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2016/2017  KAN-CINTV1010U  The Robot Armada is Taking Over. What's Next, Manager?

English Title
The Robot Armada is Taking Over. What's Next, Manager?

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Information Systems, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Kim Normann Andersen - Department of IT Management (ITM)
Main academic disciplines
  • Information technology
  • Innovation
  • Management
Last updated on 01-08-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: Able to assess the business benefit of robots
  • Able to assess and discuss business strengths and weaknesses of robots
  • Can account for how productivity problems, capacity challenges, and lack of innovation can be solved by use of robots
  • Understand differences and able to exemplify industry, service, social, and software robots
  • Can give examples of and discuss management challenged when implementing robots in industrial settings
  • Can account for the industrial age management mindset and the innovation management perspectives and are able to apply these to adoption of robots
The Robot Armada is Taking Over, What's Next, Manager?:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Synopsis
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Winter
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Closed book
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The student will give a short presentation of the synopsis (2-5 minutes) and will then engage in a discussion on the topic(s) addressed in the synopsis. In the oral exam relevant part of the mandatory readings in the course will be included.

Course content and structure

The key ambition of this course is to bring awareness of the business potential of  robots and how managers can respond to the  robot armada (industry robots, social robots, service, and software robots)  introduced in the business landscape. 


Pursuing these objectives, we are exploring  scope, scale, and productivity gains and how to capitalize on these. We are using Danish and international real-world cases where robots already are being deployed. 


The course gives the students insight in how robots help  automate and qualify operations and replace manual work in a variety of the fields within the service and industry sectors.


The course have a number of guest lectures from companies using robots in their   business operations. Also, companies selling robots are presenting in the class.
The cases presented include the food and restaurant business, health and home care, and the educational sector, where automation and robots are rapidly being introduced.


The management perspective on robots is taking it’s point of departure in two distinct views on management.  60 years ago, Drucker coined the concept of management by objectives arguing that management and employees need to understand what they need to do in order to achieve them. In the class we address how we respond to this objective when introducing robots in the business landscape. Moving beyond the industrial age management thinking,  we introduce the second stream of management approach using Rob Austin four building bricks in the artfull making and the management of innovation: release, collaboration, ensemble, and play.


Teaching methods
There will be presentations in the class from companies and public organizaations using robots.

We aim for having a power point free zone during the class to stimulate interaction and reflection. There will be presentation of the key concepts, but we aim for as little lecturing style as possible and more problem solving.

There will an optional study field tour to Münich during Fall break to visit companies using robots.
Student workload
Preparation for lectures 146 hours
Teaching 30 hours
Examination 20 hours
Feedback on synopsis 10 hours
Further Information

We welcome students from other Danish and international universities.


The oral exam will be in December month.


The course is open for enrollment for exchange students and as a single course for practitioners. For enrollment from practitioners, please contact studenthub at CBS or Department of IT Managment (bsp.itm@cbs.dk)

Expected literature

Abildgaard, Julie & Scharfe, Henrik (2012). A Germinoid as Lecturer. Social Robotics. 4th International Conference, ICSR 2012, Chengdu, China, October 29-31, 2012. Proceedings. Springer.


Andersen, Kim Normann et al. (2010). Robots on the move from the production line to the service sector: The grand challenges for contractors, workers, and management. eChallenges.


Austin, Rob & Lee Devin (2003a).  Artful Making: What Managers Need to Know About How Artist Work.  (selected chapters)


Austin, Rob & Lee Devin (2003b). Why Managing Innovation is Like Theater. Harvard Business School. Research and Ideas, 29 September


Breazeal et  al. (2013). Crowdsouring Human- Robot Interaction. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 2(1), 82-111 (30 pp) 


Breazeal, C. (2007). Sociable Robots. Journal of Robotics Society of Japan 24(5), 591-593.


Brynjolfsson, Erik and Andrew Mcafee (2014). The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. (selected chapters)


Drucker, Peter (1995) The Age of Social Transformation. The Atlantic.


Drucker, Peter (2010) Technology, Management, and Society.  (selected chapters) (Please note that you are of course welcome to use the older paper back version of the book)


Dunham (2014). Rise of the machines? Tiny robot horde swarms to form shapes. Reuters. Aug 14, 2014 http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/14/us-science-robots-idUSKBN0GE1XI20140814


Economist (2014). Special issue on robots. Economist March 29, 2014 http://www.economist.com/printedition/specialreports?year[value][year]=2014&category=76982


Florida, Richard (2013). Robots Aren’t the Problem. It’s Us.  Harvard Business School Press. (5 pp)


Ford, Martin (2015). Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future. Basic Books. 


Kurzweil, Ray. (1999). The Age of Spiritual Machines, chapter 9 (pp. 189-201).  Penguin Books.


Moon, Youngme (2005). Sony Aibo: The World’s First Entertainment Robot. Harvard Business School Case (20 pp.)


Nielsen, Jeppe, Andersen, Kim Normann, & Sigh, Anne,  (2013). Can Robots Transform Public Service Delivery? A Case Study of Robot Vacuum Cleaning Within Home Care. Conference presentation. EGPA. Edinburgh.


Peppard, Ward & Daniel (2007). Managing the realization of IT benefits. MISQ http://www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/dinamic-content/research/documents/peppardwarddaniel07.pdf


Rifkin, Jeremy (2004). The End of Work. Chapter 1 (pp. 3-14), Chapter 6-7 (pp. 81-106). Penguin.


Sankai, Yoshiyuki et al. (2014).Cybernics: Fusion of human, machine and information systems (selected chapters).


Schumpeter (2011). I, robot-manager. Economist. March 31 2011. http://www.economist.com/node/18483687


Sunstein, Cass R. (2013).  Simpler: The Future of Government. chapter 10 (pp. 100-126). Simon & Schuster.


Susskind, Richard, & Susskind, Daniel (2015). The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts. Oxford University Press. (selected chapters)


Ward, John, & Daniel, Elizabeth (2010). Benefit Management: Delivering Value from IT and IT Investments. Wiley.


Young & Carmier (2014). Can Robots Be Managers Too? Harvard Business Review. http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/can-robots-be-managers-too/

Last updated on 01-08-2016