Management Group Releases AI Tools

The American Management Association’s products are designed to support a workforce that’s still learning to use—and trust—generative AI.

The American Management Association has created a hub for AI learning, responding to research that found most organizations lack a clear strategy around the technology.

The suite of courses and learning tools, released last month, follows on AMA research on companies’ use of AI. In a 2023 report titled Artificial Intelligence Is Booming but US Companies Are Not Ready, AMA found that an overwhelming proportion of respondents—83 percent—said their company did not have a defined AI strategy, or was unsure if it did. But that hasn’t stopped people from putting it to use: 42 percent of respondents said they were using AI tools without a directive from management.

That disconnect, along with concerns about AI’s impact in terms of ethics and changes to the workforce, prompted AMA’s development of the tools, said Brian Weiss, CAE, VP of Emerging Business Growth at AMA. “[The research] showed that there was a lot of interest to taste-test and in some cases insert AI into business practices, and a lot of that was employee-led versus organization-led,” he said. “There are companies implementing it, but not doing it in a systematic manner or based upon some pre-approved strategy, which causes a whole bunch of concerns.”

To address that challenge, AMA has developed a certificate program for workers around AI—not teaching the technical details of the technology itself but providing an overview of the “tools, rewards, risks, and opportunities of AI,” according to a release. In addition, AMA has developed a seminar targeted for business leaders, which according to the release is designed “to help leaders learn how organizations are applying AI to existing and new business models.”

42 percent of respondents said they were using AI tools without a directive from management.

“We saw there was a need for training on the people side of AI,” Weiss said. “They were seeking guidance on how they could implement AI responsibly in their organizations, so they could make sure people were prepared to lead in this new world where AI was becoming prominent.”

The AMA report found that AI generates a lot of anxiety in workers: Only a third of respondents (34 percent) say they trust their managers to use AI fairly and transparently, while 24 percent of non-managerial workers say they fear AI will replace their jobs. Given that concern, enthusiasm for the training tools in the early days has been robust, Weiss said. 

“Interest in registration has been three to four times our standard—we’re seeing significant interest in this, which would lead me to say this was a good bet,” he said. “And it’s not just just our early adopters. We’re introducing new people to the AMA fold, which is really exciting for us, because we’re becoming meaningful to a broader audience.” (People making use of the learning tools do not have to be AMA members.)

Because AI technology and trends are changing so rapidly, Weiss anticipates AMA will be regularly updating its learning offerings and the content they cover. “It’ll depend on how the first set of tools is received,” he said. “We have a pretty deep feedback mechanism: People who go through our courses, our instructors, and our clients tell us what’s working, what’s missing, what we need more of. That pushes us to change things in real time, if need be.”

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