such as Professor Alan Baddeley. After Bristol, I moved north again to take up my first academic job as a Research Associate at the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield. It was here that I became an organizational psychologist, largely under the expert guidance of the late Professor Chris Clegg whom I followed to the University of Leeds. Chris was hugely influential in my career, and I will always be grateful for his tremendous academic guidance, practical support, and friendship over the 15 years we worked together. During my decade at Leeds University Business School, I completed my PhD in Organizational Psychology and worked my way up from a researcher to my current position as Associate Professor and Director of the Socio-Technical Centre. I am extremely proud of our team's rigorous research into issues of real societal and business importance, and equally proud of our talented students who graduate each year and set out to change the world!


  • Director of the Socio-Technical Centre
  • Faculty Representative on the University's Ph.D. Examination Group

Research interests

I'm an organizational psychologist, which means I conduct research examining people's behaviours (what they do), cognitions (what they think), and emotions (how they feel) at work. Although a psychologist, much of my research is interdisciplinary, working with other social scientists and also experts from engineering and computer science. I'm particularly enthusiastic about this approach, as I believe that complex societal and business problems can only be addressed with integrated and systemic solutions. My main research interests currently fall within three key areas: (1) human performance, (2) safety management, and (3) quantitative research methods.

Within human performance, I am interested in assessing and developing people's potential (e.g., Robinson et al., 2005), identifying barriers to and facilitators of high performance (e.g., Crowder et al., 2012; McKay et al., 2019; Robinson, 2010), and understanding elite performance (e.g., Brown et al., 2018; Robinson, 2022).

Within safety management, I am interested in how to help people survive and avoid injury in emergencies and other non-routine situations, such as crowd events (e.g., Challenger et al., 2010; Radburn et al., 2018) and evacuations (e.g., van der Wal et al., 2017; van der Wal et al., 2021), and predicting and preventing malfunctions in socio-technical systems (e.g., Clegg et al., 2017; McKay et al., 2019).

Finally, within quantitative research methods, I am particularly interested in how social scientists can conceptualise and measure variables in more reliable and valid ways (e.g., Robinson, 2018; Unsworth & Robinson, 2020), use new techniques to examine complex systems more dynamically (e.g., Crowder et al., 2012; Hughes et al., 2012; van der Wal et al, 2021), and incorporate naturalistic data into our research (e.g., Robinson et al., 2021; Robinson, 2022).

I have been awarded £3.4 million of research funding (£8.3 million including consortia) from various organizations and research councils including EPSRC, Horizon 2020, and Innovate UK.


  • PhD Organizational Psychology (University of Leeds)
  • MSc Research Methods in Psychology (University of Bristol)
  • BSc Social Psychology (Loughborough University)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS) Occupational Test User (OTU) Assessor

Student education

At undergraduate level, I teach on the Management Research and Analysis (LUBS2910) module, which I founded. In this module, students learn to measure variables in a reliable and valid way, and examine relationships between variables using experimental and correlational research designs. Such quantitative skills and knowledge are essential for managers in today's information age, enabling them to detect patterns in data and make evidence-based business decisions.

At postgraduate level, I teach on the Selection and Training for Human Performance (LUBS5379M) module, which I founded. In this module, students learn to apply psychological theories and methods to selecting and training employees in a reliable and valid way. Being able to identify and develop talent effectively is essential for managers in today's global, competitive, and turbulent job market.

I am also a founding member of the teaching team on the MSc Organizational Psychology and MSc Business Psychology programmes, the former of which was recently re-accredited and commended by the British Psychological Society.

At doctoral level, I have supervised six PhD candidates through to graduation, all of whom are now working as academics at UK universities, and currently supervise four PhD candidates. I also represent the Faculty of Business on the University of Leeds' central PhD Examination Group.

Research groups and institutes

  • Workplace Behaviour Research Centre
  • Socio-Technical Centre

Current postgraduate researchers