Kerrie Unsworth

Kerrie Unsworth

Chair in Organizational Behaviour, Management Division
Head of Division

+44(0) 113 343 4310
Staff, Academic, Workplace Behaviour Research Centre (WBRC), Socio-Technical Centre (STC), Management
2.10 Charles Thackrah




PhD, Institute of Work Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK

Post-Graduate Honours, Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia

Bachelor of Science, University of Queensland, Australia



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. (in press). Creativity and multiple goals. In L. Martin and N. Wilson (Eds), Handbook of Creativity at Work. Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan.

Unsworth, K.L., & Tian, A. (in press). Motivation and green HRM: Overcoming the paradox. In D. Renwick (Ed), Green Human Resource Management. Oxford: Routledge Publishing.

Unsworth, K.L., & Hardin, M.T. (2016). Thinking about philosophical methods in Human Resources. In K. Townsend and R. Loudoun (Eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in HRM. Surrey: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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

Bindl, U., Unsworth, K.L., Gibson, C. & Stride, C.B. (in press). Job crafting revisited: Implications of an extended framework for active changes at work. Journal of Applied Psychology.  

Unsworth K.L., Kragt D, Johnston-Billings A (in press)  Am I a leader or a friend? How leaders deal with pre-existing friendships The Leadership Quarterly 4 ABS-ranked journal

Luksyte, A., Unsworth, K.L., & Avery, D. (in press). Innovative work behavior and sex-based stereotypes: Examining sex differences in perceptions and evaluations of innovative work behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, accepted 12 July, 2017.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal; Impact Factor
: 3.854.

Russell, S.V., Young, C.W., Unsworth, K.L., & Robinson, C. (2017). Bringing habits and emotions into food waste behaviour. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 125, 107-114.
Impact Factor: 4.14.

Unsworth, K.L. & McNeill, I. (2017). Increasing pro-environmental behaviors by increasing self-concordance: Testing an intervention. Journal of Applied Psychology, 102, 88-103.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 6.82.

Unsworth, K.L., Russell, S.V., & Davis, M.C. (2016). Is dealing with climate change a corporation’s responsibility? A social contract perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1212.
Impact Factor: 2.89

Unsworth, K.L., & Mason, C.M. (2016). When does self-management work best? The importance of self-concordance as a boundary condition for self-management. Journal of Organizational & Occupational Psychology, 89(4), 711-733.  
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 3.50.

Seivwright, A.N., & Unsworth, K.L. (2016). Making sense of corporate social responsibility and work. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00443
Impact Factor: 2.89

Unsworth, K.L., Yeo, G., & Beck, J. (2014). Managing multiple goals. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(8), 1064-1078.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked;
Impact Factor: 3.854

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.
ABDC A*-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 5.236

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.
ABDC A*-ranked journal.; Impact Factor: 2.571

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.
3* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.048.

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
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 3.854.

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
2* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC B-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.877.

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. 3* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.786.

Murphy, G., Chang, A., & Unsworth, K.L. (2012). Differential effects of ERP systems on user outcomes. New Technology Work & Employment, 27(2), 147-162.
ABDC B-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 0.735.

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
2* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC B-ranked journal.

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.
3* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.048.

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.
3* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 3.833.

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.
2* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC B-ranked journal.

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.
3* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 1.278.

Unsworth, K.L., Rogelberg, S., & Bonilla, D. (2010).  Emotional expressive writing to alleviate euthanasia-related stress. Canadian Veterinary Journal, 51(7), 775-777.
ABDC C-ranked journal but with high occupational impact; Impact Factor: 0.474.

Unsworth, K.L., & Clegg, C.W. (2010). Why do employees undertake creative action? Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 83(1), 77-99.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.480.

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.
ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 1.638.

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

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

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.
ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 1.489.

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.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal; Impact Factor: 2.480.

Unsworth, K.L. (2001). Unpacking creativity. Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 286-297.
Highlighted in Harvard Management Update, 6(6), 12.
4* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal;  Impact Factor 7.817.

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.
4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal, Impact Factor: 2.480.

Manuscripts under Review

Bindl, U., Unsworth, K.L., & Gibson, C. (R&R). Job crafting revisited: How needs and moods influence active changes at work. First revise & resubmit at Journal of Applied Psychology (4* ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A*-ranked journal).

Caliburn, A., & Unsworth, K.L. (under review). Negotiating multiple geographically-separated identities and its effect on retention. Submitted to Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (4 ABS-ranked journal; ABDC A-ranked journal).



