Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming organizations
Introducing new technologies into organizations always requires change. Introducing new AI technologies is even more complex. AI is not a "one-time project" or something that can be designed and then easily implemented. Starting to use AI is more about re-designing and re-thinking routines in organizations rather than "just" starting to use new technology.
Zeina Othman, a doctoral student in Industrial Economics at Mälardalen University (MDU), takes a closer look at this in her thesis "Re-designing Organizational Routines in the Echo of AI Algorithms". In her thesis, she collaborates with the global company eSmart Systems, a leading provider of AI-driven services and solutions in the energy field.
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is profoundly transforming organizations, but AI is not a magic wand and cannot just be implemented”, says Zeina Othman.
Introducing new AI technologies is a complex one
The overall objective of Zeina Othman's thesis is to develop an understanding of how organizations need to re-design and re-think different processes prior to and during the adoption and use of artificial intelligence (AI). The technology affects many different processes, both in terms of how to introduce AI and how to work with the organizational changes around AI technology.
“I want to develop an understanding of the organizational routine re-design process when introducing and deploying AI technologies and algorithmic artifacts to realize intended organizational goals, by shedding light on how organizational actors can influence the routine re-design process, and the emerging consequences of this process and how it unfolds, specifically during the design and use of these technologies”, says Zeina Othman.
Can you give some examples of how the relationship between AI and organizational processes is complex?
“The relationship between AI and organizational processes is a complex one. AI is not a “one-time project” or a “design-it-and-forget-it-process” and cannot just be "implemented". The introduction of AI applications is done by an assemblage of actors and technologies that reconfigure organizational routines, along an intricate process of different emerging boundary-crossings.” Zeina Othman says.
Collaboration with an external partner
In her PhD research, Zeina Othman is collaborating with eSmart Systems, who have been working with AI for over 10 years in what they call Collaborative-AI. The starting point for Zeina Othman's thesis a case study of an AI digitalization project for one of their largest utility clients in Europe that aims to digitalize the inspection of their powerlines grid using drones and AI technology. To collect data, she uses interviews and observations.
Why is this research important?
“Research on AI and organizational routine design is important because introducing AI and algorithmic technologies into organizational routines and practices is not a simple flip switch, but it rather requires and involves significant efforts in a complex process of emerging assemblages that requires iterative and ongoing interactions between different organizational actors and technological artifacts."
"Also, AI can provide organizations with data-driven insights that inform both operational and strategic decisions, thus understanding how AI fits into the routine design can help organizations harness this data effectively and efficiently” Zeina Othman concludes.