Personal details

Name
Professor Paula McDonald
Position(s)
Professor
QUT Business School,
Management
Discipline *
Business and Management, Sociology, Psychology
Phone
+61 7 3138 5318
Fax
+61 7 3138 1313
Email
Location
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles
ORCID iD LinkedIn
Qualifications

Doctor of Philosophy (Queensland University of Technology)

Professional memberships
and associations
Keywords

Work and organisation studies, Social Policy, Sociology of work, Workplace Discrimination and Harassment, Public/private boundaries, Social media in employment, Youth education to work transitions, Work in the digital economy

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008

Biography

Paula McDonald is Professor of Work and Organisation and visiting Professor at Queen Mary University London. Paula is also Director of the Work/Industry Futures Research Program in the QUT Business School. The Program’s three areas of inter-disciplinary focus – sustainable governance; employability and education; and just work – address the profound social implications arising from a globalised, ‘collaborative’ economy characterised by rapid and extensive technological change.

Paula’s research addresses topics which span: the dimensions of digital platform work; education to work transitions for young people; social media in employment; customised and flexible work; and socio-legal aspects of workplace discrimination.

Paula has published over 100 academic journal articles, books, chapters and industry reports. She has been awarded seven Australian Research Council grants including a Future Fellowship from 2013-16; five as lead investigator. Total funding for competitive and commercial research grants is over $3 million.

Paula’s research has had demonstrable impact via expert testimony, workplace training, commissioned research reports, media engagement, inquiry submissions, membership on steering committees, and speaking engagements. Her research was selected for submission to Excellence in Research Australia 2018 in Field of Research code 15, being recognised as the most impactful of all management, marketing, finance and accounting research conducted at QUT.

Paula’s experience in higher education governance is reflected in her election and appointment to key university-level committees including QUT Council; University Human Research Ethics Committee; Academic Misconduct panels; Research Degrees Committee; ERA Research Quality groups; and the University Promotions Committee. Paula is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to an academic career, Paula held clinical and research roles in child and adolescent psychiatry, medical education and public health. She is a registered psychologist and a senior fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

This information has been contributed by Professor Paula McDonald.

Teaching

Teaching Areas

  • Research design and methods: quantitative and qualitative
  • Research and professional ethics
  • Sociology of work
  • Organisational behaviour
  • Professional and career development

Teaching Philosophy:  Teaching and learning is a socially-situated practice. The approaches and strategies used in my teaching are framed by four broad principles: (1) that scholarly learning requires sustained engagement with bodies of knowledge derived from diverse disciplinary perspectives; (2) a focus on connecting phenomena of interest at different analytic levels (regulatory, organisational, individual); (3) engagement between students and teachers is enhanced through imparting relevant, pragmatic experience gained through practice in the field; and (4) a need to understand the current employment, educational or practice environment in which students seek to participate.

These philosophies are closely aligned with the research-intensive academic roles I have undertaken since completing my PhD in 2004. My teaching has comprised unit coordination and lecturing at under-graduate and post-graduate levels, the supervision of higher degree research students (Honours, Masters, PhD), career mentoring for early career academic staff, and delivering capacity building seminars to research students and academic staff.

I currently coordinate and teach quantitative and qualitative research design and methods (BSN502 Research Methodology).

This information has been contributed by Professor Paula McDonald.

Experience

Over the past 15 years, Paula has worked closely with organisations in the public, private and community sectors on collaborative research projects which advance social justice in and beyond the workplace.

Currently, she leads an ARC Discovery and cross-institutional team which is examining the economic, socio-spatial and work organisation dimensions of digital platform work and the implications of this for Australian regulatory and policy responses. Findings from an examination of technological disruption in the Australian photographic industry has revealed substantial resistance to work that is organised through digital platforms, suggesting that the propensity for workers to engage, depends on the motivations and professional or occupational norms of those involved. Currently, the research team are exploring how platforms organise and control work in relation to aged/disability care and design/knowledge occupations.

Also in the field of technology and work, Paula’s research has addressed the ‘contested terrain’ of social media in employment. This includes how workers and managerial agents understand, manage, and negotiate tensions between personal and professional behaviours on social media platforms, and the magnitude of concerns about privacy, professionalism, autonomy, and regulation. This research has been published in journals including the International Journal of Management Reviews and Human Resource Management Journal.

Paula’s ARC Future Fellowship adopted interdisciplinary perspectives from employment relations and youth studies to ask how young Australians conceive of their rights and responsibilities in employment, the extent to which they can enact these capacities and immunities, and how they anticipate their future engagement in the formal economy. The research built on an earlier ARC Linkage grant which examined how school students aged 13-16 understood and negotiated their formative experiences of paid work. In this field of education to work transitions, Paula has also published widely on unpaid work and internships, including being an author of the first Australian prevalence study commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Employment. Her current work in this area addresses the supports required by young, disadvantaged job-seekers to find and stay in employment and the emergence of ‘internship brokers’ which charge fees to place students/graduates in open market internships. The research has been published in journals including Human Relations, Work, Employment & Society, Journal of Youth Studies, Sociology, International Journal of Management Reviews, and Australian Journal of Labour Law.

