When Your Boss is an Algorithm: The Effect of Algorithmic Management on Worker Performance

21 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2024

See all articles by Yotam Margalit

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University

Shir Raviv

Columbia University

Date Written: March 28, 2024


Artificial intelligence is becoming an integral part of the workplace and is increasingly used for managerial tasks (e.g., evaluating candidates, allocating assignments, assessing productivity). How do workers respond to algorithmic management? How does it affect their attitude and performance at work? To study these under-explored questions, we conducted a field experiment in an online labor marketplace where we randomly assigned 1,500 workers to either a human or algorithmic manager treatment and varied the type of interaction (positive vs. negative).Our results indicate that working under algorithmic rather than human management has substantial consequences on the way workers approach and carry out the job. Specifically, workers who receive positive feedback from human managers put significantly more care and effort into their tasks and perform more accurately, compared to workers who receive identical feedback from algorithmic management. Our findings underscore the important role of recognition by humans in motivating workers.

Keywords: Algorithmic management, Worker Performance, Artificial Intelligence, Field Experiment

Suggested Citation

Margalit, Yotam and Raviv, Shir, When Your Boss is an Algorithm: The Effect of Algorithmic Management on Worker Performance (March 28, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4776355 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4776355

Yotam Margalit

Tel Aviv University ( email )

Tel Aviv

HOME PAGE: http://www.ymargalit.net

Shir Raviv (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

Northwest Corner, 550 W 120th St
New York City, NY 10027
United States

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