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Afterword / Appendices

Appendix 1 Academic Departments

Accounting and Management Information Systems

The Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems (AMIS) is one of four departments in the School of Business at the Uni- versity of Alberta in Edmonton. The courses we offer to undergraduate and graduate students form the basis for an Accounting major and an MIS major. Many of our undergraduates pursue careers in professional Accounting. We also offer a strong PhD program in Accounting.

Our Vision

Our vision for the Department of Accounting and Management Infor- mation Systems (AMIS) is to be the best academic AMIS department in Canada. To us this implies that we are first committed to the pro- cess of scholarship as it manifests itself in the process of research and open debate/discussion of issues relating to our field. We are, and wish to continue to be, a community of scholars representing an array of viewpoints and paradigms. We are committed to the development of generalizable knowledge, or theory, which helps us and others to understand what Accounting and MIS are and what their functions are within organizations and within society. Of particular importance is the sense that research drives our other activities. Teaching is driven to a great deal by our research activities. We seek to develop students who are armed with the skills to critically analyze questions regarding the role and value of Accounting and MIS rather than just the ability to ap- ply the most recent set of tools to problem solving.

Our People

While the bulk of our faculty would fall in the more traditional domain of an Accounting faculty, we have a small, but top quality, MIS group in- terested in Information Technology innovation, globalization and effec- tiveness. We have active research streams in the areas of judgement and decision-making, critical theory, analytical economic modelling, and empirical financial accounting. The research strength of the faculty is also expressed in the fact that the editorship of one Accounting journal,
Critical Perspectives on Accounting, is currently located at the University of Alberta. This research strength is complemented by an emphasis on high-quality teaching. Several members of the Department have earned teaching awards, including a university-wide teaching award.

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Finance and Management Science

The Department of Finance and Management Science (FMS) is one of the University’s major centres of research, public policy analysis and education. It ranks 27th in the world in terms of research impact. FMS is home to some of the University’s most talented professional educators and staff, and we are frequently called upon to consult with the media or members of the national and international business community.

The Department has an unusual composition that arises from the historical development of the School of Business. When the School formed Departments in the mid-1970s, FMS drew its membership from a diverse group of academic staff with specialties in economics, opera- tions research (in more recent usage, operations management), finance and statistics. The members of the group had the common connec- tion of interest in formal models and quantitative empirical research. However, even though the Department shared common methodology and background, they were diverse when categorized within accepted academic fields.

By the 1980s, a strong finance field had coalesced, roughly dividing the Department into half finance and half “management science,” with the latter approximately split between Business Statistics and Opera- tions Management. This halving and quartering was not the result of irresolution but of the need for a variety of skills in the delivery of the School’s teaching programs. By 1997, a new curriculum had reduced teaching needs in Business Statistics, permitting the Department to concentrate its recruitment of staff on two fields: Finance and Opera- tions Management. This increased opportunity for concentration has and will continue to strengthen the Department’s research presence in these fields.

Faculty on the finance side study the economics of capital markets—asset pricing (all aspects of financial markets, banking, derivative securities, emerging markets, and so on) and corporate finance (includ- ing corporate governance, capital project evaluation, bankruptcies, takeovers, and divestitures).
Faculty in Management Science study the operations of the firm and apply statistical methods and mathematical models to support their research. The Department’s areas of strength are management of uncertainty, flexibility in supply chains, behavioural effects in opera- tions, and labour statistics. The Department’s Centre for Excellence in Operations has active applied research projects in health care and educational planning.

The Department is also home to the Program for Research and Investment Management Excellence (PRIME). PRIME is a student-run investment program that focuses on the Canadian equity market and manages a fund worth over CDN $1.2 million. PRIME believes in the fundamental principle of proprietary investment management. Accord- ingly, PRIME was established to provide Alberta School of Business students with investment experience in an institutional setting. The program is a high-quality practicum that combines traditional academic objectives with hands-on investment analysis and portfolio manage- ment. PRIME links students with investment professionals from private wealth management firms as well as local institutional investors such as the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund, the Local Authorities Pen- sion Plan, and AIMCO. PRIME is a stellar example of the links between the Department and the local financial community.

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Marketing, Business Economics and Law

The Department of Marketing, Business Economics and Law, whimsically nicknamed MABEL, promotes excellence in three disparate fields: Marketing; Business Economics (including International Business and Natural Resources & Energy); and Business Law.

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Our Marketing group’s interests include basic and applied research in quantitative, behavioural, and managerial marketing.
We offer courses in the undergraduate and MBA programs in all areas of marketing, including consumer behaviour, marketing research, international marketing, marketing communication, sales manage- ment, and retailing. Our Marketing PhD program, which offers ad- vanced courses in research methodology, modelling, and consumer behaviour, produces many successful scholars who are hired at other top universities.

