Emily Block, PhD

Associate Professor, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management


Associate Professor, Alberta School of Business - Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management
(780) 492-1710
4-21F Business Building
11203 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2R6



After over 20 years living in the US, I am thrilled to come back to Canada and join the SMO department at U of A. I received my B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and my PhD from the University of Illinois. I then returned to Notre Dame where I taught courses in management, human resources and the role of business in conflict prevention. I previously worked at Accenture as a strategic HR consultant. 


My research focuses on the generation (by organizations) and interpretation (by external constituents) of symbols. Symbols are the formal and informal structures, language, practices and features of organizations that make up a large part of how they communicate to various organizational stakeholders. Just as non-verbal communication provides valuable information about individuals beyond their spoken words, symbols do the same for organizations. Symbols may be purposefully or un-intendedly generated by organizations, and the ways that they are interpreted may have significant consequences. My research to date includes two publications at the Academy of Management Journal, as well as a publication at the Strategic Management Journal.

Exciting Research In Progress

I am currently working on a number of new exciting projects. I have a series of projects looking at how social value is captured among hybrid organizations.


Block, E., Glavas, A. & Mannor, M. 2015. The unintended consequences of strategic giving: Evidence of employee backlash from centralized philanthropy. Journal of Business Ethics: 1-17.    

Broschak, J.P. & Block, E.S. 2014. “With or Without You: When Does Managerial Exit Matter for the Dissolution of Dyadic Client-Agency Relationships?” Academy of Management Journal, 57(3): 743-765. *Author order determined by ownership of data (Google citations; 8).

Block, E.S. & Erskine, L. 2012. “Interviewing by Telephone: Specific Considerations, Opportunities, and Challenges.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(4): 428-445. *Author order determined by contribution. (Google citations; 12)

Mishina, Y.M., Block, E.S. & Mannor, M. 2012. 2012. “The Path Dependence of Organizational Reputation: How Social Judgment Influences Assessments of Capability and Character.” Strategic Management Journal, 33: 459-477. Oxford University Best Reputation Paper *Each author equally contributed to manuscript. (Google citations; 57)

 Mishina, Y., Johnson, B., Block, E.S & Pollack, T. 2010. “Why good firms do bad things: The effects of high aspirations, high expectations and prominence on the incidence of corporate illegality.” Academy of Management Journal, 25(3): 701-722. Nominated for Best Paper, AMJ 2010. *First 3 authors equally contributed. (Google citations; 129)

 Broschak, J.P., Davis-Blake, A. & Block, E.S. 2008. “Nonstandard, not substandard: The relationship between work arrangements, work attitudes and job performance.” Work and Occupations, 35: 3-43. Work and Occupations is a top 10 Industrial and Labor Relations Journal.

*Author order determined by contribution. (Google citations; 44)

 Kraatz, M.S. & Block, E.S. 2008. “Organizational implications of institutional pluralism.” Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, R. Suddaby & K. Sahlin-Andersson (eds.) London: Sage. (Google Scholar Citation Count: 429). *Each author equally contributed. (Google citations; 435)


General Teaching Philosophy

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” - Chinese Proverb

I teach a variety of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. My classes focus on experiential learning as a core principle. This pedagogical method encourages students to bring themselves, as whole persons, into the classroom, and to use the theories that are discussed to relate them to relevant problems they may be experiencing in their own lives. 

Current Courses

SMO 412: Negotiations

SMO 322: Organizational Behavior

Past Courses

Principles of Management

Strategic Human Resource Management

Business on the Frontlines


A Spotlight on Research at the Alberta School of Business

Does investing in IT security really protect firms from hackers?

My findings tell us...

  • More IT security does not directly reduce the chances of data breaches.
  • New security initiatives can expose firms to vulnerabilities in the short-term because change is integrated throughout the organization.
  • 'Symbolic' use of IT security as deterrents fade quickly and are not effective in the long run.
  • Over time, firms that 'do it right' realize a pay off.

Read more on this research...


OM 804 - Bargaining and Negotiation

This course is a blend of both experiential learning and theory with the objective of making the student more effective in all types of bargaining. A study of positive theories on how to improve negotiation skills will be combined with analytical models of the game theoretic structure of bargaining. Through this mix of theories and several case studies and bargaining exercises, students will see both the opportunities for joint gain (win-win) and the constraints which can lead to inferior outcomes. Restricted to Executive MBA students only.

SEM 310 - Introduction to Management, Organization and Entrepreneurship

Introduces students to the fundamentals of human resource management, strategy and organizational theory, and entrepreneurship/innovation. Topics include: motivating employees, designing jobs, staffing, ethics and decision making, leadership and managing teams; developing and implementing an organization's strategy, structure, control systems, and change initiatives; and identifying and evaluating opportunities, launching and growing a business, establishing networks and legitimacy. Pre-requisite *3 junior level English. Open only to students in the Faculty of Business. Not to be taken by students with credit in SEM 200 or 301.

SEM 412 - Effective Negotiations

This is a comprehensive study of negotiation theory and practice. A negotiation simulation is conducted to provide an understanding of how theory translates into practice. Prerequisite: SEM 201, 301 or 310. Open to third- and fourth-year students.

SEM 686 - Selected Topics in Behavioral Sciences

Topics may vary from year to year. Students should check with the MBA Office for pre/corequisites of specific sections.

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