Why the Implementation of AI at Work Causes Resistance: A Psychologist's Perspective

Feb 28, 2024 8:57 PM
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Hello, my name is Victor Mizilin. As a corporate psychologist with 15 years of specialized experience in stress resistance and performance enhancement, I have gained valuable insights into the dynamics of the modern workplace. I have been addressing a prevalent issue: the challenges and stress associated with integrating AI into workflows, which often results in resistance among teams.

In this article, I will provide guidance on how to manage fatigue and shift perception of AI from a potential threat to professionalism, to a beneficial tool capable of reducing the workload.


Cognitive Schema: Work Equals Fatigue

In our culture, fatigue is often seen as a fundamental aspect of professionalism. This perception prevails not only within individual companies but is also a widely accepted standard in the business environment. Work is typically evaluated by the fatigue experienced, particularly by salaried employees who lack other validation mechanisms. This perspective is less applicable to entrepreneurs who gauge their efforts by revenue changes. However, even among them, many associate their success with fatigue. This mindset ties the work process with continual fatigue, leading to resistance when attempts are made to optimize work.

AI as "Theft"?

The introduction of AI and other technologies aims to increase efficiency and simplify labor-intensive processes. However, many workers perceive the use of these tools as "theft", diminishing their work's value and significance. This fear stems from the belief that as their workload decreases, so does their contribution to the overall results, which could potentially impact their income.

Toxicity and Fatigue

What is the common link between toxicity and fatigue? The answer is quite simple: toxic work environments amplify fatigue and diminish productivity. Employees in such environments often feel "tired," even without substantial “physical” exertion. This elicits a misleading sense of hard work, which is ironically viewed as an accomplishment.

Despite producing minimal results, the team perceives any managerial attempts to technically or operationally improve the situation as an additional burden. Hence, before initiating any changes, the root cause of resistance - burnout - must be addressed first.

Altering Employee Mindset

How can you modify this environment? Begin at the core - the employee mindset. It's crucial to communicate to the team that the adoption of AI and other automation tools isn't intended to diminish their value or "take" their jobs. Instead, it's a method to enhance their quality of life by freeing up time for creativity, innovation, and relaxation. The implementation of these innovations should coincide with a cultural shift in how we perceive work and fatigue.

The Task of Management

Management plays a crucial role in this transformation. The process of adapting the entire company begins with a fundamental shift in the mindset of leaders. Working with psychologists, coaches, and participating in leadership and change management training will become essential steps towards a healthier and more productive work environment.

Changing the Company Culture: A New Approach

Changing ingrained beliefs and company culture can be difficult, but it's not impossible. A successful step is to develop training programs that focus not just on learning new tools, but also on understanding their role in the modern world. Gradually introducing AI into work processes, along with clearly explaining its benefits and opportunities for personal growth, can help shift attitudes and set the stage for more profound integration of innovations.

In conclusion

Successful adaptation to changes like the introduction of AI requires understanding and accepting new roles and behaviors. Key factors for an organization and its employees to advance include self-improvement, readiness for change, and the ability to identify new opportunities in technology.