Alberta Institutions 2018

What of Macro-Foundations?

Rediscovering the Power of Institutions

Over the past couple of decades, organizational institutionalists have redirected attention from isomorphism and the effects of wider environmental forces, toward the efforts of skilled, strategic actors, institutional entrepreneurship, inhabited institutions, work, change, and the microsociology of logics. This line of inquiry has been fruitful, but we believe it is time to take stock of where we have been, and where we are headed. In our effort to account for meaningful cognition and agency, have we begun to lose sight of the constitutive power of institutions, and their influence on the emergence and unfolding of interactions, organizations, and fields? In this installment of the triennial Alberta Institutions Conference, we call for renewed attention to the macro-foundations of social and organizational life.

To ask, "what of macrofoundations?" is to remind ourselves of the power of institutions to shape the contexts for individual and organizational action; and their limits in so doing. We encourage a re-engagement with classic texts dedicated to these questions. Phenomenologists, such as Berger and Luckmann, have pointed to the role of institutions in furnishing us with social facts that aid in decision-making and social interaction. Mary Douglas reminds us that institutions (classifications) shape the very means by which we think about the nature of the world. Goffman and Garfinkel, in turn, tell us that the macro-foundational context is at stake during interaction: that just a few words or gestures could transform an academic discussion into a partisan debate, a personal attack, an ivory-tower indulgence, or harassment. Such traditions, and their tensions, provide us with powerful tools to think through the interweaving of the institutional and interactional, the macro and micro-providing substantial scope for generative debate, and cross-fertilization. So too do our home-grown traditions: including the institutional logics perspective, world society institutionalism, Scandinavian institutionalism, the old and new institutionalism, social movement theory, and the like. We have assembled a very exciting program. As usual, we will be bringing together diverse institutional scholars from all career stages, including PhD students, to discuss these topics. We are also delighted that Mary Ann Glynn (Joseph F. Cotter Professor, Carroll School of Management, Boston College; current Academy of Management President) will provide the keynote address.

Conference Details

The Fifth Triennial Alberta Institutions Conference, sponsored by the Alberta School of Business, will be held from Thursday, June 7 to Saturday, June 9, 2018, at the Westin Edmonton, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

PhD Paper Development Workshop

The PhD Paper Development Workshop, co-sponsored by the Alberta School of Business and the journal, Organization Studies, will be on Thursday, June 7 at the Westin Edmonton, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Organizing Committee

Emily Block, Tony Briggs, David Deephouse, Joel Gehman, Vern Glaser, Royston Greenwood, Tim Hannigan, Bob Hinings, Dev Jennings, Michael Lounsbury, Trish Reay, Angelique Slade Shantz, Chris Steele, Madeline Toubiana, Marvin Washington, and all of the University of Alberta.

Conference Schedule

PhD Workshop

Thursday, June 7, from 9 AM - 4:30 PM at The Westin Edmonton.

Main Conference

Welcome Reception commences in the North Foyer on Thursday, June 7, 5 - 7 PM. Main conference sessions commence Friday morning June 8 and end with lunch on Saturday, June 9

Getting to Edmonton

Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is located approximately 33 km (21 miles) south of Edmonton. From the Edmonton airport, the following transportation options are available to get to The Westin Edmonton:

  1. Skyshuttle. Please book ahead by phoning 780-465-8515.
  2. Rental cars are available at the airport.
  3. Taxis are approximately $60.
  4. UBER pick up/drop off at EIA costs approximately $39. Door 10 is the only pick-up location.
  5. Public Transportation ($5), take bus #747 to Century Park LRT station, both trains on the platform will be going North, take whichever one happens to be there, get off at Central Station, and follow the signs for 100 Street and Jasper Ave. Walk north and The Westin Hotel will be on your right side at 10135 100th Street. If you need to phone the hotel, the number is 780-426-3636.


The Westin Edmonton offers valet and self-parking at their downtown location. Valet parking is provided at the main entrance of the hotel, located on 100 Street and 101a Avenue. (Overnight $43 and 4 hr. limit $33). Self-parking may be accessed from 100 Street and 101a Avenue. (Overnight $33). Other Impark parking and street parking is available around the hotel, but please be aware that prices and peak hours change if there is an event.