Robotic role theory: an integrative review of human–robot service interaction to advance role theory in the age of social robots

Marah Blaurock, Martina Caic*, Mehmet Okan, Alexander P. Henkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract


Purpose

Social robots increasingly adopt service roles in the marketplace. While service research is beginning to unravel the implications for theory and practice, other scientific disciplines have amassed a wealth of empirical data of robots assuming such service roles. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize these findings from a role theory perspective with the aim of advancing role theory for human–robot service interaction (HRSI).

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review of more than 10,000 articles revealed 149 empirical HRSI-related papers across scientific disciplines. The respective articles are analyzed employing qualitative content analysis through the lens of role theory.

Findings

This review develops an organizing structure of the HRSI literature across disciplines, delineates implications for role theory development in the age of social robots, and advances robotic role theory by providing an overarching framework and corresponding propositions. Finally, this review introduces avenues for future research.

Originality/value

This study pioneers a comprehensive review of empirical HRSI literature across disciplines adopting the lens of role theory. The study structures the body of HRSI literature, adapts traditional and derives novel propositions for role theory (i.e. robotic role theory), and delineates promising future research opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-49
Number of pages23
JournalJOURNAL OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Human–robot service interactions
  • Robotic role theory
  • Social robots

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