Robotic transformative service research: Deploying social robots for consumer well-being during COVID-19 and beyond

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose: Besides the direct physical health consequences, through social isolation COVID-19 affects a considerably larger share of consumers with deleterious effects for their psychological well-being. Two vulnerable consumer groups are particularly affected: older adults and children. The purpose of the underlying paper is to take a transformative research perspective on how social robots can be deployed for advancing the well-being of these vulnerable consumers and to spur robotic transformative service research (RTSR). Design/methodology/approach: This paper follows a conceptual approach that integrates findings from various domains: service research, social robotics, social psychology and medicine. Findings: Two key findings advanced in this paper are (1) a typology of robotic transformative service (i.e. entertainer, social enabler, mentor and friend) as a function of consumers' state of social isolation, well-being focus and robot capabilities and (2) a future research agenda for RTSR. Practical implications: This paper guides service consumers and providers and robot developers in identifying and developing the most appropriate social robot type for advancing the well-being of vulnerable consumers in social isolation. Originality/value: This study is the first to integrate social robotics and transformative service research by developing a typology of social robots as a guiding framework for assessing the status quo of transformative robotic service on the basis of which it advances a future research agenda for RTSR. It further complements the underdeveloped body of service research with a focus on eudaimonic consumer well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1148
Number of pages18
JournalJOURNAL OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT
Volume31
Issue number6
Early online date2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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