Zander Wedderburn

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Alexander Wedderburn
Alexander Allan Innes Wedderburn

(1935-05-09)9 May 1935
Died23 February 2017(2017-02-23) (aged 81)
Scientific career
FieldsPsychology, occupational psychology

Alexander Allan Innes "Zander" Wedderburn (9 May 1935 – 23 February 2017) was a British psychologist and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Heriot-Watt University.

Early life[edit]

In May 1935, Wedderburn was born in Edinburgh.[1] Wedderburn's father was Alexander Archibald Innes Wedderburn, a lawyer and auditor to the Court of Session. Wedderburn's mother was Ellen Innes Jeans.


Wedderburn graduated from Exeter College, Oxford in 1959 and was awarded a Ph.D. by Heriot-Watt in 1992.


Between 1968 and 2000, Wedderburn lectured at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

After his retirement, Wedderburn founded publishing company Fledgling Press.

Wedderburn taught occupational psychology in the School of Management at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, for 32 years, and was a Professor Emeritus there.[2] Most of his teaching was in the area of making occupational psychology available to business students and engineers, and in his final three years he established a part-time M.Sc. in Occupational Psychology taught jointly with Strathclyde University.

His main research impact was on hours of work and shiftwork, where he became an internationally known authority, building on a British Steel Corporation Fellowship in 1970-72.

His particular interest was in the interface between research and practice, with several measured practical interventions, a ten-year stint as editor of the Bulletin of European Shiftwork Topics,[1] and founding editor of the Shiftwork International Newsletter. He was President of the British Psychological Society in 2003/2004,[2] only the third occupational psychologist to achieve this in the past fifty years.[3]

He was a Fellow Member of the Working Time Society.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1960, Wedderburn married Bridget Johnstone. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Wedderburn died of oesophageal cancer on 23 February, aged 81.[5][6]


  • Gray J. A. and Wedderburn A. A. I., (1960) "Grouping strategies with simultaneous stimuli". Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 12, 180-184.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1967) Social factors in swiftly rotating shifts. Occupational Psychology, 41, 85-107.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1972) Sleep patterns on the 25-hour day in a group of tidal shiftworkers. Studia Laboris et Salutis, 11, 101-106.
  • Keenan, A. and Wedderburn, A. A. I., (1975) Effects of non-verbal behaviour of interviewers on candidates’ impressions. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 48, 129-132.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1975) EEG and self-recorded sleep of two shiftworkers over four weeks of real and synthetic work. In Experimental Studies of Shiftwork, edited by W. P. Colquhuoun et al., Forschungsberichte des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen 2513.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1978) Some suggestions for increasing the usefulness of psychological and sociological studies of shiftwork. Ergonomics, 21, 827-833.
  • Keenan, A. and Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1980), Putting the boot on the other foot: candidates’ descriptions of interviewers. ;;Journal of Occupational Psychology, 53, 81-89
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1987) Unintentional falling asleep at work: what can you do about it In Contemporary advances in shiftwork research , ed. Oginski et al., Krakow, Medical Academy.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1987) Sleeping on the job: the use of anecdotes for recording rare but serious events. Ergonomics, 30, 1229-1233.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1991) Guidelines for shiftworkers. Bulletin of European Shiftwork Topics 3. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Dublin.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1992) How fast should the night shift rotate? A rejoinder. Ergonomics, 35, 1447-1451
  • Wedderburn A. A. I. and Scholarios, D. (1993) Guidelines for shiftworkers: trials and errors. Ergonomics, 36, 211-217
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1993) Teaching grandmothers how to suck eggs: do shiftworkers need rules or guidelines? Ergonomics, 36.
  • Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1995) Men and women who like continuous shiftwork are more ‘hardy’: but what does it mean? Work & Stress, 9, 206-210.
  • Quinn, K. M., King, C., Slawek, K. and Wedderburn, A. A. I. (1995) The effectiveness of an individually tailored health education intervention for 24hr shiftworkers. Paper presented at the XII Symposium on Night and Shiftwork, Connecticut.
  • Monk, T. H., Folkarc, S. and Wedderburn A. A. I. (1996) Maintaining safety and high performance on shiftwork. in Applied Ergonomics, 27, 17-23
  • Wedderburn A. A. I. Rankin D. (2001) An intervention using a self-help guide to improve the coping behaviour of nightshift workers and its evaluation. HSE Books.


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: 'Zander' Wedderburn, international authority on the psychology of shift work". The Scotsman. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "New President" (PDF). The Psychologist. British Psychological Society. 16 (4): 181. April 2003. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Zander Wedderburn 1935 - 2017: Obituary - Heriot-Watt University". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Working Time Society (WTS) - Fellow and Honorary Members". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Zander Wedderburn 1935-2017 - The Psychologist". Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  6. ^ Bamber, Greg (28 March 2017). "Zander Wedderburn obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2017.

External links[edit]