Asst Prof Matt Beane "On the Radar" for Research Making an Impact

On The Radar: Technology Management assistant professor identified as researcher whose work will make an impact in the year ahead

Describing him as “a leading researcher on better working relationships with robots,” Thinkers50 has named Matt Beane, an assistant professor of technology management at UC Santa Barbara, to its prestigious Radar list of 2021. The international platform for management ideas releases the annual list to spotlight thirty people from around the world whose work it believes will shape the future of how organizations are managed and led. 

“I’ve been aware of Thinkers50 for a few years and always give their lists a read for new ideas, interesting work, and passionate doers. So, it was quite a pleasant surprise to hear from them. I’m grateful and honored,” said Beane, who is a Digital Fellow at both the Stanford Digital Economy Lab and the Digital Economy Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “As I look over the list, it seems to me that each of us has identified an interesting and focused set of questions, problems, and work to pursue.”

Beane studies how artificial intelligence and intelligent machines, specifically robotics, are changing work and the broader implications of these technologies for workers, managers, and organizations. He has completed extensive field research of robotic work in fulfillment centers, robotic surgery, robotic materials transport, and robotic telepresence in healthcare, eldercare, and knowledge work. Currently, Beane is leading a multi-year, nationwide study of how frontline workers and organizations adapt particularly constructively to new forms of automation — AI-enabled robotics in warehouses, in particular.

“It will be really interesting to see what this honor gets me by way of new feedback from the industry — I could end up shifting my research priorities as a result,” said Beane, whose work has been published in top management journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, and the MIT Sloan Management Review. He is also a regular contributor for popular outlets like Wired, Forbes, and MIT’s Technology Review. 

Previously, Beane received the Best Published Paper Award of 2019 from the Organizational Communication and Information Systems (OCIS) Division of the Academy of Management. His related TED talk on how humans learn to work with intelligent machines has received nearly two million hits.