Paula is one of Australia’s foremost experts on workplace sexual harassment. Her research spans a 10 year period and has been supported by an ARC Discovery grant on the causes and solutions to this costly workplace problem. Paula has worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission on successive national reviews and prevalence studies and related codes of practice for employers. She has also provided expert advice and testimony to the Canadian House of Commons, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Legal Aid Qld. In 2018, Paula contributed to the development of new sexual harassment policies governing the United Nation’s global workforce and locally, delivered workplace training to Qld Corrective Services managers. Currently, she is the academic member of an expert panel for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s review into sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in Victoria Police (2016-18) and an invited member of the University of California Berkeley global Comparative Equality and Antidiscrimination Group. She is also exploring the impacts of the global #MeToo movement. Paula’s research on workplace sexual harassment has been published in journals including Work, Employment & Society, International Journal of Management Reviews and International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Paula’s research in the area of work-life boundaries spans two decades and has been supported by an ARC Linkage grant with explored policy-practice gaps in the Qld public sector and an ARC Discovery which involved replicated data collection in the Australian Defence Force, Suncorp and five small NGOs to examine work customisations from a social exchange perspective. The research has informed changes to HR management practices in partner organisations including induction programs; the introduction of a new ‘phased retirement policy’; and the development of specialised management training. The findings are relevant to diverse workplace settings, as indicated by invited presentations to audiences in early childhood, defence, school education, management consultancy, public sector departments, and human rights agencies. This research has been published in journals including the British Journal of Management, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Journal of Management and Organization and Journal of Industrial Relations.

Prior to an academic career, Paula worked in clinical and research roles in the health sector, including at the Royal Brisbane and Children’s Hospitals, the Men’s Support and Advisory service, the Brisbane North Division of General Practice and Queensland Medical Education Centre at the University of Queensland. She is a registered psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

This information has been contributed by Professor Paula McDonald.

Publications

For publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Awards

Awards and recognition

Type
Advisor/Consultant for Community
Reference year
2017
Details
Commissioned to write expert report for Legal Aid Queensland for case of sexual harassment taken to the Fair Work Commission
Type
Advisor/Consultant for Industry
Reference year
2017
Details
Expert adviser to the review of sexual harassment and drug abuse in the University of Sydney Colleges conducted by LizBroderick Consulting
Type
Advisor/Consultant for Industry
Reference year
2017
Details
Expert adviser to the Australian Human Rights Commission / Universities Australia Review into sexual harassment and sexual violence on Australian university campuses (Respect.Now.Always).
Type
Appointment to State/National/International Reference Group or Government Committees
Reference year
2017
Details
Invited international academic adviser to the Employment Relations and Equality Institute, Manchester University Business School
Type
Appointment to State/National/International Reference Group or Government Committees
Reference year
2017
Details
Invited expert panel member (one of four) to the Review into Sexual Harassment, Sex Discrimination and Predatory Behaviour in Victoria Police, conducted by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
Type
Membership of a Statutory Committee
Reference year
2017
Details
Elected staff member representative to QUT Council.
Type
Recipient of a Nationally Competitive Research Fellowship
Reference year
2016
Details
ARC Future Fellowship (20113-16)
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2015
Details
Leone Warne Memorial Award for the best paper at the 2015 Defence Human Science Symposium, Sydney.
Type
Appointment to State/National/International Reference Group or Government Committees
Reference year
2015
Details
Expert witness: Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women in an investigation into sexual harassment in the federal workplace.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Title
Working the Gig Economy: The Organisation of Digital Platform Work
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP180101191
Start year
2018
Keywords
Title
Identifying effective strategies to grow and sustain a professional early years workforce
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP140100652
Start year
2014
Keywords
Early Childhood Education And Care; Professional Identity; Workforce
Title
Customising Work through Manager-Employee Exchange
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP120101560
Start year
2012
Keywords
Customised Work Arrangements; Flexible Work; Right To Request; Social Exchange; Ideosyncratic Deals; Employment Relations
Title
Young people and work: pathways to industrial citizenship
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
FT120100635
Start year
2012
Keywords
Employment ; Vulnerable Workers; Young Workers; Youth Pathways
Title
Sexual Harassment in Australia: Contexts, Outcomes and Prevention
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP1093442
Start year
2010
Keywords
Sexual Harassment; Employment; Gender and Organisation; Anti Discrimination Law
Title
Social Citizenship and Employment for Secondary School Students
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP0774931
Start year
2007
Keywords
social citizenship at work; youth employment; education; school to work transition; industrial relations;
Title
Bridging the Gap between the Provision and Utilisation of Work-Life Policies
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP0455074
Start year
2005
Keywords
employee relations; work life balance; flexible work arrangements; work life culture; work life policies;
Title
Work-Life Balance in the Construction Industry: Innovative Strategies for Improving Employee Well-Being and Performance in Project Management Teams
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP0560581
Start year
2005
Keywords
Worl-Life Balance; Work-Life Conflict; Construction; Work Hours

Supervision

  • Appropriately qualified students interested in undertaking a PhD on the following specific topics are welcome to contact me.

    1. Worker perspectives arising from engagement with digital platforms

    2. Prospects for justice for targets of sexual harassment and gender-based violence

    3. Technology and AI in recruitment and other HR processes

    4. Technology-enabled work portability

    5. Gender pay equity

Current supervisions

  • Employability Strategies Used by Creative Industries Graduates
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Abby Cathcart
  • Technology enabled mobile work and the porosity of work-life borders
    Masters by Research, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Associate Professor Glen Murphy

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)