"Collaborating" with AI: Taking a System View to Explore the Future of Work

Callen Anthony, Beth A. Bechky, Anne Laure Fayard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the wake of media hype about artificial intelligence (AI)/human collaboration, organizations are investing considerable resources into developing and using AI. In this paper, we draw on theories of technology in organizations to frame new directions for the study of what it means to work "with"AI. Drawing on prior literature, we consider how interactions between users and AI might unfold through theoretical lenses which cast technology as a tool and as a medium. Reflecting on how AI technologies diverge from technologies studied in the past, we propose a new perspective, which considers technology as a counterpart in a system of work that includes its design, implementation, and use. This perspective encourages developing a grounded understanding of how AI intersects with work, and therefore ethnography, building on thick descriptions, is an apt approach. We argue that relational ethnographic approaches can assist organization theorists in navigating the methodological challenges of taking a counterpart perspective and propose several strategies for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1694
Number of pages23
JournalOrganization Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • AI
  • collaboration
  • ethnography
  • technology
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of '"Collaborating" with AI: Taking a System View to Explore the Future of Work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this