Taking stock and charting the future: The management and implication of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for the changing workplace
The enormous promise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to transform organizations and organizing has come to dominate contemporary discourse on our changing workplace. The upshot is the adoption of creative AI models and tools (e.g. ChatGPT and Legal robots), which overtime, have improved to become incredibly powerful, with trailblazing predictive capabilities that is revolutionizing decision making in many workplaces (Duan et al., 2019; Shrestha et al., 2019). Existing evidence suggest there is still a vast (un)tapped potential to make sure the new AI tools are leveraged to transform the changing workplace for the better (Haenlein and Kaplan, 2019; Ooi et al., 2023). To this end, many organizations are now in the process of redesigning their workplaces around the technology. This demands a shift from attention on the nascent AI cold start problems (Vomberg et al., 2023; Zhang et al., 2021), to making choices that borders on the creation and capture of value from the ongoing AI transformation. Yet, much about the technology still needs ironing out to the extent that we know little as to what will happen to organizations, and the effectiveness of individuals and groups in the workplace, when AI comes to dominate the way work is organised, done, and managed. Like previous waves of technologies, AI promises to do away with menial or dull work but technological and cultural myths about its future (Bewersdorff,2023; de Saint Laurent, 2018), and growing concerns that they could potentially replace people, and decimate millions of jobs remains a potent threat than hitherto (Raisch and Krakowski, 2021; Sharma, 2020). In response there has been a surge in scholarly emphasis on the relationship between people and AI, with very little attention being paid to how people will actually treat others in organizations in the presence of AI (Glikson and Woolley, 2020; Livingston and Risse, 2019). For better or worse, the broader and potential social effect of AI (Zimmerman et al., 2023) could challenge the orthodoxies of conventional organizing and the tools needed to effectively manage people at the workplace. In this regard, AIs potential to, for example, obscuring moral responsibility and encouraging unethical interactions between managers and employees in the future workplace remains a palpable threat (Méndez-Suárez et al., 2023; Sullivan and Fosso Wamba, 2022). Also, remaining unresolved are the unintended consequences of AI on employee performance and the lingering ethical and governance concerns about the technology (Varma et al., 2023). AI at the workplace for example, can help improve performance by increasing managerial oversight and control over employees. While such performance improvements remain invaluable organizational outcomes, the deployment of the AI can also have unwelcomed impact on employee data privacy, security, and wellbeing (Kim and Bodie, 2021). Reconciling and understanding the vicissitudes of similar paradoxes and tensions has become all important as AI becomes more present in the new workplace. Thus, this special issue aims to take stock, and also chart the future of the(un) known possibilities and potentialities of AI for the changing workplace.
List of Topic Areas
- Can AI offer an ethically satisfactory substitute for human/human relationships at the workplace?
- How can AI be leveraged to influence managerial preference for or responses to reward systems?
- How should the Ai-curious manager think about the technology?
- How do we strike a balance between privacy and performance to leverage AI for workplace productivity?
- When should managers use their decision authority to override AI recommendations?
- How can we eliminate or minimise biases and unintended consequences of AI algorithms employed to managing the workplace?
- Why should we make AI transparent? Should employees be routinely made aware of the AI technologies being used in their workplaces; and which data are being gathered?
- What are the prospects of AI fuelling a resurgence of labour unions seeking to represent employees’ interests and to set norms?
- Surveillance at work is nothing new but when is it likely for AI surveillance to feel Orwellian?
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Closing date for manuscripts submission: 30/05/2024