Portrait of Professor Yannis Georgellis

Professor Yannis Georgellis

Professor of Management


Professor Georgellis is known for his work on happiness, adaptation, and employee well-being. Spanning across several disciplines, his research explores psychological aspects of decision-making processes within the general context of employee happiness, well-being, and engagement, and their impact on organisational performance.

Research interests

Psychological aspects of decision-making processes within the general context of employee happiness, well-being, and engagement, and their impact on organisational performance.
Yannis has been a main contributor to happiness and behavioural science research. He is currently working on two main projects investigating ‘Behavioural aspects of entrepreneurship and self-employment dynamics’ and ‘Personality, leadership, and organisational outcomes’.
Professor Georgellis has published numerous articles in the areas of human resource management, organisational behaviour, applied psychology and behavioural economics. His work has appeared in such journals as  

  • Human Resource Management
  • Journal of Vocational Behavior
  • Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
  • Economic Journal
  • British Journal of Management
  • Psychological Science
  • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 

His work has attracted several thousand citations in Google Scholar and he is a top 5% author in the REPEC worldwide citation rankings. Professor Georgellis is a Distinguished Associate of the International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES).


Yannis’s portfolio of taught courses includes Contemporary Employment Studies; Managerial Economics; Labour Economics; Microeconomics, International Human Resources Management; Human Resources Management in Context; Behavioural Science in Management; Managing People, Information, and Knowledge; Personnel Economics for Managers.
At Kent he teaches: 

  • CB684: Strategic Human Resource Management
  • CB9050: Reward and Performance Management
  • CB935: Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management 


Yannis is interested in supervising PhD theses on subjects related to Human Resource Management, Organisational Behaviour and Entrepreneurship.

Current Supervisees

  • Rufus Howard: Institutional Bureaucracy and Environmental Governance  

Past Supervisees

  • Emmanouil Apergis: Attitude toward risk, career success and wellbeing
  • Kathryn Day: Making IT Work: A Study of an NHS Trust's Efforts to Implement A Successful Technochange Project Norhafizah 
  • Abu Hasan: The Effect of Talent - and Knowledge Management on the Performance of SMEs: Evidence from Malaysia
  • Donna Knowles: Why do SME Owners use Web-based Technologies? 


Professor Georgellis is invited regularly to speak at policy and practitioner events and has organised various conferences to bridge the gap between academia, policy, and practice, including:

  • CRESS-Humanistic Management Center: Happiness and Wellbeing at work, 21 June 2013
  • CRESS-CEDEFOP: Skills Mismatch and Firm Dynamics- Integrating skills with the world of work, 27 April 2012 



