Creating a workforce of fatigued cynics? A randomized controlled trial of implementing an algorithmic decision-making support tool

Matthias Döring, Kim Sass Mikkelsen, Jonas Krogh Madsen, Kristian Bloch Haug

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Abstract

In recent decades, public service provision has become increasingly digitalized. However, while digitalization and artificial intelligence holds many promises, there is surprisingly little causal evidence on how it affects the employees who provide such services in the frontline. Based on cognitive and social psychological theories, we argue that IT projects can increase employees' cynicism towards change and change fatigue. In liaison with a Danish unemployment insurance fund, we test our hypotheses in a pre-registered randomized controlled trial that introduced an algorithmic decision-making support tool to underpin the counselling of newly unemployed clients. We do not find evidence that implementation of this tool resulted in negative employee outcomes. However, exploratory analyses indicate that this conclusion may mask smaller or heterogenous effects depending on employees' years of service with the insurance fund. We end the paper by discussing the implications of organizational change in the public sector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101911
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume41
Issue number1
Number of pages13
ISSN0740-624X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Algorithmic decision-support tool
  • Change fatigue
  • Cynicism towards change
  • Randomized controlled trial

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