What AI will do to corporate hierarchies – Thomas Malone

Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor of Management, a Professor of Information Technology

From The Wall Street Journal 

Ask people about artificial intelligence, and the discussion will most often turn to jobs: which ones will be eliminated and which ones will be created.

But regardless of what happens to the number of jobs, there’s another question that is less often discussed but crucial for maximizing both productivity and employee morale: How is AI likely to change the structure of business hierarchies themselves?

The obvious answer may be that the management structure is likely to get more centralized and rigid. After all, AI will help managers track more detailed data about everything their subordinates are doing, which should make it easier—and more inviting—to exercise stricter controls.

This will no doubt be true in some cases. But look more closely, and I believe the opposite is much more likely to happen in many cases. That’s because when AI does the routine tasks, much of the remaining nonroutine work is likely to be done in loose “adhocracies,” ever-shifting groups of people with the combinations of skills needed for whatever problems arise.

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Human capital and the changing nature of work – Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

MIT Sloan Visiting Lecturer Irving Wladawsky-Berger

From The Wall Street Journal 

People have long feared that machines are coming for our jobs. Throughout the Industrial Revolution there were periodic panics about the impact of automation on work, going back to the so-called Luddites, textile workers who in the 1810s smashed the new machines that were threatening their jobs.

Automation anxieties have understandably accelerated in recent years, as our increasingly smart machines are now being applied to activities requiring intelligence and cognitive capabilities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. But on balance, such fears appear to be unfounded, noted the World Bank in a comprehensive recent report on The Changing Nature of Work. Our problem is not that there won’t be enough work in the future. Our key problem is that, in many countries, the workforce is not prepared for our fast unfolding future.

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Corporate Social Responsibility pays for itself: Here's the evidence

Caroline Flammer, Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

In recent years, the call for corporate social responsibility has grown louder, and many companies have committed to serious CSR programs.

However, a big question for companies is to what extent CSR—specifically behavior that  affects the  environment—actually alters shareholder value. Is it  better to pursue a single bottom line, or do shareholders benefit more when a company supports the “triple bottom line” that includes people, the planet, and profits?

It’s easy to see that a company’s environmental footprint can sometimes make a big difference in shareholder value, as when the BP oil spill, in April 2010, sent BP’s stock price plummeting from $59.50 that day to $28.90 by the end of June, reducing shareholder value by half. But that was a dramatic event, the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. What about lesser happenings at other companies?

To find out, I tracked hundreds of articles in The Wall Street Journal for relevant press coverage on responsible and irresponsible environmental behavior by U.S. publicly-traded companies from 1980 to 2009. Then I analyzed how the stock market had reacted to those events and looked for trends over the past three decades.

To read more, please visit Forbes at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2011/08/30/csr-pays-for-itself-heres-the-evidence/