Academic journal article Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Administration

The Role of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada in Institutionalizing Management Education in Canada

Academic journal article Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Administration

The Role of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada in Institutionalizing Management Education in Canada

Article excerpt


The development of management education and research practices in Canadian universities closely followed the evolution of practices in the United States. The national Canadian association of management scholars-the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC)is examined to track the phases in its development that helped to foster this deliberate replication of American models in the somewhat different Canadian environment. The study supports the emphasis of the new institutional theory on cognitive isomorphism but shows variation in the normative practices.


Le developpement de l'enseignement et de la recherche en gestion dans les universites canadien)les a suivi de pres celui effectue aux Etats-Unis. La presente etude examine l'Association des sciences administratives du Canada, association nationale canadienne des experts en gestion, dans le but de retracer les etapes de ce developpement qui a contribue a favoriser la replique deliberee des modeles americains dans le milieu canadien quelque peu different. Elle souligne l'importance de la nouvelle theorie institutionnelle de l'isomorphisme cognitif mais demontre egalement la difference qui existe dans les pratiques normatives.

When the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management (IFSAM) was formed in 1990, the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada (ASAC), one of its founding members, was closest in structure and values to another founding member, the American Academy of Management (AoM). Canadian universities had looked to American institutions as a template when shaping their business programs. This study tracks the process of organizational isomorphism of the Canadian to the American institutions, through the prism of ASAC, to observe the institutionalization of the management discipline in Canada (Broom & Selznick, 1955; Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Powell & DiMaggio, 1991; Scott & Meyer, 1994).

By the late 1980s, the legitimacy of business schools in Canadian universities was firmly established, largely due to efforts to enhance the quality and quantity of research (Maher, 1990). ASAC, an institution with a repertoire of highly developed processes and shared beliefs, which was supported by faculty members across Canada, had contributed to the general rise in research standards in Canada. Its institutional norms were similar to those of the Academy of Management, but the processes that had evolved at ASAC since its inception in 1957 were also different in several ways. ASAC encompassed the functional areas of Marketing, Finance, Information Systems and, until 1978, Accounting, which the Academy did not. ASAC is bilingual and tries to balance regional representation on its executive. The differences come from the Canadian "organizational field" (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983), which shaped ASAC's development. The evolution of ASAC into a professional institution and the professionalization of Canadian management faculties was an interactive process that occurred gradually over a period of almost 30 years.

Research Methodology

This study began with a request from the ASAC executive to the author to write the association's history. No conditions were set and the association's archives, held at UQAM, were made available. The document collection, going back to the association's formation in 1957, included the minutes of the general and executive meetings, an extensive collection of correspondence and monographs, and copies of the Proceedings and newsletters. All past presidents were invited to describe the issues and activities during their watch, and many were interviewed. Some respondents sent supporting documents from their personal files. As well, prominent deans were invited to comment and interviewed when possible. The sources represent intentions recorded at the time and the participants' later reflections, and include the opinions of academics from across Canada. …

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