FEATURE15 November 2023

Executive decision: Study highlights role of AI in leaders’ choices

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A lack of consistent standards is hampering CEO decision-making and generative AI is already impacting the calls leaders make, research from IBM has found. Katie McQuater reports

illustration of a person taking multiple paths to open doorways

Uncertainty places greater pressure on leaders. Chief executives must steer organisations, balance shareholder priorities, and pinpoint growth and weakness, all while navigating a changing environment. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown – particularly when it also needs to weigh up large-scale challenges such as sustainability.

New research from IBM has explored the factors leaders take into account when making decisions. For 20 years, the firm’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) has been conducting interviews to explore demands on senior leaders and how the various roles within the c-suite are changing. For this year’s annual CEO study, CEO decision-making in the age of AI, IBM and Oxford Economics interviewed 3, 000 CEOs and public sector leaders about their key decisions and processes, and what they think matters most now.

“We’re trying to make it a conversation over time, ” says Haynes Cooney, research director at the IBV. “How are CEOs thinking about all these different challenges, particularly in this seemingly more unpredictable, ...