Mitchel Y. Abolafia

Mitchel Y. Abolafia, PhD

Specialization: Organizational Theory and Behavior

Department of Public Administration & Policy

307 Milne Hall | 518-442-3858

Curriculum Vitae | Office Hours

About Professor Abolafia

Mitchel Y. Abolafia is a Professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany/ SUNY. He has also taught at Sloan School of Management at MIT, Johnson School of Management at Cornell, and the School of Management, University of California at Davis. He holds a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, and a Ph.d in Sociology from Stony Brook University. Professor Abolafia’s research interests include organizational theory, economic sociology, public management, and ethnographic methods. He is the author of Making Markets: Opportunism and Restraint on Wall Street. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997, 2001 (translated into Chinese as Hua Er Jie, China Society Press. Beijing, 1999). He has published over 25 articles in such journals as Administrative Science Quarterly ,Organization Studies, Administration and Society, Group and Organization Management, Sociological Forum, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, American Review of Public Administration, Ethnography, and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Professor Abolafia is currently working on a book about decision making at the
Federal Reserve during the financial crisis titled “Taming the Market”: Crisis and Decision at the Federal Reserve.” It is an inside look at how senior policy makers responded to the increasingly negative data and explains both their action and inaction. Data are drawn from verbatim transcripts of the meetings of the Federal Open market Committee and other documents.

Selected Publications

Abolafia - Book Jacket

  • Mitchel Y. Abolafia, Jennifer E. Dodge, and Stephen K. Jackson, “Clifford Geertz and the Interpretation of Organizations” in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology, Social Theory and Organization Studies: Contemporary Currents, Oxford: Oxford University Press, (2014)
  • Mitchel Y. Abolafia and Deneen M. Hatmaker “Fine-tuning the Signal: Image and Identity at the Federal Reserve” International Public Management Journal, Vol. 16 #4, pp. 532-556, 2013
  • Mitchel Y. Abolafia “Separate Spheres? The Cultural Contradictions of Markets” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 62, pp. 265-271, 2013
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Central Banking and the Triumph of Technical Rationality” Handbook of the Sociology of Finance, Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Can Speculative Bubbles Be Managed: An Institutional Analysis” Strategic Organization, Vol. 8 #1, pp 93-100, 2010
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Narrative Construction as Sensemaking: How a Central Bank Thinks” Organization Studies, Vol. 31 #3, pp. 349-367, 2010.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Making Sense of Recession: Toward An Interpretive Theory of Economic Action” in The Economic Sociology of Capitalism, Victor Nee and Richard Swedberg (eds), Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 204-226, 2005.
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. "Framing Moves: Interpretive Politics at the Federal Reserve" Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol 14, no.3, 2004
  • Abolafia, Mitchel Y. “Bureaucratic Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change: A Sensemaking Approach,” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 12, #4, October 2002.