  • Georgellis, Y., Garcia, S., Gregoriou, A. and Özbilgin, M. (2019). Pay Referents and Satisfaction with Pay: Does Occupational Proximity Matter?. British Journal of Management [Online] 30:578-592. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12272.
    We explore whether employees compare their pay to the pay of others in a similarly prestigious occupation and, if so, whether this comparison has a negative impact on pay satisfaction. Using an experimental vignette methodology, Study 1 found that people are more inclined to compare with others from a similar or identical occupation and that comparison negatively impacts pay satisfaction. This comparison and its negative effect is particularly strong in high‐prestige occupations. Based on survey data, Study 2 also showed that the average pay of others in occupations of similar prestige is negatively correlated with employees’ pay satisfaction. This negative correlation was also stronger in higher‐prestige occupations. Our analysis highlights the importance of occupational prestige as a main factor influencing pay comparison.
  • Georgellis, Y., Garcia, S., Gregoriou, A. and Özbilgin, M. (2017). Pay referents and satisfaction with pay: Does occupational proximity matter?. British Journal of Management [Online] 30:578-592. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12272.
    We explore whether employees compare their pay to the pay of others in a similarly prestigious occupation, and, if so, whether this comparison has a negative impact on pay satisfaction. Using an experimental vignette methodology, Study 1 found that people are more inclined to compare to others from a similar or identical occupation and that comparison negatively impacts pay satisfaction. This comparison and its negative effect is particularly strong in high prestige occupations. Based on survey data, Study 2 also showed that the average pay of others in occupations of similar prestige is negatively correlated with employees’ pay satisfaction. This negative correlation was also stronger in higher prestige occupations. Our analysis highlights the importance of occupational prestige as a main factor influencing pay comparison.
  • Apergis, N. and Georgellis, Y. (2017). Regional Unemployment and Employee Loyalty: Evidence from 12 UK Regions. Regional Studies [Online] 52:1283-1293. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2017.1363882.
    This study investigates the relationship between unemployment and employee loyalty across UK regions. It is argued that higher regional unemployment depresses wages and increases the cost of a potential job loss, thus providing an incentive for employees to be loyal to their employer. Using data from the Work and Employment Relations Survey (WERS), the results confirm the positive association between regional unemployment and employee loyalty. A disaggregated analysis by type of business reveals that this association is stronger in the private sector. The study adds a spatial dimension to an emergent literature that examines how unemployment affects the employed.
  • Georgellis, Y. and Yusuf, A. (2016). Is becoming self-employed a panacea for job satisfaction? Longitudinal evidence from work to self-employment transitions. Journal of Small Business Management [Online] 54:53-76. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsbm.12292.
    Using British longitudinal data, we investigate whether individuals enjoy a permanent boost in their job satisfaction by becoming self-employed. We track individuals before and after transitions from work to self-employment and record changes in their job and domain satisfaction scores. We find that job satisfaction follows a rising trajectory immediately upon transition into self-employment and a declining trajectory in subsequent years, as expectations fail to materialize and the novelty of the new venture wanes down. Thus, our findings confirm that job satisfaction gains are not necessarily permanent, suggesting that self-employment is not always a panacea for job satisfaction.
  • Apergis, N. and Georgellis, Y. (2015). Does Happiness Converge?. Journal of Happiness Studies [Online] 16:67-76. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10902-013-9495-y.
    Using the Phillips and Sul (Econometrica 75:1771–1855, 2007) club convergence and clustering procedure, we examine happiness convergence dynamics across Europe. Although we reject the hypothesis of full convergence, we find evidence of distinct happiness convergence clubs. Against the background of a weak link between income and happiness in the existing literature, we advocate that happiness convergence is a legitimate policy goal on its own right as well as a useful barometer of changes in the political landscape, societal values, and citizens’ sentiments about developments in the European Union.
  • Tabvuma, V., Georgellis, Y. and Lange, T. (2015). Orientation Training and Job Satisfaction: A Sector and Gender Analysis. Human Resource Management [Online] 54. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hrm.21650.
    Using data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), we investigate how various types of job training impact upon employees’ job satisfaction and its domains. We find that orientation training exerts a significant positive effect on newcomer male employees’ job satisfaction in both the private and public sectors, but it increases the job satisfaction of newcomer female employees only in the public sector. Other types of job training have only a weak effect on job satisfaction. We attribute the predominance of orientation training as a strong predictor of job satisfaction to its important function of facilitating the workplace socialization of new employees by reducing the uncertainty about aspects of the job that are not always easily contractible. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Clark, A. and Georgellis, Y. (2013). Back to Baseline in Britain: Adaptation in the British Household Panel Survey. Economica [Online] 80:496-512. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecca.12007.
    We look for evidence of adaptation in wellbeing to major life events using eighteen waves of British panel data. Adaptation to marriage, divorce, birth of child and widowhood appears to be rapid and complete; this is not so for unemployment. These findings are remarkably similar to those in previous work on German panel data. Equally, the time profiles with life satisfaction as the wellbeing measure are very close to those using a twelve-item scale of psychological functioning. As such, the phenomenon of adaptation may be a general one, rather than being found only in German data or using single-item wellbeing measures.
  • Georgellis, Y. and Lange, T. (2012). Traditional versus Secular Values and the Job-Life Satisfaction Relationship Across Europe. British Journal of Management [Online] 23:437-454. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2011.00753.x.
    Using data from the European Values Survey (EVS), we examine the relationship between job and life satisfaction across Europe. We find that for the majority of employees job and life satisfaction are positively correlated, thus supporting the spillover hypothesis, whereby attitudes and practices developed in the life domain spill over into the work domain and vice versa. In contrast, we find little support for the compensation hypothesis, whereby employees who are dissatisfied in one domain seek compensatory rewards in the other domain. However, multivariate analysis reveals that the strength of the interaction between job and life satisfaction is mitigated by cultural values and interpersonal trust, as encapsulated in the ‘traditional versus secular values’ index reported in the EVS data. We thus find that predictors of the job–life satisfaction relationship vary across cultures and that such cross-cultural variations are systematically related to salient cultural values and beliefs. The latter findings raise important questions about the universal application of existing theories in the subjective well-being arena.
  • Georgellis, Y., Lange, T. and Tabvuma, V. (2012). The impact of life events on job satisfaction. Journal of Vocational Behavior [Online] 80:464-473. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2011.12.005.
    Employing fixed effects regression techniques on longitudinal data, we investigate how life events affect employees' job satisfaction. Unlike previous work–life research, exploring mostly contemporaneous correlations, we look for evidence of adaptation in the years following major life events. We find evidence of adaptation following the first marriage event, but we find that the birth of the first child has a long-lasting impact on employees' job satisfaction. Our findings also suggest that there is a general boost in job satisfaction prior to first marriage and to a lesser extent prior to the birth of the first child, consistent with evidence of anticipation. Accordingly, our study provides some of the first evidence on the dynamic effect of non-work related factors on job satisfaction and it introduces a novel methodology and a new perspective for investigating the dynamic interaction between the work and life domains.
