Gillian Yeo

Associate Professor, BA PhD Qld

  • The University of Western Australia (M261), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 791 Citations
  • 14 h-Index
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Personal profile


Gillian Yeo is currently Associate Professor (Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour) at the UWA Business School. She completed her PhD in 2003 at the School of Psychology, University of Queensland. She then spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow and three years as a Lecturer in Organisational Psychology at the University of Queensland before moving to UWA. Her research concerns relationships among individual differences, situational factors and performance over time and across levels of analysis. She conducts this research in the laboratory (examining the factors that influence skill acquisition) and in the field (primarily relating to personnel training).

Roles and responsibilities

Contributing Editor, Journal of Applied Psychology
Contributing Editor, Personnel Psychology

Funding overview

2010: UWA Business School Research Development Award. Yeo, Day & Griffin. Managing Safety vs Productivity in Safety Critical Contexts ($15,860)

2009: University of Western Australia Research Collaboration Award ($8,000)

2009-2011: ARC Discovery Grant. Yeo, Loft & Smillie. Goal orientations, self-regulation and performance: Implications for accelerating learning via goal-setting interventions. ($139,000)
2008-2010: ARC Discovery Grant. Neal, Yeo & Kwantes. Developing and testing a dynamic model of the proximal and distal motivational processes responsible for the regulation of task-directed effort. ($336,000)
2007: University of Qld Early Career Researcher Grant ($17,000)
2006: University of Qld New Staff Start-Up Grant ($12,000)
2005: Research grant from Department of Industrial Relations, Qld Government ($20,859)
2005: Consulting grant from Department of Industrial Relations, Qld Government ($29,223)
2005: Consulting grants from a variety of Queensland government agencies ($6254.50)

Previous positions

Reviewer for articles submitted to the following journals:
Applied Psychology: An International Review
Australian Journal of Psychology
European Journal of Social Psychology
Human Relations
Journal of Applied Psychology
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Learning and Individual Differences
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Editorial Board
Journal of Applied Psychology

Grant Reviews:
Australian (“Oz” Reader for the Australian Research Council)
National Science Foundation

Current projects

Industrial Relevance

Gillian is currently conducting two large Australian Research Council Discovery projects. The first aims to enhance understanding regarding the types of goals that individuals bring to learning contexts. The project will examine the way in which these goals change with task practice, and how and why they relate to task performance at different time points. These aims have significant theoretical implications because we argue that the extent to which any given goal is effective versus ineffective depends on the stage of practice. The project also has important practical implications because the knowledge derived from this research will inform trainers’ decisions about what types of goal-setting interventions to apply and when to apply them in order to accelerate learning.

The second one aims to enhance understanding regarding the dynamic process of motivation that unfolds within individuals. The project will provide benefits for society, both in terms of its contribution to scientific knowledge and understanding, and potential applications for end users. The question of how people prioritise tasks, set goals, and apply effort is of fundamental importance for understanding human behaviour. Society benefits from basic research into this question, because it allows us to understand the sources of (and limits to) human resilience. The results have wide application in military, industrial and commercial settings. Examples include the development of tools for training people more effectively, managing their workload, and improving their performance.

Links with Industry

Royal Brisbane Hospital
Defence Research and Development Canada
Defence Science and Technology Organisation

Collaborations with Other Institutions

University of Queensland, Australia
University of London, UK
De La Salle University, Phillippines
Dayton University, USA

Teaching overview

Introduction to Human Resource Management (postgraduate)

Human Resource Management: Managing Jobs, Performanc and Wellbeing (undergraduate)


Gillian’s research concerns relationships among individual differences, situational factors and performance over time and across levels of analysis. Her research program is conducted in the laboratory and in the field. Her laboratory research focuses on micro relationships among individual differences and task performance during skill acquisition using a variety of complex air traffic control simulations. Her field research builds on her laboratory studies by investigating similar relationships at a macro level, primarily in a personnel training context. For example, she has conducted longitudinal evaluations of training initiatives in the Queensland Public Service (at the whole-of-government and departmental levels), and across all faculties at the University of Queensland. Her field research program also involves longitudinal investigations of university students involved in group projects in the Philippines and in the United States.
Gillian’s research has informed theory and practice in the field of organisational psychology by challenging assumptions drawn from traditional static, single-level research. She has shown that the way that individual differences influence performance within individuals can be different to the way that they predict differences between people. For example, she has demonstrated that as any given individual increases his or her desire to improve task mastery, subsequent performance tends to increase, whereas individuals who generally adopt a high mastery orientation will not necessarily outperform individuals with a low mastery orientation (Yeo, Loft, Xiao & Kiewitz, in press). Similarly, she has demonstrated that highly neurotic individuals in a sales environment can outperform their counterparts in some situations (Smillie, Yeo, Furnham & Jackson, 2006). Her research also shows that these relationships change over time, but not necessarily in predictable ways. In the latter example, the relationship only emerged on busy days, presumably because the highly neurotic individuals were too busy to engage in negative self-talk. Gillian’s research program has also allowed her to develop expertise in multilevel analysis.


  • Emotions
  • Job performance
  • Motivation
  • Organisational behaviour
  • Personnel training

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2009 2017

Research Output 2004 2018

  • 791 Citations
  • 14 h-Index
  • 26 Article
  • 4 Conference paper
  • 1 Chapter

A new look at compliance with work procedures: An engagement perspective

Hu, X., Griffin, M., Yeo, G., Kanse, L., Hodkiewicz, M. & Parkes, K., 1 Jun 2018, In : Safety Science. 105, p. 46-54 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Supervisory personnel

Does daily proactivity affect well‐being? The moderating role of punitive supervision

Cangiano, F., Parker, S. & Yeo, G., 30 Jul 2018, In : Journal of Organizational Behavior. 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mental Competency

The dynamics of avoidance goal regulation

Ballard, T., Yeo, G., B. Vancouver, J. & Neal, A., Dec 2017, In : Motivation and Emotion. 41, 6, p. 698-707

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Runaway Behavior
Avoidance Learning
Empirical Research
1 Citations

The effect of motor task precision on pupil diameter

Fletcher, K., Neal, A. & Yeo, G., 1 Nov 2017, In : Applied Ergonomics. 65, p. 309-315 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations

An integrative formal model of motivation and decision making: The mgpm

Ballard, T., Yeo, G., Loft, S., Vancouver, J. B. & Neal, A., Sep 2016, In : Journal of Applied Psychology. 101, 9, p. 1240-1265

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Decision Making
Decision Theory