RNLI lifeboat crew in a boat on the water

Individual, occupational and organisational performance research

Explore our research in individual, occupational and organisational performance

Our internationally-recognised research in Individual, Occupational and Organisational Performance evaluates and enhances working practices, encompassing a spectrum of high-performance environments. 

The theme has expertise across a number of scientific disciplines including psychology, physiology, sports management, skill acquisition, and biomechanics, which informs multidisciplinary research in sport and other occupational domains.

The research conducted by the theme draws upon an array of fundamental and applied science approaches including social science methodologies, laboratory techniques, and longitudinal interventions to inform novel insights tailored towards performance enhancement.

Our research covers the following topics:

  • Occupational and Performance Physiology

Research in this area focuses on a range of high-performance domains, including work with elite athletes, military contexts, and the development of physical employment standards. Our research expertise has led to the enhancement and understanding of legally defensible physical employment standards for organisations, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Maritime and Coast Guard Agency, the Energy Industry, and Royal Air Force. 

Additionally, group members have collaborated with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, advancing current understanding of physiological issues relevant to soldier performance and research conducted with professional sporting bodies has focussed on optimising performance and reducing maladaptation to elite athletes.

A person on a static bicycle with a mask on
  • Cultural, Organisational and Performance Psychology

Our research in this area has been instrumental in implementing global changes to the education, training, and delivery of sport and exercise psychologists in performance contexts. This work has led to improved support underpinning both the performance and wellbeing of a range of stakeholders in high-performance domains.

Our research also explores the culturally diverse methods and mechanisms through which safe sport contexts
may be developed in order to support the development of systems that promote individuals' mental well-being and their ability to thrive on pressure.

  • Skill and Human Movement

This research strand has developed current understanding of human skill and the control of movement across the lifespan, working across varying performance domains from elite sport to health and safety practice.

Our research has adopted novel multidisciplinary methods, including the integration of mobile eye tracking and motion capture technologies, biomechanical measures, and stress and anxiety manipulations.

A focus of our work is centred on performance enhancement of perceptual-motor skill and movement patterns through training interventions, including but not limited to, skill acquisition, biofeedback, strength and conditioning, and performance analysis practices.

Man running on a treadmill with motion sensors on his body
  • Sport Management and Governance

Research in the Management and Governance strand includes projects undertaken within the Referee and Match Official Research Network, which centres on working environment and operational conditions for match officials.

This strand also has a focus on contemporary topics in sports management and governance including underrepresented populations, such as women in sport, global considerations in sport management education, and duty of care and safeguarding of youth. Research within these areas has led to global changes in sport. For example, our match official work has resulted in the introduction of red cards in cricket, understanding the effects of sports official abuse across sports and countries on match official recruitment and retention, and equality standards recommendations in football governance.

If you have any queries about the Individual, Occupational and Organisational Performance theme, please contact the research theme lead, Dr Matt Miller-Dicks (matt.miller-dicks@port.ac.uk)

Discover our areas of expertise

Individual, occupational and organisational performance is one of three areas of expertise within our Sport and Exercise Science research area – explore the others below.

Physical Activity, Health and Rehabilitation

We're investigating ways to increase physical activity, how to rehabilitate individuals from conditions that prevent them from being active, and exploring the positive benefits of physical activity in a variety of clinical and non-clinical contexts.

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Interested in a PhD in Sport and Exercise Science?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Sport and Exercise Science postgraduate research degrees page.