Navid Asgari, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Grose Family Endowed Chair in Business
Portrait headshot photo of Navid Asgari, Ph.D. smiling in a black jacket
In exploring firms’ strategies and outcomes, scholars may rely on company communications—including press releases and internal memos—to uncover insights into management styles, internal dynamics, and responses to external challenges such as technological change. This examination, often involving thousands of documents, is not only labor intensive but also prone to human error.

Navid Asgari, Ph.D., associate professor and Grose Family Endowed Chair in Business in the Gabelli School’s Strategy and Statistics area, turned to a novel assistant in his study of how cooperative strategies among pharmaceutical firms influence their communication language styles: a large language model (LLM). Large language models are artificial intelligence systems that process massive data sets to predict and generate human language.

“The margin for error when manually processing vast datasets is significantly high,” Asgari remarked. “My engagement with AI evolved from using it as a mere analytical tool to considering it an indispensable research partner, a ’research copilot,’ if you will.”

In his work, Asgari employed GPT-4, a state-of-the-art neural network adept at generating and understanding human-like text, to assess the tone of press releases. His interaction with the AI, often yielding unexpected insights, prompted a closer analysis of its capabilities. Asgari found that any discrepancies in AI-generated results could be attributed to human error, “as machines themselves do not err,” he explained. His rigorous experiments with GPT-4 enriched his understanding of corporate communication styles and fueled further research into LLMs as research aides. Asgari’s research papers have been published in several prestigious academic journals.

The implications of AI extend beyond research, influencing business education profoundly. The emergence of AI writing tools has sparked debates on their role within academic settings. Asgari champions using AI among his students in corporate strategy and technology management courses, viewing it as a vital tool for collaboration.

“Embracing the adage ‘the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest,’ I’ve encouraged my students to engage with AI tools responsibly,” he shared. “Their transparency in using ChatGPT and similar platforms for essays has facilitated honesty and helped diminish writing apprehensions, unlocking new creative potentials.”

The nascent integration of AI in research, especially in critical fields like medicine, demands precision. Asgari argues that as researchers deepen their understanding and refine their methodologies with AI, the accuracy and depth of insights will significantly improve, propelling advancements across various disciplines.

“While challenges exist, so does hope,” Asgari concluded. “As a scholar of strategy and innovation, AI empowers me to uncover unparalleled insights into organizational behavior and outcomes.”

—Gabrielle Simonson, Claire Curry
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