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Dr Calvin Burns


Human Resource Management

Personal statement

I am an Industrial-Organisational Psychologist.  My work centres around the psychology of risk and trust in high-hazard / safety critical organisations like energy companies, hospitals, construction firms, and the military.  Specifically, I am interested in how people's automatic / pre-conscious attitudes about risk and trust influence their risk decision-making and risk-taking behaviours.  I am also interested in using psychometrics (personality and ability tests) to profile people's risk decision-making and risk-taking predispositions.

I also work with colleagues from diverse fields (e.g. Public Administration, Engineering, and Operational Research)  as part of an international risk research partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Dalhousie University (Canada).  As part of this network, I am currently working on projects about cyber-security, water security, and people's resilience to loss of critical infrastructure after terrorist attacks.


Has expertise in:

    • Personality and Ability Testing (psychometrics)
    • Assessing Safety Climate / Safety Culture
    • Measuring Risk and Trust in organisations



Measuring implicit trust and automatic attitude activation
Burns Calvin, Conchie Stacey
Handbook of Research Methods on TrustHandbook of Research Methods on Trust, (2015)
'Cyber gurus' : a rhetorical analysis of the language of cybersecurity specialists and the implications for security policy and critical infrastructure protection
Quigley Kevin, Burns Calvin, Stallard Kristen
Government Information Quarterly Vol 32, pp. 108-117, (2015)
Implicit and explicit risk perception, affect, and trust : an investigation of food "traffic lights"
McCarthy Tony, Burns Calvin, Revie Matthew
Proceedings of the Risk Perception and Response Conference, (2014)
Risk information source preferences in construction workers
Burns Calvin, Conchie Stacey
Employee Relations Vol 36, pp. n/a, (2013)
Measuring implicit trust and automatic attitude activation
Burns C., Conchie S.
Handbook of Research Methods on TrustHandbook of Research Methods on Trust, (2011)
Electronic adverse incident reporting in hospitals
Walsh Kerry, Burns Calvin, Antony Jiju
Leadership in Health Services Vol 23, (2010)

more publications



HR 206 Organisational Behaviour

HR 207 Work & Organisational Psychology

HR 208 Work Psychology for HRM

41 402 Advanced Organisational Behaviour



MS 962 Foundations of Risk



MG 914 Managing People in Organisations

Professional activities

International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management (Journal)
Editorial board member
External Examiner for PhD thesis
External Examiner
Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (Journal)
Peer reviewer
European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology
Invited speaker
EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) (External organisation)
Journal of Organizational Behavior (Journal)
Peer reviewer

more professional activities


Evacuating the Halifax Peninsula: Multidisciplinary Analysis and Training to Improve Evacuation from Coastal Floods
Quigley, John (Researcher)
Our research will provide two principal outcomes. First, we will issue a publically available report that summarizes our findings and recommendations for improvement of evacuations during floods. Secondly, we will develop a prototype for a collaborative game that can be used to train emergency managers for different evacuation scenarios, focussing on interdependence, time constraint, unanticipated human reactions, judgement, cooperation and accountability. Experience can be difficult to obtain in the context of evacuations because they happen so rarely; our prototype will help to develop skills and judgement so emergency managers can be more aware of context and better prepared should an event occur.
Period 01-Jan-2016 - 30-Apr-2017
Adapting to vulnerabilities in the transportation system's critical infrastructure: drawing lessons for risk governance from the redecking of the Macdonald Suspension Bridge in Halifax
Quigley, John (Researcher) Walls, Lesley (Researcher)
Beginning in August 2015, Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) will undertake an 18-month, $150-million project to re-deck the suspended spans of the Macdonald Bridge. It is the second time in history the suspended spans of a bridge have been replaced at night and in use during the day. The impact will be significant---up to 48,000 vehicles, 700 cyclists and 750 pedestrians cross the Bridge every day---yet the consequences of disruption to the Macdonald Bridge have never been studied. What constitutes 'critical infrastructure' (CI) and how we manage it are deeply embedded in social context (Boholm, 2012). The HHB's assumption of control over the project exemplifies a rationalist's bias: the project is being led by engineering firms; there is little community, and no social media planning; Bridge re-decking meetings are reserved for government regulators and CI owners and operators. To date, other than putting shuttle buses at the Bridge, the city has few plans for Bridge users. When re-decking begins, the impact will be felt broadly: people who use the Bridge off-peak will be under increased stress, particularly those who work non-standard work hours and disadvantaged groups with the least capacity to adapt, including low-income workers, the ill and elderly; there will be increased media coverage and a broader interpretation of a major CI event that is occurring in plain view in the Halifax Harbour. The International Risk Governance Council's (IRGC) framework is a tool for developing a holistic approach to risk governance (Renn, 2008). Risk governance can be defined as the totality of actors, rules, conventions, processes and mechanisms concerned with how relevant risk information is collected, analyzed and communicated, and management decisions are taken. That different risk traditions exist, use different methods and tools and have different interpretations of events is not new. What is less clear, however, is how these competing rationales are acknowledged, accommodated and reconciled (or rejected) in a successful risk governance process. Equally, the model assumes a degree of consistency in the social context; less has been written about how the model can help us to understand a dynamic process in which the key issues are reframed from complex to uncertain to ambiguous (Renn, 2008), and how this re-framing influences human behaviour and risk processes. The purpose of this research is threefold: (1) to understand the socioeconomic implications of restricting access to the Macdonald Bridge for extended periods; (2) to make recommendations about how communities can coordinate more effectively when infrastructure is disabled for extended periods; and (3) to make a contribution to the risk governance literature, examining competing risk rationales and risk tolerance and acceptance, in particular. We believe this a powerful learning opportunity for those studying the fuzzy concept of 'Smart City.' We have assembled an international multi-disciplinary team of risk specialists, with expertise in risk perception, risk modeling, urban planning, social media and institutional responses to risk.
Period 21-May-2015 - 21-May-2018
Platforms for Online Seminars for Risk Researchers
Quigley, John (Academic) Coulson, Andrea (Academic) Ramsay, Howard (Academic)
£10 379 from the "Roberts Fund" for provision and evaluation of online seminar, tutorial and support platforms for the doctoral and post-doctoral community.
Period 01-Oct-2008 - 30-Sep-2009
Trading Social Risk and Social Responsibility
Quigley, John (Academic) Coulson, Andrea (Academic)
£2000 funding from "Bridging the Gap" to conduct research and workshops on trading risk and social responsibility.
Period 01-Oct-2007 - 30-Sep-2008
International Risk Research Partnership
Quigley, John (Academic) Coulson, Andrea (Academic) Ramsay, Howard (Academic)
$250 000 (Cdn) from SSHRC (Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada) to develop an international risk research partnership including the delivery of online (Second Life) workshops. Industry partners include KPMG, Scottish Power, and Shell amongst others.
Period 01-Sep-2011 - 30-Sep-2014
Foundations of Risk
Quigley, John (Academic) Ramsay, Howard (Academic)
$100 000 (Cdn) from Canadian federal government (Canada School of Public Service) to deliver Foundations of Risk class, conduct knowledge exchange activities, and conduct research on teaching through Second Life with risk analysts in the Canadian federal government.
Period 01-Jul-2010 - 30-Mar-2012

more projects