  • Clark, A., Georgellis, Y. and Sanfey, P. (2012). Job Satisfaction, Wage Changes, and Quits: Evidence from Germany. Research in Labor Economics [Online] 35:499-525. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0147-9121(2012)0000035041.
  • Georgellis, Y., Iossa, E. and Tabvuma, V. (2011). Crowding Out Intrinsic Motivation in the Public Sector. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory [Online] 21:473-493. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jopart/muq073.
    Employing intrinsically motivated individuals has been proposed as a means of improving public sector performance. In this article, we investigate whether intrinsic motivation affects the sorting of employees between the private and the public sectors, paying particular attention to whether extrinsic rewards crowd out intrinsic motivation. Using British longitudinal data, we find that individuals are attracted to the public sector by the intrinsic rather than the extrinsic rewards that the sector offers. We also find evidence supporting the intrinsic motivation crowding out hypothesis, in that, higher extrinsic rewards reduce the propensity of intrinsically motivated individuals to accept public sector employment. This is, however, only true for two segments of the UK public sector: the higher education sector and the National Health Service. Although our findings inform the literature on public service motivation, they also pose the question whether lower extrinsic rewards could increase the average quality of job matches in the public sector, thus improving performance without the need for high-powered incentives.
  • Georgellis, Y., Gregoriou, A. and Tsitsianis, N. (2008). Adaptation towards reference values: A non-linear perspective. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization [Online] 67:768-781. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2007.08.007.
    Using large-scale panel data, we examine the dynamics of adjustment towards reference points for key workplace attributes. We discover that an Exponential Smooth Transition Autoregressive (ESTAR) model is superior to a linear model in characterizing such a process. The speed of adjustment increases non-linearly with the distance from reference points and adjustment is faster for job satisfaction shocks compared to shocks in earnings or work hours. Our findings lend further credence to the relative utility hypothesis and highlight the inherently non-linear nature of the dynamic path of adjustment towards reference points, a previously neglected issue in the adaptation literature.
  • Clark, A., Diener, E., Georgellis, Y. and Lucas, R. (2008). Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis. The Economic Journal [Online] 118:F222-F243. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2008.02150.x.
    We look for evidence of habituation in twenty waves of German panel data: do individuals tend to return to some baseline level of well‐being after life and labour market events? Although the strongest life satisfaction effect is often at the time of the event, we find significant lag and lead effects. We cannot reject the hypothesis of complete adaptation to marriage, divorce, widowhood, birth of child and layoff. However, there is little evidence of adaptation to unemployment for men. Men are somewhat more affected by labour market events (unemployment and layoffs) than are women but in general the patterns of anticipation and adaptation are remarkably similar by sex.
  • Georgellis, Y. and Lange, T. (2007). Participation in continuous, on-the-job training and the impact on job satisfaction: longitudinal evidence from the German labour market. International Journal of Human Resource Management [Online] 18:969-985. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585190701321112.
    A number of studies in the human resources literature acknowledge the importance of workplace training for inducing organizational commitment on the part of workers. However, small sample sizes and the absence of relevant panel data have raised concerns about the general validity of results and highlighted the need for further research to explicitly include on-the-job training as an important facet of job satisfaction. A similar empirical gap exists in the economics and industrial organization literature, where, despite the importance of both on-the-job training and job satisfaction to influence labour productivity, the relationship between the two has received surprisingly little attention. The aim of this paper is to bridge this gap in our knowledge and assess the impact of further training on job satisfaction in the western regions of Germany. We use data derived from the German Socio-economic Panel, which covers the period 1984 to 2002. Concentrating on full-time employed individuals, we focus in particular on the 1989, 1993 and 2000 interview waves, which include a number of questions on work-related training and offer detailed information on the type and duration of training received, and whether employers sponsored such training. The empirical results of the study provide information about the decision to participate in further training and the latter's impact on job satisfaction. Gender inequality issues in Germany's segmented labour market are explained by reference to discrepancy theory, equity theory, social exchange theory and the perception of a breach in the psychological contract between firms and female trainees.
  • Lucas, R., Clark, A., Georgellis, Y. and Diener, E. (2004). Unemployment Alters the Set Point for Life Satisfaction. Psychological Science [Online] 15:8-13. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.01501002.x.
    According to set-point theories of subjective well-being, people react to events but then return to baseline levels of happiness and satisfaction over time. We tested this idea by examining reaction and adaptation to unemployment in a 15-year longitudinal study of more than 24,000 individuals living in Germany. In accordance with set-point theories, individuals reacted strongly to unemployment and then shifted back toward their baseline levels of life satisfaction. However, on average, individuals did not completely return to their former levels of satisfaction, even after they became reemployed. Furthermore, contrary to expectations from adaptation theories, people who had experienced unemployment in the past did not react any less negatively to a new bout of unemployment than did people who had not been previously unemployed. These results suggest that although life satisfaction is moderately stable over time, life events can have a strong influence on long-term levels of subjective well-being.
  • Lucas, R., Clark, A., Georgellis, Y. and Diener, E. (2003). Reexamining adaptation and the set point model of happiness: Reactions to changes in marital status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology [Online] 84:527-539. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.3.527.
    According to adaptation theory, individuals react to events but quickly adapt back to baseline levels of subjective well-being. To test this idea, the authors used data from a 15-year longitudinal study of over 24,000 individuals to examine the effects of marital transitions on life satisfaction. On average, individuals reacted to events and then adapted back toward baseline levels. However, there were substantial individual differences in this tendency. Individuals who initially reacted strongly were still far from baseline years later, and many people exhibited trajectories that were in the opposite direction to that predicted by adaptation theory. Thus, marital transitions can be associated with long-lasting changes in satisfaction, but these changes can be overlooked when only average trends are examined.
  • Clark, A., Georgellis, Y. and Sanfey, P. (2001). Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment. Economica [Online] 68:221-241. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0335.00243.
    This paper considers the psychological impact of past unemployment. Using 11 waves of German panel data, we show that life satisfaction is lower not only for the current unemployed (relative to the employed), but also for those with higher levels of past unemployment. However, the negative wellbeing effect of current unemployment is weaker for those who have been unemployed more often in the past. The panel data also reveal some evidence that those suffering greater falls in wellbeing on entering unemployment are less likely to remain unemployed one year later. Together, these findings offer a psychological explanation of persistent unemployment.


