Media Release Backgrounder

John Roberts, BA (Honours), PhD

John Roberts is an internationally acclaimed professor of economics and business at Stanford University, a respected researcher, author and expert on the application of economic and strategic analysis to management problems. His most recent book, The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth, was named as the best business book of the year by The Economist. The University of Winnipeg will recognize Roberts and his achievements with an Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree next month at a special convocation ceremony.

Roberts, a United College 1967 BA graduate in Honours Economics, was a celebrated student at United College. During his university days, Roberts received 11 different scholarships and medals and participated extensively in extracurricular activities. Roberts' connection to UWinnipeg has long roots - he has numerous family members with ties to United and Wesley colleges and two relatives (a great uncle and a cousin) after whom Riddell Hall was named.

"We can proudly surmise that these ties to our founding institutions have helped John along his path to academic success and many prestigious academic appointments," said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President & Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg. "His contributions in the field of business and economics have been recognized on the world stage and we are proud to call him a member of our alumni family."

Roberts currently holds a number of prestigious academic appointments:

  • John H. and Irene S. Scully Professorship in Economics, Strategic Management and International Business in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) at Stanford University
  • Professor of Economics in Stanford's School of Humanities and Sciences
  • Director of the Executive Program in Strategy and Organization as well as several company-specific, custom executive programs at the GSB
  • Faculty director of the Global Management Program at the GSB
  • Senior Associate Dean for External Relations at the GSB

His previous prominent academic appointments include:

  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of Research for the Stanford GSB from 1987-1990
  • Holder of the John B. Lovelace Professorship in the GSB from 1980-2001
  • Faculty member in the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University from 1971-1980
  • Visiting, research appointments at Centre for Operations Research and Econometrics (Louvain, Belgium), the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford, California), All Souls College and Nuffield College (Oxford, England) and McKinsey & Co. (London)
  • Visiting researcher at the Institute of Advanced study in Jerusalem, the Department of Economics of the University California-Berkeley and the Institute of Economics and Statistics of Oxford University
  • Visiting lecturer at the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques in Paris
  • Visiting professor at the Universite des Sciences Sociales de Toulouse

In 1997, Roberts gave the inaugural Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies at Oxford and in 2000 he was the Minnesota Lecturer at the Department of Economics of the University of Minnesota. He received the Silver Apple award from the GSB's Alumni Association in 2000 and the Excellence in Teaching Award from the GSB Sloan Program in 2002.

A Fellow and former Council Members of the Econometric Society, Roberts has served on the editorial boards of The American Economic Review, Econometrica, The Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Economic Behavior, The Journal of Economics and Management Strategy and Organization and Markets Abstracts.

Roberts has consulted on competitive strategy and organizational design for major corporations and on regulatory issues for the United States Government and taught in numerous executive education programs in the U.S. and Asia in the areas of business and corporate strategy and organization. He serves on the Boards of Directors of Gorton's of Gloucester and Bluewater Fisheries and on the Steering Committee of the School of Economics' MBA program.

Roberts has published more than 70 scholarly articles in academic journals in a variety of areas in economic theory and game theory and their application to problems in industrial competition and management. He has also written numerous case studies of business and co-authored a major textbook on economics, organizations and management. His current research centres on the design, governance and management of organizations and with the fit between strategy and structure, with special reference to multinational business. This is also the subject of his current MBA, executive and doctoral teaching at Stanford University.

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