Challenges of Digitalization and Automation:
The Advent of Human Centered Management

First, what is the problem? Digitalization increasingly changes, enhances, complements and substitutes the human workplace. Computers are in the middle of virtually every transaction. Many companies put their focus on automation. The idea behind human centered management is to shift focus and to recognize the challenges we face as humans. See sketch (1).

(1) Situation: The challenges of digitalization and automation

How our economic model of man creates a problem

Second, why is there a problem? The discipline of economics largely rests on a simplified model of man, called homo economicus or economic man. Fundamental ideas of economics were soon adopted by management science and thus later on adopted in business administration and managerial practice. Technological innovation led to the spread of information technology in business. IT identified the algorithm behind the homo economicus as a useful tool. With the rise of artificial intelligence it becomes clear that AI is the better economic agent in the sense of the scientific model. Natural economic man in such organizations has had his best days. It is time for a new model of man and it is time for human centered management. See sketch (2).

(2) Complication: Our model of man

Team up with complementing strengths

Third, a new perspective. Sketches (1) and (2) showed the challenges of and the context for human centered management or #HCM. Sketch (3) suggests that a model of man for management has to clearly distinguish man from machine. The behavioural model of economic man assumes rational-choice. Both, man and machine, may exhibit rational behaviour. Machine can in fact be better at rational-choice. But man comes along with a unique blend of bond and mind. Embedded in culture and context, we combine inductive rationality, tacit knowing, morality and passion to perform. This is what human centered management needs to consider and appreciate. And this is the mindset needed to find suitable ways for agile teaming between man and machine or rather artificial intelligence.

(3) Insight: Team up with complementing strengths

Integrated human factors training

Fourth, getting there with human factors training. Human centered management requires certain competencies. It can benefit from an integrated approach to training that consists of 7 main modules: situational awareness, systems thinking, communication & coordination, mindfulness & vigilance, decision making, agile cooperation and ideation. In concert (i.e. all members of a team enabled by all modules) #humanfactors training can mean less crisis and more innovation. See sketch (4).

(4) Way forward: Integrated human factors training

Article by Prof. Dr. Dirk Nicolas Wagner (Professor of Stratetic Management)

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