Partnering with AI: how organizations can win over skeptical managers

Vegard Kolbjørnsrud (Department of Strategy, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Richard Amico (Accenture, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Robert J. Thomas (Accenture, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Publication date: 16 January 2017



According to the authors’ research, while top-level executives look forward to the potential of artificial intelligent systems in their firms, line managers are much more skeptical. This article advises on i8mplementation strategy.


Drawing on findings from Accenture’s survey of 1,770 managers in 14 countries and interviews with 37 senior executives responsible for digital transformation, the authors have identified patterns in managers’ attitudes and offer strategies for effective adoption of the new technology.


When managers have a say and involvement in initial training efforts, they gain a sense of ownership throughout the learning process as well as familiarity with intelligent systems.

Practical implications

The introduction of AI will put a premium on “soft” skills such as collaboration, creativity and good judgment, which may be just as important, if not more important, than technical skills in the future.


The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) promises to transform the nature of work and the relationship among human beings and machines in organizations. When the authors asked whether leaders would be comfortable with AI monitoring and evaluating their work, 42 percent of the top managers in our survey strongly agreed, while only 15 percent of first-line managers shared the same sentiment.” This research discovered that top executives cannot assume that mid- and lower-level managers will share their appreciation for AI.



Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, Richard Amico and Robert J. Thomas (2017) "Partnering with AI: how organizations can win over skeptical managers", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 37-43

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