Robertson's theories have focused significantly on a more phenomenological and psycho-social approach than that of more materialist oriented theorists such as Immanuel Wallerstein or Fredric Jameson. For Robertson, the most interesting aspect of our modern (or postmodern) era is the way in which a global consciousness has developed. He lays down a progression of "phases" that capture the central aspects of different eras in global history, asserting that we have entered the fifth phase, that of Global Uncertainty.
Robertson's main works are Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture (1992) and the edited volume Global Modernities. In 1985 he was the first sociologist to use the term globalization in the title of a sociological article. His 1992 definition of globalization is “the compression of the world and the intensification of the consciousness of the world as a whole”. This definition has also been credited as the first ever definition of globalization. through a more detailed analysis of the history of this terms indicates it has many authors. He is also said to have coined the term glocalization in 1992.