Dr Irina Popova

Research Fellow

Faculty:Faculty of Business and Law


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Business, management and leadership , Business Management , Enterprise

Irina Popova is a research fellow on the ‘Digitalisation of Management’ Project. She completed her PhD in Social Venture Incubation in 2017 at ARU. 


Irina is a research fellow on the ‘Digitalisation of Management’ Project funded by FORTE, a Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. The project is part of IMPact research centre, launched in October 2017. The purpose of this research programme is to develop a detailed practice-based understanding of the digitalisation of management, using a sociomaterial perspective in Sweden and the UK. There are four planned projects focusing on projectification, leadership, flexibilisation of employment and the experience of work. Irina takes a leading role in the UK research activities through undertaking, planning and managing the research activity within the context of the project. She assists the lead academic researcher, Prof Chris Ivory, with the day-to-day organisation and administration of the projects. She will conduct the ethnographic research in the UK, collect and analyse the data, report on findings and participate in dissemination of the latter through conference presentations and peer reviewed articles. She is an expert in digital and wider organisational transformations as well as evaluation, including benefits assessment.

Irina is qualified in Lean Six Sigma methodologies for business process improvements eliminating waste and defects. She is also a fellow of the HEA and a university-wide PGR NVivo trainer.

Irina completed her PhD in 2017 at ARU. Her thesis explored and theorised start-up incubation as a rite of passage of entrepreneurs and their social ventures. She is an expert in organisational transitional processes and programmes.

Previously she has assisted with teaching on ‘Organisational Change Management’ and ‘Principles of Marketing’. She was the module leader for ‘Enterprise and Entrepreneurial Management’. During her PhD she was a project support on the HEFCE funded ARU GREATS project designed to help the region’s SMEs find, recruit and train graduate talent.

Spoken Languages

  • English
  • Bulgarian
  • Spanish

Research interests

  • Digital transformation
  • Transitions
  • Liminality
  • Organisational Ethnography
  • Sociomatriality
  • Aesthetic experience
  • Pragmatism

Irina is interested in studying a wide range of organisational transitions and transformations. Her ethnographic research is grounded in sociomaterial and pragmatist approaches and paradigms. Theoretically she uses liminality, aesthetic experience and sociomaterial ideas to write about transitions and transformations.


  • Lean Six Sigma
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, ARU
  • PhD thesis ‘Start-up incubation: a rite of passage of entrepreneurs and their social ventures’, Anglia Ruskin University
  • MA International Business, ARU
  • MSc Ecology and Ecotoxicology, New Bulgarian University
  • BSc Ecology and Environmental Studies, Sofia University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • HEA Fellow
  • EGOS

Recent presentations and conferences

Popova, I., 2019. The impact of Digital Transformation on Organisational Ethnography. The 14th Annual Ethnography Symposium: Seeing, Sensing and Following: Advances in Ethnographic research. Portsmouth, UK, 28-30 August.

Popova, I., 2019. Digital Transformation: Accomplishing Transparency through Digitally Rescripting Business Processes. EGOS. Edinburgh, UK, 3-6 July.

Lindell, E., Popova, I. and Uhlin, A., 2019. Being flexible and structured - an ideological dilemma of the digitalized workplace. The International Interdisciplinary Conference on HRM. Gothenburg, Sweden, 3-5 April.

Popova, I., Ivory, C. and Hallin, A., 2018. Living with monsters: Introducing experience to the theorizing of sociomaterial entanglement. Living with monsters? Social Implications of Algorithmic Phenomena, Hybrid Agency and the Erfomativity of Technology, IFIP WG 8.2 Working Conference 2018. San Francisco, USA, 11-12 December.

Popova, I., Ivory, C. and Uhlin, A., 2018. Organisational approach to government digital transformation: comparing the UK and Sweden. 18th European Conference on Digital Government. Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 25-26 October.

Popova, I., 2018. Managing Multiple Roles in the Field. The 13th Annual Symposium on Current Developments in Ethnographic Research in the Social and Management Sciences. Copenhagen, Denmark, 29-31 August.