Robert M. Pearl

Lecturer, Organizational Behavior

Robert M. Pearl

Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Academic Area:

Teaching Statement

Dr. Robert Pearl’s teaching combines theoretical models of strategic thinking and strategic change with his experience as the CEO of a 11 billion a year organization. He believes that there is a disciplined approach which successful leaders follow to maximize their chance of identifying and responding to changes in the competitive environment. As part of his teaching, he uses case studies, video material, and individual participation and practice. He believes that successful leaders regardless of the industry must be both technically and interpersonally excellent and that both can be learned. He recommends that leaders combine analytic frameworks and strategic thinking to create a vision for the future, align people and motivate them to move forward ahead of their competition.


Dr. Pearl is former executive director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and former president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group. Together, TPMG and MAPMG have more than 10,000 Permanente physicians and over 40,000 nurses and staff delivering high-quality health care to more than 5 million Kaiser Permanente members in Northern California, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Pearl received his Medical Degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University and currently serves on the faculty as a Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery. He is also on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches courses on strategy and leadership, as well as lectures on the subject of health care technology.

Selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the most powerful physician leaders in the nation, Dr. Pearl has published more than 100 articles in various medical journals and has been a contributor to many books. He has made over 100 presentations at national meetings in the areas of both clinical medicine and medical economics. In the past several years, he has been a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Haas School of Business and Harvard School of Public Health. Recently, Dr. Pearl was a featured speaker at both the Commonwealth Club and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s National Quality Forum event. In addition, he participated in the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Delivery System Reform and Health IT. Most recently, he became the Chairman of the National Council of Accountable Physician Practices (which includes the largest medical groups from across the country such as the Mayo Clinic, Geisinger and Intermountain Healthcare).

Dr. Pearl is a frequent lecturer on the opportunities to use 21st Century tools and technology to improve both the quality and cost of health care, while simultaneously making care more convenient and personalized. As a regular contributor to, Dr. Pearl publishes a weekly blog on the nexus of health care and business and provides frequent updates through Twitter. He is an advocate for the power of integrated, prepaid and technologically enabled health care delivery systems. He is also a strong believer that organizations like Kaiser Permanente in which physicians collaborate rather than compete, and in which a multi-specialty medical group works in partnership with a not-for-profit health plan and hospital system, are able to provide superior quality of care over fragmented insurance-based systems.

Academic Degrees

  • MD, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Residency and Internship, Stanford University Hospital

Academic Appointments

  • At Stanford University since 1978

Professional Experience

  • Executive Director and CEO, The Permanente Medical Group
  • Physician-in-Chief, The Permanente Medical Group

Stanford Case Studies

Robert Burgelman, Philip Meza, Robert Pearl
David Caldwell, Davina Drabkin, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl
David Caldwell, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl
David Caldwell, Charles O'Reilly III, Robert Pearl

In the Media

Insights by Stanford Business

May 15, 2024
Dr. Robert Pearl believes tools like ChatGPT will make patients healthier, providers happier, and medical bills smaller.
June 10, 2021
Physicians need to heal their damaged professional culture, argues Dr. Robert Pearl.
May 16, 2017
To drive down the cost of health care insurance, we must redesign care delivery.
June 01, 2015
Hospitals should adopt these popular business strategies.