Knowledge@Wharton staff

Presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article published with permission from Knowledge@Wharton, the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

While the arrival of AI-supported automation in the workplace has led to concern about the potential loss of jobs, a new paper by a Wharton marketing professor explores the fate of those who keep their jobs but count robots instead of humans among their co-workers.

In “Men and Machine: When Should a Firm Adopt Automation?,” Wharton’s Pinar Yildirim and co-author Mustafa Dogan, a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, show that in some cases, automation can actually lead to increased costs and inefficiencies because of its dysfunctional impact on human teams.

The professors explored a scenario in which a manager oversees a task completed by two humans and one in which it is carried out by one human and one machine….