Edited Conference Proceedings

Unsworth, K.L. (Ed.) (1998). International Work Psychology Conference Book of Proceedings. Institute of Work Psychology: Sheffield. ISBN No: 0953350401.

Best Paper Awards for Refereed Conference Papers

Unsworth, K.L. & McNeill, I. (2015, August). Not just talking to the “greenies”: Testing an intervention based on increasing self-concordance. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Conference, 7-10 August, Vancouver. AWARDED AND PUBLISHED IN BEST PAPER PROCEEDINGS

Unsworth, K.L. (2010, September). “Human technology”: Improving sustainable mining operations by improving motivation. Paper presented at Australian Mining Technology Conference, September, Perth. AWARDED MOST OUTSTANDING PRESENTATION

Unsworth, K.L., Mazzarol, T., & Reboud, S. (2009, December). Turning an innovation intention into a reality: The role of external agencies. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, 5-10 December, Melbourne. AWARDED BEST PAPER FOR TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION MGT STREAM

Unsworth, K.L., Sawang, S., Murray, J., & Sorbello, T. (2009, August). Developing and testing an integrative framework for understanding innovation adoption. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Conference, 7-10 August, Chicago. AWARDED AND PUBLISHED IN BEST PAPER PROCEEDINGS


2014           Awarded the UWA Vice-Chancellor's Mid-Career Research Excellence

2014           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award – Undergraduate Coursework (full application   not submitted)

2012           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award - Undergraduate Coursework (full application not submitted)

2011           Awarded the UWA Dean’s Research Fellowship

2011           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award – Postgraduate Supervision (full application not submitted)

2010           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award - Undergraduate Coursework (full application not submitted)

2009           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award - Undergraduate Coursework (full application not submitted)

2008           Nominated for Excellence in Teaching Award - Undergraduate Coursework (full application not submitted)

2006           Awarded the QUT Dean’s Innovation in Teaching Award

2004           Awarded the QUT Dean’s Research Encouragement Award

1998           Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council CASE PhD Studentship

Grants & Funding

2013           Defence Science Technology Organisation (Category 3: Industry research); $123,000; Unsworth; Communication in Submarine Teams: Understanding communication practices to aid in the design of the new submarine

2011           National Climate Change Adaptation Research Fund (Category 1 funding); $490,804; Unsworth, Lewandowsky, Morrison, Russell, Fielding & Lawrence; What about me? Climate change coping and adaptation in vulnerable populations

2011           National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority Research Funding (Category 3: Industry research); $55,890; Griffin, Hodkiewicz, Cordery, Unsworth, & Morrison; Fitness to operate: Stage One

2010           CRCMining Grant  (Category 4: Competitive peer-reviewed funding); $115,000; Unsworth; High reliability organising in the mining industry.

2010           UWA Research Collaboration Award; $12,000; Unsworth & Morrison; GROWing Your Organisation - Building Collaborations with an International WUN Network of Green Behaviour Scholars

2010           BHP Billiton Research Funding (Category 3: Industry research); $41,850; Unsworth; Understanding tool-time at Mt Whaleback and Port Hedland maintenance

2009           CRCMining Grant  (Category 4: Competitive peer-reviewed funding); $364,964; Unsworth & Hodkiewicz; Motivation for Collecting High Quality Data

2008            UWA Business School Teaching Grant; $2,840; Unsworth; Using OB to Aid the Process of Learning OB

2006           ARC Discovery Grant; 2006-2008 (Category 1 funding); $125,941; Unsworth, Mason & Epitropaki; Self-Leadership Towards Employee Innovation and Well-Being

2004           ARC Linkage Grant; 2004-2007 (Category 1 funding); $215,000; Unsworth, Ryan & Kabanoff; Organizational Innovation Adoption: The Effect of External, Technology Diffusion Agencies

2004           Canadian Social Sciences Research Council (Competitive, peer-reviewed funding); $100,000; Turner & Unsworth; Constructing Safety

2004           Queensland Department of Treasury (Category 3: Industry research); $58,000; Chang & Unsworth; Employee Census

2003           QUT Faculty of Business Research Initiative Grant; $4,599; Unsworth; Gratitude in the Postgraduate Supervision relationship.

2002           QUT School of Management New Staff Grant; $5,000; Unsworth; Creativity Audit Test

2002           QUT Faculty of Business New Staff Grant; $1,500; Unsworth; Creativity Audit Development

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