Artificial Intelligence and Management: The Automation-Augmentation Paradox
Taking three recent business books on artificial intelligence (AI) as a starting point, we explore the automation and augmentation concepts in the management domain. Whereas automation implies that machines take over a human task, augmentation means that humans collaborate closely with machines to perform a task. Taking a normative stance, the three books advise organizations to prioritize augmentation, which they relate to superior performance. Using a more comprehensive paradox perspective, we argue that, in the management domain, augmentation cannot be neatly separated from automation. These dual AI applications are interdependent across time and space, creating a paradoxical tension. Over-emphasizing either augmentation or automation fuels reinforcing cycles with negative organizational and societal outcomes. However, if organizations adopt a broader perspective comprising both automation and augmentation, they could deal with the tension and achieve complementarities that benefit business and society. Drawing on our insights, we conclude that management scholars need to be involved in research on the use of AI in organizations. We also argue that a substantial change is required in how AI research is currently conducted in order to develop meaningful theory and to provide practice with sound advice.
Raich, S. & Krakowski, S. (in press). Artificial Intelligence and Management: The Automation-Augmentation Paradox. Academy of Management Review