Associate Professor Penny Williams

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PhD (Mgt) (Queensland University of Technology), Bachelor of Commerce (Griffith University)

Penelope Williams (Penny) is a senior lecturer in the School of Management whose research explores the changing nature of work and the intersections of technology and work.  Her research interests span work in the gig economy, flexible work arrangements, the impact of technology, including AI on work and workers, precarious employment and digital capability/employability skills for university graduates. Penny has over 15 years experience in corporate HR and strategic consultancy roles, working across public and private sectors, nationally and internationally. She is an experienced workshop facilitator with a depth of knowledge in workforce planning, and strategic HRM, and has undertaken industry based research projects addressing the structure and effectiveness of HR, and planning for future workforce needs.  Her background underpins her current research into how work is changing, with a focus on the challenges that technology, digital platforms and new modes of employment present for organisations, individuals and wider society.  Penny lectures in the QUT Business School, and has been the recipient of a QUT Vice Chancellor's Performance Award for her teaching practice, as well as a Grand Finalist in QUT's Sessional Teaching and Reflection Showcase for the creation of innovative and effective teaching practices. Penny is a member of Australian Human Resources Institute and Fellow and Associate Fellow (Indigenous) of the Higher Education Academy (UK).


Additional information

Prior to her current position as Lecturer in the School of Management at QUT, Penny was a post-doctoral research fellow on an ARC Discovery and cross-institutional project team examining the prevalence and characteristics of digital platform work in Australia. This current project explores how digital platforms organize and control work, the extent and nature of gig work in Australian and the associated economic, social, regulatory and policy implications.  This project has been informed by the findings from Penny's prior study into technological disruption in the Australian photographic industry. Extending her interest in technology and work, Penny has also worked on a cross-institutional, Australian Technology Network Universities project aimed at enhancing graduate employability by developing a model for teaching digital capabilities in higher education. Penny's research on organizational support for flexible work arrangements uncovered the critical role of senior management in signaling support and the various structural and cultural mechanisms that constrain the implementation of flexible work arrangements in organizational settings. From the individual perspective, Penny's research addresses the potential financial and social impacts of working flexibly. Outcomes from this research have been published in International Journal of Human Resource Management, Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resource Management , Financial Planning Review and Employee Relations. Penny's research has been presented at national and international conferences, been published on industry blogs and magazines, and has informed submissions to the Senate Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers, and the Victorian government Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce. Recent Projects

  • Working the Gig Economy - the experience of platform workers
  • Australians and the Gig Economy - National Prevalence Survey
  • Developing digital capabilities in university graduates
  • Developing professional presentation skills in business students
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Workshop Facilitiation - HR metrics & Workforce Planning