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Artificial Intelligence and Leadership: How the Use of AI Systems Succeeds

Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann, Professor of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at Chemnitz University of Technology, is one of the authors of the current white paper of the Learning Systems Platform

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world of work - and with it leadership in companies and institutions. AI systems can relieve managers of repetitive standardizable tasks and automate processes, such as the creation of duty rosters, task allocation or budget control. With the help of machine learning methods, they can evaluate large amounts of operational data or key figures in a short time and thus support evaluation and strategic decisions. In addition, AI systems can also support managers in their duty of care, for example by warning them of burnout.

"Artificial intelligence can relieve managers by allowing assistance and automation systems to take over operational tasks. This gives managers more time for better, more cooperative personnel management or for innovation processes. In this way, the capabilities of AI for performing routine tasks and the capabilities of humans for creative problem solving, motivation and overcoming situational challenges are ideally combined. Managers as well as employees benefit," says Prof. Dr. Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann, head of the Professorship of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at Chemnitz University of Technology and member of the Learning Systems Platform. In addition, as a member of the work/qualification and human-machine interaction working group of this platform, she is one of the authors of the new white paper Führung im Wandel: Herausforderungen und Chancen durch Künstliche Intelligenz (Leadership in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities through Artificial Intelligence).

What executives need to consider when sharing work with AI systems

The publication makes clear that the use of AI systems in the company sets changes in motion and presents employees with far-reaching organizational and labor law challenges, such as the basis on which AI systems can issue instructions. Shaping this change together with employees becomes a central task for managers. One risk of using AI, for example, is losing sight of the people behind the data due to the key figures and statistics evaluated by the AI system, warn the experts in the white paper. "AI systems can take over management tasks from humans. One could imagine an AI designing individual curricula for employee training based on data available to the company. Of course, this data is personal and highly sensitive. So there may be concerns among employees - from malfunctions of the AI, to fears that a computer will affect career opportunities in the future, to so-called leaks," says Bullinger-Hoffmann. "As occupational scientists, we know how demotivating and debilitating such mental stress can be. That's why we emphasize in the paper the importance of managers' duty of care. AI systems must be designed and introduced in a user-oriented way, which means that employees must be involved in the design of the new processes from the very beginning."

The authors of the white paper recommend certifying AI systems in management according to their risk potential and only using certified systems to prevent misuse. The data on which AI systems perform management tasks should be determined in close consultation with employees and their representative bodies. In addition, managers should be prepared for dealing with the AI systems and sensitive data.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Angelika C. Bullinger-Hoffmann, Professorship of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at Chemnitz University of Technology, tel. 0371 531-23210, e-mail awi@tu-chemnitz.de.

(Author: Mario Steinebach / Translation: Brent Benofsky)

Matthias Fejes

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