Work Psychology
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Work Psychology research group


The Work Psychology Research Group is dedicated to applying psychological principles to promote effective working practices, foster constructive relationships and solve workplace problems. 

The group share a commitment to excellence in teaching, research and practice, and a passion for using psychology to make a difference.  

Applied psychology students


Research issue 

Our research has a multi-level focus, emphasising beneficial outcomes for individuals, teams, organisations, and the community at large.

This group’s expertise lies in: the development and validation of work-based psychometric scales and measures; aggression and bullying in the workplace and other settings; productive and disruptive work behaviour; and managing diversity and supportive relationships in the workplace.

Our staff includes specialists in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and consequently our research demonstrates a wide range of different modes of investigation and analysis.

What we are doing about...

Perhaps list the top three current projects within your research group with links off to more information? 

1. Psychometric scale development and assessment

Funded by research councils, professional organisations as well as business, our research here informs the scientific community as well as making an impact in the practice and use of psychometric scales and tools. Key developments in this area involve the creation of International Guidelines on Computer-based and Internet delivered testing, the development of a personality-based integrity test, and the creation, validation and test of invariance of a tool to assess voluntary workplace behaviour – this latter research funded by the ESRC (   

Currently, we are working on projects including the development of a suitability to collaborate selection tool for use in the construction industry; assessment of the lower-order structure of personality and we have been awarded an ESRC DTC scholarship to examine observer ratings of personality and the extent these show incremental validity over self-ratings of personality in an occupational selection context. Further, Dr Coyne is Senior Editor of the British Psychological Society’s Test Reviews.


2. Workplace aggression and bullying

Our expertise covers the broad constructs of workplace violence and aggression as well as more specific behaviours of bullying and cyberbullying. Specifically, we have examined the role of personality in workplace bullying, bullying from a group perspective and bullying across different cultures and settings (e.g.

More recently, the focus has moved towards understanding cyberbullying, its conceptualisation and its impact in a working context. Collaboratively, we have worked with the Business School in researching cyberbullying (griefing) in Second Life and currently we are working on a project with the University of Sheffield, initially started with funding from the ERSC Festival of Science, to develop a tool to assess cyberbullying in the workplace and to examine, longitudinally, the impact of cyberbullying on individual well-being. Further, Dr Coyne was a Management Committee member and working group leader on a European COST action (IS0801) on ‘Cyberbullying: coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies, in relationships in educational settings’ (


3. Productive and counterproductive behaviour at work

We focus our research here on examining supportive and unsupportive leader behaviour and employee productive and counterproductive work behaviour. In terms of employee productive/counterproductive behaviour, Dr Coyne received an ESRC-funded grant examining the relationship between productive and counterproductive work behaviour across four European countries. Further, his research is now beginning to consider the negative side of productive (Organisational Citizenship) behaviour.

Dr Leather is currently engaged in research seeking to identify the actual behaviours that employees use in differentiating ‘supportive’ and ‘unsupportive’ line managers. This work is being conducted across a range of health care and local authority contexts. Identifying the impact of manager behaviour upon employee work attitudes, well-being and behaviour is an important element of this research. The design and evaluation of interventions to promote supportive manager behaviour is a further sub-theme within this strand of the group’s research. A full-time PhD in this area is being funded by an outside provider of occupational psychology services.


4. Resilience, capability and well-being

A new and emerging research theme being developed within the group focuses upon promoting and supporting resilience and capability within workforces, whether at the individual or team level of analysis. The role of the physical environment in influencing well-being at work is a further research theme being pursued within the group with current activity focusing upon the physical workplace as a symbolic communication of organisational support and employee values. A (part-time) PhD is to follow in an area likely to focus upon factors influencing individual and team resilience in ambulance work.

Dr Gavin is currently collaborating with researchers at MMU Business School and Lancaster University on a global study on stress in stress experts. The purpose of this study is to explore whether expert knowledge and awareness has an impact on our stress levels and coping mechanisms. To this end, we are auditing the stress experiences of experts in the field of occupational stress and comparing these with stress levels in non-experts within academia.


Research within this group has been funded by research councils, professional organisations and the commercial sector and has been disseminated via peer reviewed publications, national and international conferences as well as policy guidance.


Key scientific and practice outputs include:

  • Coyne, I and Gountsidou, V. (in press). The Role of Industry in Reducing Cyberbullying. In Smith, P. K. & Steffgen, G. (Eds.) Cyberbullying: Research on coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies, London: Psychology Press
  • Coyne, I., Gentile, D., Born, M., Cem, N. & Vakola, M. (2013). The Relationship between Productive and Counterproductive Work Behaviour across Four European Countries. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 22, 4, 377-389.
  • Harris, B. and Leather, P., 2012. Levels and consequences of exposure to service user violence: evidence from a sample of UK social care staff British Journal of Social Work. 42(5), 851-869

For a more detailed outline of publications please view individual staff profiles.







Work Psychology

Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology
School of Medicine, University of Nottingham
Institute of Mental Health, Innovation Park, Triumph Road
Nottingham, NG7 2TU

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 0418