Dr Gemma Irving

Lecturer in Strategy

School of Business
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
+61 7 344 32425


I am a Lecturer in the UQ Business School at the University of Queensland. My expertise is in office spaces, hybrid work, collaboration, learning and professional work. I believe that workspaces like open-plan offices, hybrid work environments and healthcare buildings can have a positive impact on the experiences of professional workers, employees, customers and patients. At the same time, physical and virtual surroundings often influence outcomes in ways that are not anticipated. My research helps designers and managers to respond to the unintended consequences of workspace design in ways that improve the lives of space users.

My current research focuses on how managers and employees experience hybrid work. After experiencing enforced homeworking during the pandemic, many office-workers now expect the flexibility to choose how and when they work. However, evidence suggests that serendipitous encounters, collaboration, and informal learning are more effective when employees are co-located. I am interested in how managers respond to the tensions between flexibility and collaboration in a hybrid world. I also hope to learn about emerging technologies and practices that improve serendipity in online environments.

I am a founding member of the Next Generation Workspace Research Network, which brings together partners from industry and academia to provide evidence-based solutions to workspace problems.

I teach a large introductory management course with enrolments of up to 1000 students per semester. I help students relate management evidence to their own experiences through the Harvard Business School Everest Team and Leadership Simulation and engagement with events like the 2020 Bushfire Crisis. My teaching has been recognised with a UQ Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning and a UQ Business School Award for enhancing the first-year student experience. I was included on the UQ Above and Beyond in 2020 Honour Roll for helping students to transition into university during the pandemic.

Research Interests

  • Hybrid Work
    How do managers and employees lead, learn and collaborate in hybrid environments?
  • Organisational Space and Collaboration
    Why do “collaborative work environments” such as open-plan offices sometimes fail to promote collaboration?
  • Professional Work
    How do professionals respond to regulatory changes? What role do organisational spaces play in professional work?
  • Teaching Evidence-Based Management
    How do first-year undergraduate business students experience evidence-based management?

Research Impacts

  • My research has been featured on media outlets including The Conversation, ABC Radio, RadioNZ, In The Black, and Inc.
  • I have worked with organisations including BHP, Suncorp, the Queensland Government and the University of Queensland to provide advice on workspace moves, working in open-plan offices and optimising workspaces.
  • My expertise on collaborative buildings informed a business case for a $50m Construction Innovation Hub at the Construction Training Centre in Brisbane.
  • My industry-focused workshops have helped teams to work more effectively in open-plan offices and hybrid work environments.

Praise for my workshops

“Huge thanks to Gemma Irving and Geoff Greenfield at UQ Business School for facilitating a fun and insightful team building session. We had a blast!” Tim Carroll, Executive Manager, Group Procurement, Suncorp Group.

“I received lots of positive feedback from staff…. I think your presentation really helped people to understand that they have a role to play in making the [workspace] move a good experience” Cordelia Jackson, Deputy Director of Operations, Institute for Social Science Research.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland


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Book Chapter

  • Middleton, Stuart, Irving, Gemma L. and Wright, April L. (2020). Institutional power and organizational space: How space constrains micro-level action in the emergency department. Macrofoundations: Exploring the Institutionally Situated Nature of Activity. (pp. 49-65) edited by Christopher W. J. Steele, Timothy R. Hanigan, Vern L. Glaser, Madeline Toubiana and Joel Gehman. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing. doi: 10.1108/S0733-558X20200000068003

  • Kromah, Momo D., Ayoko, Oluremi B., Ashkanasy, Neal M. and Irving, Gemma L. (2019). A qualitative study of employees’ emotions and identities during change. Organizational behaviour and the physical environment. (pp. 287-305) edited by Oluremi B. Ayoko and Neal M. Ashkanasy. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315167237-16

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)