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Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, Ph.D.

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, Ph.D.

  • Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Research Interests

Organizational reliability; Organizational adaptability; Organizational resilience; Group dynamics; Big data more


Dr. Kathleen Sutcliffe is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on organizational adaptability, reliability and resilience. Professor Sutcliffe is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University and holds a joint appointment at the Carey Business School.

Prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, Professor Sutcliffe was on the faculty at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan for more than 20 years, with four of those as associate dean for faculty and research. 

She holds a Ph.D. in management (organization theory and organizational behavior) from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.N. from the University of Washington, a B.S. from the University of Alaska and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. 

Professor Sutcliffe currently serves on the editorial review boards of the Academy of Management Annals, the Academy of Management Discoveries, and the International Journal of Public Management. She is a member of the Academy of Management and the Strategic Management Society.

She has taught courses on organizational behavior and organization theory, human behavior and organizations, leading and managing change, and organizational learning and “sense making” at both the graduate and undergraduate levels at the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota.

In 2012 Professor Sutcliffe was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine to a research panel to study workforce resilience in the Department of Homeland Security. The findings of that study were published in a book, A Ready and Resilient Workforce for the Department Of Homeland Security: Protecting America’s Front Line. more


  • Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine

Departments / Divisions



  • B.S.; University of Alaska (Alaska) (1978)
  • Ph.D.; University of Texas (Austin) (Texas) (1991)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

In her research, Professor Sutcliffe seeks to understand organizational adaptability, reliability and resilience. One focus is top management teams and group dynamics, including information search processes, communication and learning processes, and how these components influence company performance. A second focus is organizational reliability, in particular how an organization’s design and culture affect its members’ abilities to sense, handle and respond to unexpected and changing demands.

Selected Publications

Barton M, Sutcliffe KM, Vogus TJ, Dewitt T. “Performing under uncertainty: Contextualized engagement in wildland firefighting.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. June 2015;23(2):74-83. 

Vogus TJ, Rothman NB, Sutcliffe KM, Weick KE. “The affective foundations of high-reliability organizing.” Journal of Organizational Behavior. 8 Feb 2014;35(4):592-596.

Goldenhar LM, Brady PW, Sutcliffe KM, Muething SE. “Huddling for high reliability and situation awareness. BMJ Quality and Safety. 6 June 2013;22:899-906.

Niedner MF, Muething S, Sutcliffe KM. “The high-reliability pediatric intensive care unit.” Pediatric Clinics of North America. June 2013;60:563-580.

Sonenshein S, Dutton JE, Grant A, Spreitzer G, Sutcliffe KM. “Growing at work: Employees’ interpretations of progressive self-change in organizations.” Organization Science. 23 May 2012;24(2): 552-570.

Activities & Honors


  • Research Panel, National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, 2012
  • National Institute of Health Grant, 2012
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant, 2010
  • Researcher of the Year Award, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, 2006


  • Academy of Management
  • Strategic Management Society

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board, Academy of Management Annals
  • Editorial Board, Academy of Management Discoveries
  • Editorial Board, International Journal of Public Management
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