Customer Acceptance of Frontline Service Robots

Access & Terms of Use
embargoed access
Embargoed until 2024-11-29
Copyright: Amelia,
The overall aim of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive understanding of customer acceptance of frontline service robots (FSR). To achieve this goal, three underpinning research objectives were first generated: (1) to develop and empirically examine a model of customer acceptance of FSR; (2) to investigate how customers evaluate and accept FSR in a service failure context; and (3) to examine potential moderators that may change the nature of the relationship in the empirical models. This thesis consists of three stand-alone studies that collectively contribute to understanding customer acceptance of FSR, as well as providing insightful managerial implications. The first study qualitatively explores the underlying factors that customers consider regarding FSR acceptance based on their interaction experiences with an FSR in a retail banking context. The results identified 16 dimensions, grouped into five main themes: the utilitarian aspect, social interaction, customer responses towards FSR, customer perspectives of the company brand, and individual and task heterogeneity. These provided initial evidence with which to develop a comprehensive FSR acceptance model. Drawing on self-determination theory (SDT), Study 2 developed and empirically tested a model of FSR acceptance as a function of the fulfillment of basic human needs. It revealed that FSR can provide psychological comfort by meeting functional and hedonic evaluations (i.e., functionality and enjoyment), that in turn lead to customer willingness to accept the technology. Additionally, implementing FSR can enhance customer perception of a firm’s innovativeness. The need for human interaction was also found to be a moderating variable that strengthens the effect of perceived sociability and social presence on customer evaluation of FSR functionality. Lastly, Study 3 – anchored in attribution theory and the concept of automated social presence – examined customer acceptance of FSR in a service failure context. The results showed that an internal (rather than external) locus of attribution and high social presence displayed by FSR produces a more positive evaluation of FSR functionality and psychological comfort, even when customers experience a service failure incident. Additionally, the findings suggest that perceived failure severity moderates the link between the locus of attribution and customer evaluation of FSR functionality, and psychological comfort.
Persistent link to this record
Link to Publisher Version
Link to Open Access Version
Additional Link
Conference Proceedings Editor(s)
Other Contributor(s)
Corporate/Industry Contributor(s)
Publication Year
Resource Type
Degree Type
PhD Doctorate
UNSW Faculty