Faculty & Research

Faculty and Executive Leadership Directory

Karlene H. Roberts

Professor Emeritus
Faculty Advisor, Young Entrepreneurs at Haas
Haas Management of Organizations Group
Email: click on the envelope icon below for full email address
Academic Status: Emeritus
Office Hours: By appointment, F498
Curriculum Vitae (in PDF format, Acrobat Reader required)
LinkedIn Profile


PhD, Psychology, UC Berkeley
BA, Psychology, Stanford University

Positions Held

At Haas since 1968
2008 – present, Professor Emeritus, Haas School of Business
2005 – present, Chair, Center for Catastrophic Risk Management
1968 – 2008, Lecturer to full professor, Haas School of Business
Research Psychologist, Institute of Industrial Relations

Visiting Positions

Graduate School of Management, University of California, Irvine
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

External Service and Assignments

Recent Consulting:
BP, 2001 – 2002
Columbia Accident Investigation Board, 2003
University of California Office of the President (Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories), 2004
Risk Management Association, New York City, 2005
Legacy Emanuel Health Center, Portland, OR, 2005
Oil and Gas Advisory Council, Maximo, 2005 – 2008
Association of Space Explorers, Near Earth Object Committee, Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation, 2007 – 2009
Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), 2009
StatOil, 2009 – 2010
Siemens Worldwide, 2010
Toyota Motor Corporation, 2012
National Academies of Science, National Transportation Research Board, Marine Board 2012 – present
Editorial Board Service:
Clinician in Management, Risk Management: An International Review, Handbook of Organizational Studies, Academy of Management Executive, California Management Review,Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Vocational Behavior,Academy of Management Journal
United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency 2012
Stanford University Press, Co-editor, High Reliability Organizations and Crisis Management Series
National Academy of Sciences, National Transportation Research Board, Marine Board 2012 – present


Current Research and Interests

  • The design and management of organizations and systems of organizations in which errors can have catastrophic consequences. The results of this research have been applied to U.S. Navy aircraft carrier operations, the U.S. Coast Guard, The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), U.S. Federal Aviation’s Air Traffic Control System, Gard Services, the energy industry, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. National Aviation and Space Administration (NASA), B and W Pantex, and the health care industry.

Selected Papers and Publications

  • Roberts, K.H., LaPorte, T. Rochlin, G. and Weick, K.E. “Organizational Reliability: Looking Back Looking Ahead.” In R. Ramanujam and K.H. Roberts (Eds) Handbook of Organizational Reliability, Redwood City, Ca: Stanford University Press (forthcoming)
  • Roberts, K.H. and Ramanujam, R. “Introduction” In R. Ramanujam and K.H. Roberts (Eds) Handbook of Organizational Reliability, Redwood City, Ca: Stanford University Press (forthcoming).
  • “Outsourcing and Part Time Work” In S. Rogelberg (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage (forthcoming)
  • “A Tribute to Lyman W. Porter.” ” In S. Rogelberg (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage (forthcoming)
  • “Failure of High Reliability in Finance.”  With N. Bush and P. Martelli  In P. Shrivastava, and M. Statler (Eds) Managing the Global Financial Crisis: Creativity, Reliability and Sustainability. Palo Alto CA:  Stanford University Press, 2012.
  • “Organizational Behavior.” With P. Martelli and M.K. Stimmler In V.S. Ramachandran (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Human Behavior. Amsterdam: Elsevier.2012
  • “High Reliability Virtual Organizations: Co Adaptive Technology and Organizational Structure in Tsunami Warning Systems” with Martha Grabowski  ACM Transactions on Computer and Human Interaction (TOCHI),2011,  18, 1-23.
  • “A Variegated Approach to Organizational Safety.”  With P. Martelli In R.J. Burke, S. Clarke and C.L. Cooper (Eds.) Occupational Health and Safety: Psychological and Behavioral Challenges. Burlington, VT: Gower, 2011, 323-342.
  •   “Applying High Reliability Organization Theory to Crisis/Hostage Negotiation.” With A.J. Hare In E. Rogan and F. Lanceley (Eds.) Contemporary Theory, Research, and Practice in Crisis/Hostage Negotiation. Cresgill, N.J: Hampton Press, 2010.
  • “A New Approach to Risk: The Implications of E3.” With R.G. Bea, D, Farber, H. Foster, and I. Mitroff Risk Management, 2009,  11, 30-43.


  • Specialty workshops and lectures for organizations and other entities interested in understanding and/or applying the various concepts associated with reducing behavioral risk in organizations.  Content might include decision making, communication, etc.

Honors and Awards

  • Practice Impact Award, Academy of Management
  • Docteur Honaris Causa, Universite Paul Cezanne – Aix, Marseilles III
  • Fellow, Academy of Management, American Psychological Association and American Psychological Society
  • Recent research grants from National Science Foundation; France Telecom; and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  • Emerald Management Review Citation of Excellence in Management for one of top fifty (from 15,000) management articles of 2006 (with Peter Madsen, Vinit Desai, and Daniel Wong), 2007
  • Fellow, Center for Program/Project Management Research, University Space Research Association (sponsored by NASA), 2004-2007
  • Earl F. Cheit Honorable Mention for Excellence in Teaching, Undergraduate Program, 2002
  • George R. Terry Book Award, Academy of Management, for “Organizations, Technology, and Structuring,” with M. Grabowski, in Handbook of Organization Studies, edited by S.R. Clegg, C. Hardy, and W. Nord (1996), 1997

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