How ChatGPT can strengthen or weaken organizational culture

Tor W Andreassen. Photo: Siv Dolmen
Professor Tor W Andreassen. Photo: Siv Dolmen
By Tor W Andreassen

7 June 2023 12:22

How ChatGPT can strengthen or weaken organizational culture

Organizational culture is created by employees and leaders, together, over time. Now, ChatGPT can inadvertently destroy it.

Organizational culture encompasses shared values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors that shape an organization's collective identity and function. This includes unwritten rules, social interactions, and the work environment that influence how employees perceive and respond to different situations.

Artificial intelligence (AI), specifically the introduction of LLM (Large Language Model) like ChatGPT, can have a significant impact on employees and organizational culture, both positively and negatively. As LLM is more impacting white-collar workers than blue-collar works, service leaders must pay attention.

On the positive side, LLM can enhance internal communication and collaboration within the organization. It provides instant access to information and enables knowledge sharing. This can create an open and transparent culture where silos are broken down, and collaboration across teams and departments is encouraged.

LLM can also support decision-making processes by providing data-driven understanding, leading to a more analytical and knowledge-based approach. Furthermore, automating routine tasks can free up time for employees to focus on more strategic and meaningful work. This can foster a culture that values independence, creativity, and innovation. LLM can also be a tool for learning and skill development, contributing to a culture that emphasizes continuous learning and professional growth. Leaders must ensure the ethical use of LLM to maintain trust and build a culture that values transparency, fairness, and accountability.

On the other hand, there are also negative aspects to consider. Excessive use and reliance on LLM can reduce human interaction within the organization. Lack of face-to-face interaction and personal connections can negatively affect creativity, collaboration, teamwork, and social relationships.

In the book "I, Human," author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic highlights the importance of relationships and dialogue in an era dominated by AI. There may also be concerns about job insecurity and resistance to LLM implementation. If employees perceive LLM as a threat to job security, it can create a culture characterized by fear and resistance. The organization needs to provide opportunities for upskilling or transitioning to new roles to address these concerns.

Furthermore, LLM can inherit biases from the data it is trained on, which can negatively impact decision-making processes or customer interactions.

Failure to address such biases can undermine trust, create a culture characterized by injustice or discrimination, and harm the organization's reputation. It is therefore important to invest in measures that reduce biases, conduct regular audits, and continuously monitor for ethical use of LLM. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman's book "Noise" can be a valuable resource for reducing biases.

The implementation of LLM can also lead to skill gaps and greater disparities among employees. Some positions, tasks, or skills may become less relevant or outdated because of LLM implementation. This may require redeployment or retraining of employees. If not handled well, it can create a culture marked by uncertainty, anxiety, and reduced job satisfaction. Leaders must provide adequate training and support to help employees adapt to the changed work situation. The message must be that LLM is meant to augment employees, not replace them.

Because organizational culture plays a crucial role in shaping employee behavior, decision-making processes, and the overall success of the organization, it is important to be aware of both the positive and negative effects LLM can have on employees.

By acknowledging and proactively addressing the negative aspects, leaders can enhance the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of LLM implementation. This will contribute to creating a healthy, evolving organizational culture – something we all desire.

More DIG news and blogs