The AI of the Beholder: Intra-Professional Sensemaking of an Epistemic Technology

Harry Scarbrough, Yaru Chen, Gerardo Patriotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


New technologies are equivocal, triggering sensemaking responses from the individuals who encounter them. As an ‘epistemic technology’ AI poses new challenges to the expertise and jurisdictions of professionals. Such challenges may be interpreted quite differently, however, depending on the specialized role identities which develop within the wider professional domain. We explore the sensemaking responses of these intra-professional groupings to the challenges posed by AI through an empirical study of professionals playing different roles (front-line, hybrid and field-level) in the field of radiology within NHS England. We found that these intra-professional groupings sought to make sense of AI through a triadic view focused on the interplay of professional, client and technology. This sensemaking, arising from different jurisdictional contexts, led individual professionals to perceive that their agency was diminished, complemented or enhanced as a result of the introduction of AI. Our findings contribute to the literature on professions and AI by showing how intra-professional differences affect sensemaking responses to AI as a jurisdictional contestant.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Early online date15 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2024


  • equivocality
  • sensemaking
  • profession
  • jurisdiction
  • future of work
  • AI technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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