Kathleen Sutcliffe

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.
    • Treating the “Not-Invented-Here Syndrome” in medical leadership: Learning from the insights of outside disciplines (with C. Myers & B. Ferrari). 2019 Academic Medicine, 94(10), 1416-1418.
    • How discrimination against female doctors hurts patients (with C. Myers). 2018. Harvard Business Review. August 30.
    • Organizational response to adversity: Fusing crisis management and resilience research streams (with T. Williams, D. Gruber et al.). 2017. Academy of Management Annals, Vol 11 (2), 733-769. 
    • Mindfulness in organizations: A cross-level review (with T. Vogus & E. Dane). 2016. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 3, 55-81. Honors and distinctions
    • 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

    • 2018 McCombs School of Business Distinguished PhD Alumnus Award
    • 2018 Elected Fellow of the Academy of Management
    • 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