  • Abu Hasan, N. (2016). The Effect of Talent- and Knowledge Management on the Performance of SMEs: Evidence from Malaysia.
    The role of Talent Management (TM) and Knowledge Management (KM) in organisational performance has received increased attention across a number of disciplines in recent years. Determining the impact of TM and KM on organisational performance especially financial and innovation performance is important for the future of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). There is a growing body of literature that recognises the importance of TM and TM for sustainable competitive advantages. Although TM,KM and their consequences are important, they are nonetheless understudied, which have led to some concern about these issues especially in an emerging country like Malaysia. As such, this PhD thesis has empirically tested the relationship between TM and KM and their effects on organisational performance. In addition, this study has also examined the interaction effect of senior managements' perception of the strategic importance of HR on the aforementioned relationships in a multi-industry sample of 144 Malaysian SMEs. It has used the resource-based view theory in its framework to place more emphasis on the ability of managers to drive better performance from the strategic human capital resources available to them. Supported by the too-much-of-a-good thing effects in management, the results have indicated inverted U-shape curvilinear relationships of TM-KM strategies and organisational performance. Furthermore, the results have also suggested that senior management's emphasis on strategic HR would have its primary interaction effects on KM strategy implementation and financial performance relationship. However, the positive influence has been positively significant at low level of senior managements' attention. This finding has shown the capability of Malaysian SMEs in implementing both of these strategies and underscored the importance of senior management in emphasising the importance of strategic human capital resources.
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