Intelligent Machines and Teamwork: Help or Hindrance?

Intelligent machines are being deployed as human assistants in a variety of corporate, military, and healthcare settings. Research has generally examined how intelligent machines affect individual human behavior, but very few studies explore how intelligent machines impact teams and teamwork. We examine the performance and processes of teams using an embodied intelligent personal assistant (EIA) to complete a collaborative task. We expected that EIA use would enhance team performance on an intellective task but interfere with the development of a transactive memory system (TMS). A TMS is a collective memory system that, once developed, has strong positive effects on sustained team performance. Our findings show that under some conditions EIA use may be helpful to team performance initially, but harmful to the eventual development of a TMS. We highlight the need for new theorizing about the generative and destructive impacts of intelligent machine use in teams."

Bei Yan, Kyle Lewis, Patrick Figge, Andrea Hollingshead, Kristen Steves Alexander, Young Ji Kim, and Chengyu Fang

Intelligent Machines and Teamwork: Help or Hindrance?, Academy of Management, Proceedings, 2020,