John Roberts

John H. Scully Professor of Economics, Strategic Management, and International Business, Emeritus

Professor of Economics (by courtesy), School of Humanities and Sciences

Codirector of the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization

Phone: (650) 723-9345

Email: jroberts@gsb.stanford.edu

Personal Homepage: http://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/roberts/

CV: RobertsCV

Academic Areas: Economics

John Roberts’ teaching and research involve the application of economic and strategic (game-theoretic) analysis to management problems. His specific areas of current interest involve international business, the organization of the firm, and the connection between strategy and organization. He also has published extensively on industrial competition, emphasizing how informational differences among various parties affect strategic behavior, and on complementarities as a driving force in organizational design and strategic choice. As well, he has helped develop new techniques for deriving robust conclusions from economic models. Most recently, he has undertaken controlled randomized experiments in large firms to investigate the effects of changing management practices.

Bio

John Roberts has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1980, when he joined the GSB from Northwestern University, where he had been a professor in the Kellogg School of Management. Born in Winnipeg in 1945, he was educated at the Universities of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Minnesota.

His research has contributed primarily to the development of economic theory and game theory and their application to problems of economics and management; to the study of industrial competition, especially when informational differences among market participants are important; and to the economics of organization. He is the author or coauthor of over 70 scholarly articles, more than 30 business cases and two books. The first of these, Economics, Organization and Management, was the first text to apply modern theories of incentives and contracting to managerial problems. His more recent book, The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth¸ was named as the best business book of the year by The Economist. He is the co-editor of The Handbook of Organizational Economics, which will appear in 2012. Recently his research has involved running controlled experiments to investigate the effects of changing management practices in large firms.

Roberts’ teaching in the MBA, Sloan, and Executive Programs has, in recent years, focused on strategy and organization, with special attention to multinational business. He has also advised numerous PhD students who have joined the faculties of many of the world’s leading business schools and economics departments.

Roberts has held visiting positions at the University of Louvain (Belgium), the Ecole National de l’Administration et des Etudes Economiques (Paris), the Hebrew University, the University of California Berkeley, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, All Souls and Nuffield Colleges of Oxford University, the Université des Sciences Sociales (Toulouse), McKinsey and Company, London and the London School of Economics, where he was the BP Centennial Professor. He has also consulted to major corporations in the United States, Japan and Europe.

A Fellow and former Council Member of the Econometric Society, Roberts was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. He received a honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Winnipeg in 2007.

Academic Degrees

PhD, Univ. of Minnesota, 1972; BA (Hons.), Univ. of Manitoba, 1967. LLD (honoris causa), Univ. of Winnipeg, 2007

Professional Experience

At Stanford since 1980. BP Centennial Professor, London School of Economics, 2101; Freehills Lecturer, Univ. of New South Wales, 2007; Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005; Distinguished Lecturer, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2002; Sr. Assoc. Dean, Stanford GSB, 2000-2008; Minnesota Lecturer, Univ. of Minnesota, 2000; Academic Fellow, McKinsey &. Co., London, 1999-2000; Visitor, Nuffield College, Oxford University, 1999-2000; Universite de Sciences Sociales de Toulouse, 1999; Inaugural Clarendon Lecturer in Management Studies, Oxford, 1997; Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, 1995; Institute of Economics and Statistics, Oxford University, 1995; Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences, 1991-92; Assoc. Dean, Graduate School of Business, Stanford Univ., 1987-90; Fellow of the Econometric Society, 1982; Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Jerusalem, 1980, 1985; CORE, Universite Catholique de Louvain, 1974, 1976, 1982. Faculty, Kellogg School of Management, 1971-80.

Selected Publications

  • The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth: Oxford University Press, 2004
  • Organizational Design: Decision Rights and Incentive Contracts: American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings), May 2001
  • The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited: Journal of Economic Perspectives, 1998
  • The LeChatelier Principle: American Economic Review, March, 1996
  • Complementarities and Fit: Strategy, Structure, and Organizational Change in Manufacturing: Journal of Accounting and Economics, 1995
  • Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities: Econometrica, 1990
  • The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization: American Economic Review, 1990
  • An Economic Approach to Influence Activities in Organizations: American Journal of Sociology, 1988
  • Monotone Methods for Comparative Statics Analysis: coauthor, Princeton Univ. Press, forthcoming, 2007
  • Economics, Organization, and Management: Prentice Hall, 1992

