A group of US and Korean experts have cautioned that scenarios in which a human worker establishes a strong emotional attachment with their robot coworker could cause the company’s overall “teamwork quality and performance” to suffer.
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On February 10, experts from the University of Michigan and Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea released a study (read below). It was discovered that when a worker becomes increasingly connected to a robot, a “us-versus-them” mindset develops, with the human-machine combination contending with the rest of the group rather than making a positive contribution to “team relationships and performance.”
Researchers point out that the entry of robots into the workforce has primarily been viewed as a positive development, with any negative consequences being neglected.
Sangseok You, assistant professor of management information systems at Sungkyunkwan University, and Lionel Robert, associate professor of information at the University of Michigan, conducted a set of experiments to see how elevated bond formation among humans and robots impacts a team’s overall results.
In one quantitative randomised lab trial, 88 workers were divided into 44 teams, each of which consisted of two humans and two robots. In a competition-like setting, the groups were entrusted with relocating bottles from various locations.
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The participants were asked how they rated their performance and relationship to their human and robot companions once the trial was completed. It turned out that when humans’ bonds with robots grew stronger, the small teams of four (two humans plus two machines) were more prone to break apart into subgroups, which harmed the overall team’s “quality and performance.”
The researchers also proposed a variety of solutions for preventing such an unwelcome process from emerging within a corporation. The suggestions were based on the experiences of 112 respondents who worked in a variety of industries with humans and robots.
The bottom line is that particular efforts should be made to promote human interaction, or else humans may become enslaved to machines.
If these results are accurate, activities like joint picnics and sports events for workers are effective ways to boost team chemistry.
Read the study below: