Kerrie Unsworth

Kerrie Unsworth

Chair in Organizational Behaviour, Management Division
Head of Division

+44(0) 113 343 4310
Academic, Socio-Technical Centre (STC), Management, Staff, Workplace Behaviour Research Centre (WBRC)
G26 Liberty Building


PhD, Organisational Psychology, Sheffield
BSc (Hons), Psychology, Queensland


Dr Kerrie Unsworth is a Professor at Leeds University Business School. She is interested in studying motivation, creativity, pro-environmental behaviours and well-being. Underlying each of these is an interest in understanding how we juggle the different priorities we have at work and at home; and how we can make our working lives more fulfilling and productive.Kerrie obtained an Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Queensland in 1994 and a PhD from the Institute of Work Psychology at the University of Sheffield in 2001. Her PhD was based on increasing the creativity and innovativeness of design engineers in Rolls Royce plc and BAE Systems. She has won over £1 million in funding and has been cited over 2000 times in academic journals. Her work has appeared in prestigious journals across a number of disciplines including Academy of Management Review, Global Environmental Change, Reliability Engineering & Safety Systems, & Journal of Organizational Behavior.A training program that came out of an Australian Research Council Discovery grant (PositiveU) is now a successfully commercialised program being used by many private and public sector organisations across Australia. Modified versions have also been incorporated into the curricula at UWA and QUT as well as at high schools such as Perth College. Please contact Kerrie for more details on using this program. Finally, Kerrie is currently an Editorial Board member of Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Frontiers in Organizational Psychology; and is the Treasurer for the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management. 


Kerrie’s research focuses on how we juggle our goals, tasks and identities and the effect this has on motivation and particular behaviours such as creativity and pro-environmental behaviour. Her current projects include:

·         Workplace factors affecting CSR and pro-environmental behaviour – what can a company do to increase socially-responsible and pro-environmental behaviours in its employees?

·         Goal conflict between work productivity, pro-environmental behaviour and creativity – what happens when being a good employee means not being green or not being creative? How can you have both?

·         Goal conflict in subsistence farmers – when will small-scale farmers in developing countries adopt conservation agriculture practices and when will they discard these practices?

·         Identity conflict – can you be a leader and a friend?

·         Perceptions of creativity – are men, younger people and Caucasians more likely to be seen as creative than women, older people and Asians when doing the same behaviour? What effect does this have on further discrimination?

·         Task and identity-specific motivation – how can we increase motivation for specific tasks (such as creativity or pro-environmental behaviour) or specific identities (such as being a leader) while taking into account a person’s other tasks, goals and identities?

·         Physiology and organisational behaviour – how does our body’s physiology (e.g., heart rate variability) affect how we behave at work?

If you are interested in any of these questions in your own company, please contact Kerrie. She is also looking for PhD students in these areas so please contact her if you are interested in answering these questions.


Kerrie teaches in the areas of leadership, organisational behaviour, and team-working.


Professor of Organisational Behaviour

Head of the Management Division 

Subject Group Leader, Organisational Behaviour, Management Division 

PhD supervisor

External PhD examiner


Book Chapters

Unsworth, K.L. & Hardin, M.T. (in press). Thinking about philosophical methods in HRM. In K. Townsend & R Loudoun (Eds.), Handbook on Qualitative Research Methods. Elsevier

Unsworth, K.L. (2015). Green me up Scotty: Psychological interventions to increase pro-environmental behaviours. In J. Barling and J. Robertson (Eds.), The Psychology of Green Organizations. NY: Oxford University Press.

Unsworth, K.L., & Luksyte, A. (2015). Is all creativity created equal? Types of creativity and their effects. In C. Shalley, M. Hitt and J. Zhou (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Multilevel Linkages. NY: Oxford University Press.

Day, D.V., & Unsworth, K.L. (2013). Goals and self-regulation: Emerging perspectives across levels and time. In E. Locke and G. Latham (Eds.), New developments in goal-setting and performance. Taylor & Francis.

Unsworth, K.L., & Parker, S.K. (2003). Proactivity and Innovation: Promoting a new workforce for the new workplace. In D. Holman, T.D. Wall, C. Clegg, P. Sparrow, and A. Howard (Eds), The New Workplace: People, Technology and Organization. A Handbook and Guide to the Human Impact of Modern Working Practices (pp.175-196). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Unsworth, K.L., & West, M.A. (1999). Teams: The challenges of cooperative work. In N.Chmiel (Ed.), Introduction to Work & Organizational Psychology (pp.137-146). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

West, M.A., Borrill, C.S., & Unsworth, K.L. (1998). Team effectiveness in organizations. In C. Cooper & I. Robertson (Eds.), International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Reprinted in C. Cooper & I. Robertson (Eds.), Organizational Psychology and Development: A Reader for Students and Practitioners. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

West, M.A., & Unsworth, K.L. (1998). Developing a team vision. In G.M. Parker (Ed.), Handbook of Best Practices for Teams (Vol 2) (pp.295-310). NJ: HRD Press.

West, M.A., & Unsworth, K.L (1997). Innovate to survive. Reference Book for Employers, 3, 13-17. 

Refereed Journal Articles

Unsworth, K.L., & Mason, C.M. (R&R). When does self-management work best? The importance of self-concordance as a boundary condition for self-management.  

