Tuesday was the “worst day of my business life,” former General Electric vice chairman Bob Wright told CNBC, after shares plunged for the second day in a row.
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A recent paper by Faculty Affiliate Pinar Yildirim explores the increasingly common scenario of working alongside robots.
It suggests that, at the moment at least, there is often a fall in efficiency and productivity in such scenarios because the introduction of automation destabilizes human teams.
“The attraction of machines and robots is the potential increase in efficiency and the reduction in the cost of getting things done,” the research explains. “On the other hand, you have to think about the behavioral reactions of men and women who are now working alongside machines instead of humans.”
As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, the ways that organizations manage risk will become even more important.
In an increasingly volatile world, risk must be much more reactive and open-minded about the issues that could come along, says Faculty Affiliate Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor professor of management at The Wharton School, and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. “The tools for managing [risk] have gotten better but I don’t think knowledge of them has spread that far,” he says.
Faculty Affiliate Adam Grant, the professor at Wharton University said, “A.I. is going to help us learn from our own successful routines.” The technology is already available in speech-coaching apps like Ummo. Grant also believes that the companies will start adding new positions called “CLO (chief learning officer)”. He further added, “If you don’t think it’s strategic to have a function that comes right down from the C-suite — to think how do we retrain, and how do we reskill? — then you’re going to be missing out on a really high-qualified workforce to do jobs that don’t exist today.”
Faculty Affiliate Michael Useem, a Wharton professor and director of the school’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, said new CEO John Flannery’s work is going to be extremely difficult.
“A remake of this scale … it’s like turning a battleship. It’s going to take some serious time,” he said. “With a tough-minded executive in charge you can do it and the betting is probably going to be on Flannery doing it,” he added.
If by announcing a search for a second headquarters Amazon intended to play one city against another and generate millions of dollars in free publicity, it has worked. Many observers believe Amazon has long known where it wants to be — or at least has never seriously considered more than two or three specific sites — since there are no more than a handful of cities that fit the requisite criteria. So what is Amazon thinking about when looking for a location?
“For most businesses, the issue of location choice now is driven by labor: Will we be able to attract the white collar skills we need?” says Faculty Affiliate Peter Cappelli, director of School’s Center for Human Resources. “For unskilled or semi-skilled jobs, will we be able to get it at a price we want to pay? No business goes to the Silicon Valley or New York City because it is cheap; they go because of the labor supply.”