Call for Papers: How Do Institutions Matter? 4th Alberta Institutions Conference (and PhD Workshop)

June 12-14, 2015
Fairmont Banff Springs Resort, Banff, Alberta, Canada


Photo credit: Fairmont Banff Springs Resort website



While the question of how institutions matter is in many respects an age-old question, we believe that it merits revisiting. In the wake of the recent financial crisis and concomitant social unrest, institutional scholars have increasingly become interested in contemplating the possibilities for altering extant and creating alternative institutions—new regulatory frameworks allowing for novel social sector organizations (e.g., Benefit Corporations, CICs, L3Cs), new market configurations, new forms of transnational governance, and new kinds of entrepreneurial ecosystems. We have also become interested in major policy issues having to do with problems such as climate change and social inequality. How does our research matter to these issues, and how do these issues challenge our research? Do we have anything to say about how to (re)design institutions? We believe that now more than ever, institutions matter, and that, as a community, we have much to contribute and learn.

This fourth triennial installment of the Alberta Institutions Conference is designed to foster new conversations about how institutional theory could enrich our understanding of these emergent social problems and how deeper engagement with such problems could foster new insights and enrich our theoretical understanding. Our aim is to bring together diverse institutional scholars from all career stages, including PhD students, to discuss these topics. Jerry Davis will provide a keynote address. 
Specifically, we invite papers (our preference will be for empirical papers) that consider how institutions matter in the following areas:

  • How do institutions matter to the design of solutions to social problems (e.g., big data, strategies, policies, markets, novel practices, job creation, resourcing, materiality, crowd-sourced design)?
  • How do institutions matter to the selection, framing and governance of the social problems that organizations, communities and entrepreneurs address (e.g., cultural entrepreneurship, socio-cognitive processes, multiple logics, competing values, polycentric governance, alternative energy, entrepreneurial opportunity construction)?
  • How do institutions matter to alternative modes of organizing, financing, production, distribution, consumption and so forth (e.g., crowd funding, open sourcing, peer-to-peer, hybrid organization, sharing economy, virtual organizing)?
  • How do institutions matter to the ways by which cultural narratives and other contextual considerations mediate appropriate uses for automation and other technological interventions (e.g., drones, privacy, safety, access, mesh networks, bioethics, cloning)?
  • How do institutions matter as organizations and their assets and liabilities become more mobile and ephemeral than ever before (e.g., temporary organizing, copyright versus creative commons, factory drilling, digital communities, contract labor, mashups, brands, reputation)?
  • How do institutions matter to the definition, identification, sanctioning and resolution of corruption/wrongdoing in and by organizations, governments and markets (e.g., bribes, gift giving, price fixing, gray markets, underground economies, supply chain accountability)?


Conference Details

The Fourth Triennial Alberta Institutions Conference will be held from Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14, 2015 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Approximately 25 papers will be selected for presentation. The Alberta School of Business will sponsor two nights room and board for first authors who are selected to present papers.

PhD Workshop Details (Sponsored by the OMT Division and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada)
The PhD Workshop will begin early on Friday, June 12 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Participants are encouraged to arrive on Thursday, June 11.  Approximately 8 papers will be selected for presentation. Additionally, there will be 5 OMT-sponsored doctoral travel scholarships of $500 CDN. If you are a doctoral student who wishes to be considered for the PhD Workshop and doctoral travel scholarship, please indicate this on your submission.


Abstract submission (approximately 500 words): December 15, 2014
Notification of acceptance: January 31, 2015
Submission of full paper (maximum 8,000 words): May 1, 2015
Use the subject line “Alberta Conference Abstract” and email your submission to: and and

Organizing Committee

Tony Briggs, David Deephouse, Joel Gehman, Vern Glaser, Royston Greenwood, Matthew Grimes, Bob Hinings, Jo-Louise Huq, Dev Jennings, Michael Lounsbury, Evelyn Micelotta, Mia Raynard, Trish Reay, Marvin Washington, all of the University of Alberta.

Further Information

As it becomes available, additional information will be posted at: