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Business management has been changing. Middle managers of years ago would roam the workplace, observing and advising. But increasingly business decisions have become data driven, and middle managers have been forced to spend most of their time with spreadsheets and dashboards.
Spreadsheets and dashboards are the domain of artificial intelligence, and many are predicting that much of today’s middle-manager tasks of collecting and analyzing data and ultimately making decisions will be taken over by AI and algorithms.
Gartner forecasts a decline in middle management positions. “We will need fewer people managers as many of the management tasks such as collecting data, supervising actions and ensuring compliances will be completed by algorithm and robosses.”
IDC predicts that “by 2030, IDC believes that the middle management layer of large organizations will begin to compress as the pool of suitable candidates declines. Effective middle managers must have a unique combination of detailed domain expertise, creativity, charisma, and ambition. These traits are difficult to find in combination, especially for operational organizations, which struggle with skill gaps and declining interest among younger workers. With fewer qualified workers available, the middle management layer will eventually thin to just a few people managing a highly structured decision-support system.”
It is likely that AI will empower workers that currently report to middle managers. Workers will have more information and be able to make more decisions on their own. This effect could level out some of the levels of today’s organizational hierarchies and even result in greater workforce diversity.
A report by Pega and Marketforce suggested that “to limit AI to just scheduling, resource matching and quality control would be a huge waste of its capabilities. More than nine of ten (91 per cent) believe that advanced analytics will also create new chances to find commercial opportunities for collaboration between teams or organizations within 10 years – 57 per cent think this will happen within five years.”