Nottingham University Business School
  • Print

Professor Carl Macrae

BSc (Hons) (University of Manchester), PhD (University of East Anglia)
Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Psychology

Department: Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management
Centres/Institutes: CHILL, WEORG
Tel: +44 (0) 115 9515254
Location: C17 (North Building, Jubilee Campus)

Carl Macrae is an applied psychologist specialising in the management, governance, regulation and improvement of safety and resilience in complex sociotechnical systems. His work primarily focuses on healthcare and transport, with a particular interest in the governance of artificial intelligence and autonomous systems.

Carl's research uses a range of ethnographic and qualitative methods to understand the sociotechnical sources of risk, safety, reliability and resilience in critical systems; the practical work of interpreting and learning from disruptive events; and the social, cultural and organisational processes involved in managing and regulating risk and enacting learning and improvement.

Carl regularly advises organisations, regulators and policymakers on challenging safety and risk issues. He is currently the National Professional Advisor for Patient Safety at England's health and care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Previously, his work led to a Parliamentary inquiry and subsequent establishment of the first national, learning-focused safety investigation body for healthcare in England, the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). He has acted as Specialist Advisor and been called as an expert witness to Parliamentary Select Committee inquiries on these issues and the associated legislation.

Carl is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Psychology at Nottingham University Business School. He is also Professor II in the SHARE Centre for Resilience in Healthcare at University of Stavanger, Norway; Visiting Professor of Human Factors and Digital Safety at Halmstad University, Sweden; a Fellow of the British Psychological Society; and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Previously he has been a Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow, Special Advisor at the NHS National Patient Safety Agency, Associate Director of Research and Evaluation at the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch and an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow. He has held research appointments at Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University of Oxford and University of Leicester. He has also been an academic visitor at Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, Australian National University and Cranfield University.


The following lists my publications from 2014 to the present day.

Enter a search term into the filter box to only display rows containing that search term. You can also sort columns by clicking on the appropriate header.

Clear Filter Rows per Page:

Carl is module convenor of the following module(s):


Ethics, Governance and Risk - Exec (BUSI4047)

Details of all modules can be found on MyNottingham

My research explores how people and organisations learn, innovate and improve in societally critical industries that manage significant risks and are subject to considerable regulatory scrutiny—such as transport, healthcare and energy. I specifically aim to explain the practical work that is involved in the accomplishment of resilience, safety and sustainability in sectors where those outcomes are particularly challenging to achieve. As part of this research agenda, I seek to understand how organisational activities and strategies can be disrupted by new innovations or unexpected events, the ways in which complex organisations and regulatory systems can fail, and the learning and sensemaking activities that unfold around those disruptions and surprises.

My research programme is oriented to both developing new theory and directly informing practice and policy, and addresses five interrelated arenas:

- Integrating human and artificial intelligence
- Regulatory learning for technological change
- Organisational resilience and cultures of reliability
- Learning through disruption and investigation
- Simulation, demonstrators and systems improvement

Keywords: improvement science, system safety, organisational resilience, incident investigation, risk regulation, sensemaking

Carl is currently supervising the following Research Students:

Nguyen Anh Thoai Le


Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus

Contact us