Young, C.W., Davis, M.C., McNeill, I.M., Malhotra, B., Russell, S., Unsworth, K., & Clegg, C.W. (2015). Changing Behaviour: Successful Environmental Programmes in the Workplace. Business Strategy and the Environment, 24(8), 689-703. doi: (7) 

Unsworth, K.L. & McNeill, I. (2015). Increasing pro-environmental behaviors by increasing self-concordance: Testing an intervention. Journal of Applied Psychology (8)

Unsworth, K.L., Yeo, G., & Beck, J. (2014). Managing multiple goals. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(8), 1064-1078.

Unsworth, K.L., & Fielding, K. (2014). It's political: How the salience of one's political identity affects climate change beliefs and support for government policies. Global Environmental Change, 27, 131-137.

Griffin, M.A., Hodkiewicz, M., Dunster, J., Kanse, L., Finnerty, D., Cordery, J. & Unsworth, K.L. (2014). A conceptual framework and practical tool for assessing fitness-to-operate in the offshore oil and gas industry. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 68, 156-171.

Molina, R., Unsworth, K.L., Hodkiewicz, M., & Adriasola, A. (2014). Are managerial pressure, technological control and intrinsic motivation effective in improving data quality? Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 119, 26-34.

Young, W., Davis, M., McNeill, I., Malhotra, B., Russell, S., Unsworth, K.L., & Clegg, C.W. (2013). Changing behaviour: Successful environmental programmes in the workplace.  Business Strategy and the Environment. doi: 10.1002/bse.1836.

Unsworth, K.L., Dmitrieva, A., & Adriasola, E. (2013). Changing behavior: Increasing the effectiveness of workplace interventions in creating pro-environmental behavior change. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 34(2), 211-229.

Unsworth, K.L., & Mason, C.M. (2012). Help yourself: The mechanisms through which a self-leadership intervention influences strain. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17(2), 235-245.

Murphy, G., Chang, A., & Unsworth, K.L. (2012). Differential effects of ERP systems on user outcomes. New Technology Work & Employment, 27(2), 147-162.

Unsworth, K.L., Sawang, S., Murray, J., Sorbello, T., & Norman, P. (2012). Understanding innovation adoption: Effects of orientation, pressure and control on adoption intentions. International Journal of Innovation Management, 16(1). DOI: 10.1142/S1363919611003593.

Unsworth, K.L., Adriasola, E., Johnston-Billings, A., Dmitrieva, A., & Hodkiewicz, M. (2011). Goal hierarchy: Improving asset data quality by improving motivation. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 96, 1474-1481.

Sawang, S., & Unsworth, K.L. (2011). Why adopt now? Multiple case studies and survey studies comparing small, medium and large firms. Technovation: The International Journal of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Technology Management, 31(10-11), 554-559.

Sawang, S., & Unsworth, K.L. (2011). A model of organizational innovation implementation effectiveness in small to medium firms. International Journal of Innovation Management, 15(5), 989–1011.

Unsworth, K.L., Turner, N., Williams, H.M., & Piccin-Houle, S. (2010). Giving thanks: The relational context of gratitude in postgraduate supervision. Studies in Higher Education, 35(8), 871-888.

Unsworth, K.L., Rogelberg, S., & Bonilla, D. (2010).  Emotional expressive writing to alleviate euthanasia-related stress. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 51(7), 775-777.

Unsworth, K.L., & Clegg, C.W. (2010). Why do employees undertake creative action? Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 83(1), 77-99.

Carroll, A., Houghton, S., Wood, R., Unsworth, K.L., Hattie, J., Gordon, L., & Bower, J. (2009). Self-efficacy and academic achievement in Australian high school students: The mediating effects of academic aspirations and delinquency. Journal of Adolescence, 32, 797-817.

Robertson, J., Sorbello, T., & Unsworth, K.L. (2008). Innovation implementation: The role of technology diffusion agencies. Journal of Technology Management Innovation, 3(3).

Unsworth, K.L., & Kauter, K. (2008). Evaluating an earlybird scheme: Encouraging early assignment writing and revising. Higher Education Research & Development, 27(1), 69-76.

Sawang, S., Unsworth, K.L., & Sorbello, T. (2007). An exploratory study of innovation effectiveness measurement in Australian and Thai SMEs. International Journal of Organisational Behaviour, 12(1), 110-126.
ABDC C-ranked journal

Unsworth, K.L., Wall, T.D., & Carter, A.J. (2005). Creativity requirement: A neglected construct in the field of employee creativity. Group & Organization Management, 30(5), 541-560.

Clegg, C.W., Unsworth, K.L., Epitropaki, O., & Parker, G. (2002). Implicating trust in the innovation process. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 75(4), 409-422.

Unsworth, K.L. (2001). Unpacking creativity. Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 286-297.
Highlighted in Harvard Management Update, 6(6), 12.

Unsworth, K.L., McKee, K.J. & Mulligan, C. (2001). When does old age begin? The role of attitudes in age parameter placement. Social Psychological Review, 3(2), 5-15.

Axtell, C.M., Holman, D.J., Unsworth, K.L., Wall, T.D., Waterson, P.E. & Harrington, E. (2000). Shopfloor innovation: Facilitating the suggestion and implementation of ideas. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 73(3), 265-286.

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