New Dynamic Duo? AI and People Skills Are Changing Business

Nan Jia

Worried AI is coming for your job? Not so fast … It’s more nuanced than that, indicates new research from NAN JIA, the Dean’s Associate Professor in Business Administration and an associate professor of strategic management.

Jia is focusing her research on the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in management. She will present a collection of her work on the impact of AI in the workplace — findings from TWO PUBLISHED papers and one working paper — at this year’s MARSHALL RESEARCH FAIR on February 23.

AI may have “superior analytical skills” with data but is perceived as having an impersonal nature by most. On the other hand, MANAGERS with good people skills can communicate trust and motivate morale among employees. Merge the two together and a dynamic duo may just be possible.

Jia’s research finds that combining the two fosters a complementary relationship in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of managers with strong people skills in effectively utilizing AI assistance tools.

“The ‘human touch’ makes the difference in itself,” Jia explained. “If [the human touch] works alone, it’s going to be less effective than when it is coupled with this highly valid content provided by AI. Both are indispensable.”

The test sample for her research occurred in the fintech industry, focusing on customer service centers where employees’ behavior is easily documented through recorded calls. The data was cataloged and fed into analytics to help evaluate the individual’s performance and determine opportunities for improvement and training.

In this case, AI was used to analyze the recorded data and calculate the results: How were the employees performing in their job? Were they proficient or were adjustments required? This becomes high quality content that the manager could share with a direct report.

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