Kathleen Sutcliff

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, PhD

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Academic AreaManagement & Organization
Academic AreaHealth
Areas of InterestHigh reliability organizing, Managing Risk and Uncertainty, Resilience, Organizational Change

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with appointments in the Carey Business School, the School of Medicine (Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine), the School of Nursing, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Her research program has been devoted to investigating how organizations and their members cope with uncertainty and how organizations can be designed to be more reliable and resilient. She has investigated organizational safety, high reliability, and resilience practices in oil and gas exploration and production, chemical processing, steel production, wildland firefighting, and in healthcare. Her research has appeared widely in management and healthcare journals and she has co-authored seven books. She has presented her work across the world. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals and has served as a proposal reviewer for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. She has consulted with the leadership teams of numerous companies including Goldman Sachs, Georgia Pacific, Marathon Oil, and ThyssenKrupp.


  • Ph. D, Organization Theory and Organizational Behavior, University of Texas at Austin
  • MN, University of Washington
  • BS, University of Alaska
  • BA, University of Michigan


Selected publications

  • Still Not Safe: Patient Safety and the Middle Managing of American Medicine (with R. Wears). 2020. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Managing the Unexpected: Sustainable Performance in a Complex World, Third Edition (with K. Weick). 2016. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Crossing Academic Boundaries for Diagnostic Safety: Challenges and Potential Solutions from Clinical Perspectives and High-Reliability Organizing Principles (with E. Yousef et al.). 2021. Human Factors.
  • Organizational Science and Health Care (with A. Mayo & C. Myers). 2021. Academy of Management Annals.
  • Covid-19 Has Made It Clear Why All Physicians Need to Know About the Business of Healthcare (with C. Myers et al.). 2021. Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management.
  • Introduction to the Special Issue ‘On the Way to Ithaka: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of Karl E. Weick’s The Social Psychology of Organizing' (with H. Tsoukas et al.). 2020.’ Journal of Management Studies.
  • Gender Bias in Collaborative Medical Decision Making: Emergent Evidence (with E. Helzer et al.). 2020. Academic Medicine.
  • Resilience in Action: Leading for Resilience in Response to Covid-19 (with M. Barton et al.). 2020. BMJ Leader.
  • Past Chairman of the Academy of Management Division of Managerial and Organizational Cognition.
  • Editorial boards, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Organization Studies



  • Power and Politics in Organizations
  • Leading Change

Honors and distinctions

  • 2020 Elected Fellow of the International Academy of Quality and Safety in Health Care (IAQS)
  • 2018 McCombs School of Business Distinguished PhD Alumnus Award
  • 2018 Elected Fellow of the Academy of Management (AOM)
  • 2016 Awarded Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency Fellowship July-August
  • 2015 Awarded the MOC Distinguished Scholar Award by the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management.

In the media