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Leadership by Algorithm

Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era?

By David De Cremer

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Leadership by Algorithm

Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era?

By David De Cremer

Jacket text

With artificial intelligence on the rise, the way we run our organisations will change—and drastically. But what exactly will that future look like? And who will take the leading role: machines or people?

In this compelling new book, leading management guru David De Cremer identifies the key areas where algorithms will collide with human skills, and assesses the likely outcomes.

Will your next boss be a robot? Can an AI boss display the human qualities that define a good leader: compassion, empathy, imagination, ethics, and strategic awareness?

Drawing on his own research findings, and those from thought leaders around the world, the author presents fascinating insights into the challenges that an automated work environment poses for organisations of the future.

Leadership by Algorithm offers some startling conclusions that make clear the true nature of the power struggle between man and machine. It also identifies the leadership qualities needed to deal with this struggle most effectively.

About the author

David De Cremer is a provost chair, professor in management and the founder and director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind (AiTH) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School. He is the former KPMG-chaired professor in management studies at the University of Cambridge, and has been named the most influential economist in the Netherlands (2009–2010), a global thought leader by the Trust Across America organization (2016), and one of the world’s top 30 management gurus and speakers in 2020 by the organization GlobalGurus.

He is frequently featured by media worldwide (e.g. The Economist, the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Straits Times, Channel News Asia, BBC), consults companies worldwide, and is a bestselling author, with his recent book, Huawei: Leadership, culture, and connectivity, having sold more than one million copies. Thinkers50 also named David a Thinkers50 Radar 201, making him one of 30 global minds to watch in the area of thought leadership in management and business


“Like the long-discussed dispute over efficiency and equality, the rapid development of AI gives rise to the discussion whether the pursuit of maximizing efficiency at the cost of a less humane society is acceptable? Leadership by Algorithm echoes the importance of using AI in wise ways to improve the human condition—a purpose that technology is originally developed to serve. Thought-provoking!”

Frederick Shen, CIO, Aeternam Stella Investment Group

“Everyone is talking about artificial intelligence, but no one has a clue how it will affect the way organizations are managed… until now. David De Cremer, a leading expert, has written the most informative book I’ve read on how algorithms will change leadership—and which parts are unlikely to be replaced by a machine.”

Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take, and host of the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife

“Will your next boss be a robot? In case you haven’t pondered your AI future, David De Cremer—one of the ‘World’s Top 30 Management Gurus’—has done it for you in his fascinating book, Leadership By Algorithm. Read your future today.”

James Bradley, Three-times New York Times bestseller and author of Flags of Our Fathers

“David De Cremer, one of the top gurus in corporate culture, provides unique insight in Leadership by Algorithm as to what leadership means in the AI age. Ignore at your peril!”

Alexandros Papaspyridis, Director Higher Education at Microsoft Asia Pacific Japan

“The tech revolution is happening. But what we need now is a revolution in leadership and in organisations. David De Cremer expertly maps out how this can and must happen.”

Stuart Crainer, Co-founder Thinkers50

“Leadership by Algorithm is a must read for those who want to understand how in the AI era companies have to be run and what kind of leadership will be needed. Thought provoking!”

James Liang, Chairman, former CEO and co-founder of Ctrip

“Leadership by Algorithm is timely, novel, smart and refreshing, providing an enlightened view on how humans and machines can successfully work together to lead the organization of tomorrow. Required reading for all future business leaders!”

Francisco Veloso, Dean of Imperial College of Business

“As the power of AI touches practically every facet of our lives, Dr De Cremer’s Leadership by Algorithm is a must-read. His incisive analysis and thought-provoking ideas offer every reader fresh perspectives and prudent insights that are essential in riding on this massive revolution. Brilliant work.”

Yeow-Kwang Guan, CEO, Mizuho Bank Singapore

“Leadership by Algorithm is a wonderful exploration of how artificial intelligence will transform management and leadership. The book makes bold predictions about the nature and role of leadership in tomorrow’s organisations, and will fundamentally change the way you think about the role that algorithms will and should play in organizations. A truly original and insightful book!”

Bert De Reyck, Dean of UCL School of Management

“An insightful and thought provoking book which should be essential reading for all leaders operating in an increasingly technology fuelled world.”

Melanie Richards, Deputy Chair KPMG in the UK

Media coverage

From National University of Singapore:

The European Business Review devoted its entire January-February 2021 issue to AiTH and our thought leadership. In this video you’ll find the cover of the special issue and an interview with David De Cremer on how we look at the relationship between AI and humanity.

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From On the Radar 2021:

David De Cremer, author of Leadership by Algorithm: Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era has been named as one of the “2021 Thinkers50 Radar list of 30 next generation business thinkers”.

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From Knowledge@Wharton:

The increasing attention being paid to artificial intelligence raises important questions about its integration with social sciences and humanity, according to David De Cremer, founder and director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind at the National University of Singapore Business School. He is the author of the recent book, Leadership by Algorithm: Who… Read more »

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From Business Times:

Algorithms learn from data given to them: if the data is biased, the results will be biased, so all those involved in the system need to be responsible.

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From Harvard Business Review:

Before moving to NUS, he was the KPMG endowed chaired professor in management studies at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He is named one of the World’s top 30 management gurus and speakers in 2020 by the organization GlobalGurus and recently published the book “Leadership by algorithm: Who leads and who follows in the… Read more »

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From Financial Times:

De Cremer’s vision is of a world in which human and algorithm work alongside each other, with managers liberated from humdrum tasks and computers helping to reinforce trust and augment decision-making.

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From Knowledge@Wharton:

De Cremer is provost’s chair and professor in management and organizations at NUS Business School at the National University of Singapore. He is the founder and director of the Center on AI Technology for Humankind, a platform developing research and education promoting a human-centered approach to AI development. His most recent book is Leadership by… Read more »

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From MONEY FM 89.3:

David de Cremer, Provost Chair and Founder and Director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind, NUS Business School, who has written a book ‘Leadership by Algorithm’ on this topic, gives clarity to these questions.

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From Master Investor:

Leadership by Algorithm will be of most interest to those involved in the management of businesses and anyone else who is fascinated by the power of and challenges posed by rapidly developing technologies. While not being an investment book specifically, it will help readers understand a trend that will likely affect all companies eventually, and… Read more »

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Chapter 1: Entering a New Era
Chapter 2: The Leadership Challenge in the Algorithm Age
Chapter 3: Leading by Algorithm: Rushing In
Chapter 4: Management Controls, Leadership Conquers
Chapter 5: Bridging Management and Algorithms
Chapter 6: Algorithms and Leadership
Chapter 7: The Day that Empowerment Changed
Chapter 8: Co-Creation as a New Beginning?
Chapter 9: The Art of Leadership: Purpose and Inclusion
Chapter 10: What Will Be and What Should Be

Published: 26/05/2020
Edition: 1st
Pages: 212
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857198280
ebook - ISBN 9780857198297
audio - ISBN 0000000000034
Media enquiries

If you’d like to get in touch with the author for interview or comment, or you’d like a review copy of this book, please contact us at or call +44 (0)1730 233870.


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