Dr Sam MacAulay

Senior Lecturer in Innovation

School of Business
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law


My research informs and transforms how we understand the strategic organisation of innovation. I do this through research addressing the foundations of strategy and innovation. Empirically, my research focuses on complex, project-based forms of organising commonly found in infrastructure, engineering, and resources, to develop better explanations for how organisations innovate and adapt. Scholars of strategy and innovation have traditionally paid less attention to these organisational forms. And yet they are a central feature of many economies, including Australia. Theoretically, my research makes contributions to The Behavioral Theory of the Firm (e.g. developing new, more socialised models of organisational search and innovation), the Resource-based View of the Firm (e.g. how engineering and design can be used to protect innovation knowledge from imitation), and Project Organising (e.g. developing new frameworks for managing innovation in projects). I am currently bring this research together to study the innovation in the context of artificial intelligence used in medical imaging with colleagues at UQ's ARC Training Centre for Innovation in Biomedical Imaging Technology. My research has been published or is forthcoming in a wide variety of top journals ranging from MITSloan Management Review and the Academy of Management Review through to Transportation Research Part A and EMBO Reports.

Research Interests

  • The Organization of Innovation
    I study how innovation is shaped by organizational design, how new products and services are created, and the role of competition in knowledge production.
  • Carnegie School organizational theory
    My research here is twofold. I study how better socialized theories of organizational search can improve explanations of organizational adaptation and learning. And I am also branching out to study how organizational slack influences this process.
  • Construction, Infrastructure, and Mining
    Construction, infrastructure, and mining, have all traditionally received little attention in mainstream research on innovation, management, and strategy. I am doing research that tries to change this.
  • Project-based organizations
    My research investigates the strategic organization of project-based organisational forms, ranging from the delivery models of complex infrastructure projects through to service providers in mining.

Research Impacts

I am passionate about doing research that has a positive impact on our economy and society. My research seeks to improve what we know about how organizations work. The hope is that by better understanding organizations, we'll be better equipped to understand why they function as they do, and thus make better decisions about how they should function.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Mitchell, Paul, Steen, John, Sartorio, Afonso, Bolton, Wayne, MacAulay, Samuel C., Higgins, Louise, Kunz, Nadja, Yameogo, Theo, Hoogedeure, Wim and Jackson, John (2017). How do you prepare for tomorrow's mine today?.

  • Mitchell, Paul, Steen, John, Sartorio, Afonso, Bolton, Wayne, MacAulay, Samuel C., Higgins, Louise, Kunz, Nadja, Yameogo, Theo, Hoogedeure, Wim and Jackson, John (2016). How do you prepare for tomorrow’s mine today?. : EYGM.

  • Mitchell, Paul, Bradbrook Michael, Higgins, Louise, Steen, John, Henderson, Chris, Kastelle, Tim, Moran, Chris, MacAulay, Sam and Kunz, Nadja (2014). Productivity in mining: Now comes the hard part, a global survey. Not available:

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: