Prof. Roberts Receives Academy of Management Award

Professor Emeritus Karlene Roberts has been honored with the Academy of Management’s 2011 Practice Impact Award in recognition of her nearly 30 years of risk management research.

The Aug. 9 announcement recognizes Roberts’ significant role as a scholar, researcher, and a major contributor to the study of managerial and organizational practices. Her research has taken her the decks of several massive air craft carriers.

Since 1984 Roberts has been studying the design and management of organizations and systems of organizations in which errors can have catastrophic consequences. Her research examines organizations that have not experienced catastrophe as well as organizations that have had serious accidents in order to understand the management processes they should have engaged in.

The results of Roberts’ research have been used by a number of government agencies, including the U.S/ Navy aircraft carrier operations, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control system, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Dept. of Defense, and NASA. Private organizations such as hospitals, energy companies, and financial institutions also have benefitted from Roberts’ findings.

Roberts says catastrophe mitigation can be sensitive but she is happy that through this award, the Academy of Management is working to bring these best practices more fully into view.

Roberts began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1968 and joined the business school in 1969. She retired from the Haas School in 2008.