Working Papers

  • 1181: Organizational Prospects, Influence Costs and Ownership Changes
  • 959: The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions
  • 880: Involuntary Unemployment and Imperfect Competition: A Game Theoretic Macro Model
  • 1631: Shareholder Interests, Human Capital Investment and Corporate Governance
  • 2074: Does Management Matter? Evidence from India
  • 574: Limit Pricing and Entry Under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis
  • 600: Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence
  • 603: Rational Cooperation in the Finitely-Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma
  • 706: Incentives, Information, and Iterative Planning
  • 742: Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality
  • 827: Battles for Market Share: Incomplete Information, Aggressive Strategic Pricing and Competitive Dynamics
  • 828: A Signaling Model of Predatory Pricing
  • 934: Bargaining Costs, Influence Costs and the Organization of Economic Activity
  • 1229: Comparing Equilibria
  • 1519: The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited
  • 1000: The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Products, Technology and Organization
  • 1032: Rationalizability, Learning and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities
  • 2074: Does Management Matter? Evidence from India

Selected Cases

  • SM18: Tata Consultancy Services: Globalization of Software Services
  • SM30A: AT&T China (A)
  • SM30B: AT&T China (B)
  • SM30C: AT&T China (C)
  • IB20A: Novo Nordisk (A) - Global Coordination
  • IB16A2: British Petroleum: Organizing for Performance at BPX
  • IB16A: British Petroleum (A): Performance and Growth
  • IB16B: British Petroleum (B): Focus on Learning
  • IB15: The Global Oil Industry
  • BE9: Johnson Controls, Inc. - Automotive Systems Group: The Georgetown, Kentucky Plants
  • IB17: CEMEX: Global Competition in a Local Business
  • IB23: Nokia Corporation: Innovation and Efficiency in a High-Growth Global Firm
  • SM40: Lincoln Electric Company in the 1990s
  • IB18: Lucent Technologies in China
  • BP265: Sony Corporation Enters the Entertainment Business
  • IB20B: Novo Nordisk (B): The Prandin/Novonorm Global Product Launch
  • IB27: The Daimler Chrysler Commercial Vehicles Division
  • SM47: Lion Nathan and the Chinese Beer Industry
  • IB16A1: British Petroleum (A1): Organizing for Performance at BPX
  • IB60: Tenaris: Creating A Global Leader From An Emerging Market
  • IB16C: British Petroleum (C): Social Responsibility
  • IB16D: Performance Management and Learning at British Petroleum (D)
  • IB81: SK-II China: Managing Public Relations
  • IB79: Tata Consultancy Services: Globalization of IT Services
  • IB80: Note on the IT Services Industry
  • IB99: Dabur India

Awards and Honors

  • Robert T. Davis Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award, 2005, Stanford GSB
  • Teaching Excellence Award, 2002, Stanford Sloan Program
  • Jaedicke Silver Apple Award, 2000, Stanford Business School Alumni Association
  • Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, 2007, University of Winnipeg
  • Fellow, 2005, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2005;

Courses Taught

Centers/Programs

Affiliations

In The Media

  • Building a Mexican Giant, Los Angeles Times
  • Stanford Business School Study Maps Out Global Companies, Los Angeles Times
  • Corporate Goverance and European Industrial Restructuring (audio file from European Alumni Conference), Los Angeles Times
  • Academy Chooses Fellows in Bay Area, San Jose Mercury News
  • Economist Names Roberts' Modern Firm Best 2004 Business Book, The Economist
  • Three Business School Faculty Honored for Distinguished Teaching, The Economist
  • John Roberts Delivers Inaugural Clarendon Lectures at Oxford, The Economist
  • Custom-Designing the Global Corporation, BusinessWeek Online
  • Economist Roberts Outlines Three Ways to Organize a Multinational, BusinessWeek Online
  • Business School Announces New Endowed Chairs, Faculty to Fill Them, BusinessWeek Online
  • John Roberts Named Senior Associate Dean, BusinessWeek Online
  • Economic Courage Can Shore up Consumer Confidence in Aftermath of September 11, Silicon Valley Business (video clip)
  • Best Books of The Year 2004: Feet Up, Volume Down, The Economist
  • Stanford Business School Study Maps Out Global Companies, The Economist
  • 1998-99 Faculty Scholars and Fellows Announced, The Economist
  • Business School Announces New Endowed Chairs, Faculty to Fill Them, The Economist
  • Three Business School Faculty Honored for Distinguished Teaching, The Economist
  • John Roberts Delivers Inaugural Clarendon Lectures at Oxford, The Economist
  • John Roberts Named Senior Associate Dean, The Economist