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Associate Professor David Tappin staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43384

Associate Professor David Tappin PhD, MSc

Associate Professor

School of Management


I am a member of two research groups within the School of Management: the Healthy Work Group, and the Sustainability & CSR Research Group.  My research concerns the nature and quality of work and its effects on health, sustainability and performance. For this I adopt a socio-technical systems approach, which recognises the range of system elements involved and the inter-relationships between people across these elements.  This approach helps to identify organisational and management practices, as well as related social and cultural factors, that have an influence on wellbeing and performance.  A sociotechnical systems perspective also requires the collaborative development and implementation of interventions through participation with both internal and external stakeholders of work systems. This perspective complements and overlaps with components of occupational health and safety management, employment relations, human resource management, and social sustainability.


External Research Roles

Editorial Board Member - Journal of Management & Organization

Editorial Board Member - Applied Ergonomics

Editorial Board Member - Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management

As an academic in the School of Management I teach courses in HR/ER, Decent Work and Project Management, and I supervise postgraduate students.  I am a co-director of the Healthy Work Group - a research team involved in evaluating and addressing psychosocial risks in work, and I am a member of the human ethics committee in Albany.  I have been at Massey University since 2011.  Before this I was a self-employed consultant and a researcher with Scion (a Crown Research Institute).

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Contact details

  • Location: QA 3.06, Quad A
    Campus: Albany


  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (2009)
  • Master of Science - Loughborough University (1989)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My areas of research interest primarily concern what leads to meaningful and sustainable work and include: psychosocial factors at work, sociotechnical systems design, social sustainability, health and safety culture, and some consequences of unhealthy work including work-related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace bullying and workplace violence.


21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Business and Management (150300): Commerce, Management, Tourism And Services (150000):
Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705):
Human Resources Management (150305): Industrial Relations (150306):
Medical And Health Sciences (110000):
Organisational Behaviour (150311):
Public Health and Health Services (111700)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 4

Completed Projects

Project Title: Evaluating a qualitative safety culture assessment tool for musculoskeletal disorder prevention

Safety culture has been identified as a critical element of healthy and safe workplaces and as such warrants the attention of those involved in occupational health and safety (OHS). This study sought to evaluate a tool for assessing organisational safety culture as it impacts a common OHS problem: musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The level of advancement across nine cultural aspects was assessed in two implementation site organisations. These organisations, in residential healthcare and timber processing, enabled evaluation of the tool in contrasting settings, with reported MSD rates also high in both sectors. Interviews were conducted with 39 managers and workers across the two organisations. Interview responses and company documentation were compared by two researchers to the descriptor items for each MSD culture aspect. An assignment of the level of advancement, using a five stage framework, was made for each aspect. Assessments for most MSD culture aspects were in the mid to upper levels of advancement, although the levels differed within each organisation, indicating that different aspects of MSD culture, as with safety culture, develop at a different pace within organisations. The tool provides another perspective for better management of MSD risk.
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Date Range: 2012 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Consultancy and Languages


  • January 2014 - September 2014 - ACC
    MSD Intervention Design in Residential Construction - involves the collection of ideas from 60 builders in Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch on how they manage musculoskeletal disorder risks.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

  • Managing employment relations
  • Managing human resources
  • Project management

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 1 0
Co-supervisor 2 5

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Nicola Green - Doctor of Philosophy
    The impact of telehealth videoconferencing services on work systems for key stakeholders in NZ: a sociotechnical systems approach

Co-supervisor of:

  • Benjamin Mrowinski - Doctor of Philosophy
    The impact of Artificial Intelligence on the future of employment within New Zealand
  • Zoe Port - Doctor of Philosophy
    Shining a light on moonlighting: Investigating the psychosocial work environments of multiple job-holders

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Kazunori Kobayashi - Doctor of Philosophy
    Corporate Approaches to Human Sustainability: Workforce Wellbeing in Large Japanese Companies
  • 2018 - Jason Cordier - Doctor of Philosophy
    Practicing strategy: Making sense of the activities and approaches of the HR function in a Sri Lankan Commercial Bank.
  • 2017 - Natalia D'Souza - Doctor of Philosophy
    Cyberbullying at Work: Exploring Understandings and Experiences
  • 2017 - Felipe Meyer Cohen - Doctor of Philosophy
    Workforce sustainability in the Chilean logging sector: using an ergonomics approach
  • 2016 - Aymen Sajjad - Doctor of Philosophy
    Embedding Sustainability into Supply Chain Management: A New Zealand Perspective

Media and Links


  • 23 Mar 2012 - Magazine
    Life in the health and safety sector
    Invited to appear as the 'Hi-Vis' profile for Safeguard Magazine (Mar/April 2012, page 29)
  • 11 Oct 2012 - Television
    Workplace wellbeing
    Interviewed by Close Up (TVNZ) on work-rest patterns

Other Links

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