Robert Kelley

Distinguished Service Professor of Management at Tepper School of Business


Tepper School of Business

Robert E. Kelley is the author of the national best-selling and classic business books, including:

How to Be a Star at Work: Nine Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed. The Power of Followership The Gold-Collar Worker Consulting Dr. Kelley is an intellectual entrepreneur in the marketplace of ideas. Included in Business Week's cover story on "Management's New Gurus," he consistently stays a step ahead of the pack in creating new management practices used by world class organizations. Nurtured through innovative research and practical application, his brainchildren have gained wide acceptance in the marketplace of ideas. For example,

How to Be a Star at Work was honored as one of "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time" and the #1 career book by the New York Daily News. The book was on Business Week's best-sellers list for eight weeks and's for 20 weeks. He coined the term "Gold-Collar Worker" in his book by that title which brought national recognition to brainpowered workers and spurred research on intellectual capital and the “creative class.” The term was considered a new word by the American Heritage Dictionary. Inc. Magazine named the book in its "CEO Required Reading List." Widely considered the founder of “followership” studies, he pioneered the concept in his best-selling book The Power of Followership and his Harvard Business Review article "In Praise of Followers" (a top 25 best-selling reprint for HBR); He wrote the first and best selling book on Consulting, which is already considered a classic. Dr. Kelley and his work have been acclaimed in the media and publishing world. His ideas and work have appeared on NBC Today Show, CBS Evening News, ABC, CNN, National Public Radio, and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, Fast Company, People Magazine, Industry Week, Nation's Business, Barrons, Atlantic Monthly, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and many major U.S. newspapers. His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish; another book was selected by three major book clubs in both its original and revised editions.

His articles include:

“How Bell Labs Creates Star Performers” and “In Praise of Followers” published in the Harvard Business Review; “How to Be a Star Engineer,” IEEE Spectrum; “Self Management at Work,” Training and Development; "Unwrapping Racial Harassment Law," Berkeley Journal Of Employment and Labor Law (with P. Chew); “Myth of the Color-Blind Judge: An Empirical Analysis of Racial Harassment Cases,” Washington University Law Review (With P. Chew); “Secrets of The Stars.” American Lawyer (with Pat Chew). As President of Consultants to Executives and Organizations, Dr. Kelley helps global clients, such as AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Merck, 3M, Wal-Mart, Alcoa, Ford, the Robert Bosch Corporation, Ontario Teachers’ Pension and Planning Board (Canada’s largest pension fund), and Family Communications, Inc. (the organization behind the award winning TV program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood). Internationally, he has spoken to government officials and executives in China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Brazil, England, France and Italy.

Dr. Kelley is a sought-after speaker for both professional keynote presentations and for executive education programs both in the U.S. and abroad. He has keynoted for the Professional Women’s Forum, Bell Labs Diversity Conference, and the annual convention of the Assn. of Training and Development. Abroad, he has presented programs in Beijing, Tokyo, London, Venice, Paris, Singapore, Sao Paulo, and Surabaya, Indonesia.

Professional and Educational Background Dr. Kelley’s educational background includes post-doctoral work at the Harvard Business School, Ph.D. from Colorado State University, M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. from Drake University. He also studied in Rome, Italy.

He has been a senior management consultant with the Stanford Research Institute, a Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Business School, worked for the consulting division of Ernst and Young, and since 1979, runs his own consulting business. Currently, he splits his time among teaching, writing, and consulting.

Dr. Kelley teaches at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best MBA programs. He consistently is rated one of the top teachers and was nominated by students for Carnegie Mellon University’s Doherty Teaching Prize. For 25 years, he has leveraged his leading-edge research to pioneer a series of innovative courses that premiered at CMU. These include:

Managing Intellectual Capital and Knowledge-Intensive Businesses Designing Customer Driven Strategies and Services Developing Star Performers Followership and Leadership in Business Learning the New Rules of Business On-Going Projects Dr. Kelley currently is consulting and writing about:

how to turn average performers into stars; how to cultivate successful follower-leader partnerships; how to make organizations customer-driven and to improve the quality of service/product; how to leverage a firm’s intellectual capital through strategies, operations and pricing; and how minorities and women can avoid career de-railers and become star performers at work. Personal For fun, Kelley founded and sings in the Tepper School “MB-A-cappella” group, plays basketball with his kids and students, runs in beautiful Pittsburgh parks, and travels internationally with his family.

Courses Taught

Read about executive education

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