Retailing, being a dominant part of the Edmonton and Canadian economies, has become a major focus. Our School of Retailing is unique—as a source of retail knowledge, as a developer of retail leaders, and as a promoter of excellence in retail management.

Business Economics

Our Business Economics group, which offers undergraduate and MBA courses, has two main research foci: International Business, and Natural Resources and Energy.

International Business

The International Business group does research and teaching in the areas of international trade (imports and exports), foreign exchange rate movements, foreign direct investment (buying assets such as busi- nesses and companies in foreign countries), and Canada’s involvement in international organizations such as WTO and NAFTA. The Interna- tional Business group also offers study tours to Mexico and China to undergraduate and MBA students.
MABEL houses CIBS (the Centre for International Business Stud- ies), which advances internationalization efforts and global partner- ships by the School of Business both at home and abroad, and WCER (Western Centre for Economic Research), which monitors the performance of western Canada’s economy, its policies and programs, and implications for business enterprises.

Natural Resources and Energy

Since it is situated right in the heart of oil country, the University of Alberta is an ideal location for a Natural Resources and Energy program. Our growing NRE group teaches and conducts timely and important research in the fields of resource economics, energy economics, environmental economics, and the dynamics of resource allocation.
MABEL houses CABREE (the Centre for Applied Business Research in Energy and the Environment), which is a non-partisan independent research centre that provides applied economic analysis to inform public policy debates on issues such as energy markets, electricity restructuring and climate change.

Business Law

Our Business Law program has developed into a teaching area rather than a research area, and provides very popular and practical courses to students in the undergraduate and MBA programs. Topics covered include the legal foundations of the Canadian economy, contracts, commercial transactions, law of business organizations, natural resources and environmental law, and international business law.

Strategic Management and Organization

The Department of Organizational Analysis was established on March 18, 1976. In 1999, the Department changed its name to Strategic Management and Organization (SMORG). As a leading academic institution, we are committed to excellence in research and teaching. Our goal is to become a top research group, as measured by criteria such as number of publications in top-tier scholarly journals, citations, and successful grant applications. In the past twenty years, SMORG has gained a national and international reputation as a high-quality research department. At present, the Department has two broad discipline-based groupings that benefit from concentration of numbers: Strategy/Organizational Theory, and Organizational Behaviour/Human Resources Management/Industrial Relations. Within these disciplines, some members have chosen to concentrate their efforts in the empirical areas of Professional Service Firm Management, Health Care Organizations, Technology Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship/Family and Small Business.

SMORG has established itself as one of the leading centres of research and theorizing in institutional theory. The research on professional services was an early focus of much of the work done in this area. Although this empirical setting remains a strong interest of several members of the Department, that focus has broadened.

SMORG’s reputation has led to a constant stream of visiting doctoral students from places such as Italy, Sweden, the UK, Austria, Germany, the USA, Denmark, and Holland.

Additionally, there has been a highly successful development of research into family enterprise. The Centre for Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise has become a catalyst for cross-disciplinary research in this area, and its yearly conferences are an established and much-
anticipated forum for international researchers. Departmental research has also led to the development of innovative teaching programs. As one outside expert observed: “The Centre is a global leader in the study of family firms. The Centre does more combined teaching and research on the subject than any university I know.”

A recent exciting development is the creation of the Technology Commercialization Centre (TCC), which may well become one of SMORG’s key areas of teaching and research strength. Already, the TCC has developed strong links with the National Institute for Nano- technology. Research in this area is applying the institutional lens to a novel and highly significant empirical setting. The Centre supports the School’s Technology Commercialization specialization, which aims to develop talent at the interface of business and science/technology. Working closely with a variety of stakeholders, including TEC Ed- monton, a number of initiatives are under way to build the province’s technology commercialization capacity. In addition, through relation- ships with Imperial College London and University of California, Davis, the Centre has sponsored a working paper series on Institutions and Innovation and sponsors workshops and conferences on the topic.

Another area of expertise within SMORG concerns Human Resource Management (HRM) and Organizational Behaviour. Over the past decade, the area group has developed a stronger research capacity, in part, by careful hiring of new and established faculty with strong re- search potential, re-energizing the PhD program, and because of efforts by the School to actively support and reward research-related activities.

We cannot end this overview without at least mentioning teaching, which is our second core mission. Our goal is to provide an excellent learning experience to our students at all levels. Our instructors stress the links between theory and practice, and emphasize such skills as communication, teamwork, and problem solving. In a given year, we teach thousands of undergraduate, MBA and PhD Business and non- Business students. Judged by student responses and teaching awards given to SMORG members, our instructors’ teaching performance is top-quality.

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Establishing Academic Departments

Department of Industrial and Legal Relations

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“A University should be the most practical of all institutions. It should strive to find the answers to the economic and social problems of common everyday people and then share its knowledge with them.”

- Dr. Henry Marshall Tory
June 1908