The Future of Work – Service Employee-(Ro)bot Collaboration
Special Section call for papers: Journal of Service Management
Extended Abstract Deadline: January 16th, 2023
Guest-Editors & Track Chairs: Werner Kunz (University of Massachusetts Boston) Laszlo Sajtos (University of Auckland) Carlos Flavián (University of Zaragoza)
Full Paper Deadline: October 1st, 2023
Selected papers from the submissions to The Future of Work – Service Employee-(Ro)bot Collaboration track at the 2023 GMC at Seoul will be considered for possible publication in a special section of the Journal of Service Management.
The global social robotics market is expected to grow exponentially over the coming decade. Due to significant shifts in the global population (e.g., aging population, decreasing proportion of skilled workers), robots and automation are likely play a critical role in many areas of our life, including health care, education, communication, entertainment, and hospitality, among others. Enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), the abilities of robots and other technology-based agents have significantly improved in sensing their environment and responding to changes by processing information at high speed, and constantly learning from it; all of which contribute to improvements in robots’ social interactions, including their human-like conversations, facial expressions and movements.
Robots and other AI-based agents are likely to replace humans by overtaking various tasks of mechanical or analytical character. However, due to their high complementarity, the complexity of many service tasks and processes, and the foreseeable demand for specialized services provided directly by humans, service employees and (ro)bots are likely to work alongside and collaborate.
Previous research have primarily focused on the analysis of users' perceptions of robots and their characteristics, as well as the comparison of the service provided by humans and (ro)bots. This special issue is intended to further advance this promising research line, but with a focus on collaboration between service employees and (ro)bots, the opportunities and synergies generated and their critical interdependences. It is expected that this collaboration will be established at several stages of the service process including service promotion or presentation, service delivery and service recovery. This cooperation and integration of activities between service employees and AI-based agents will improve the way customers are attracted, the guiding received throughout the customer journey and the final result achieved with the service delivered.
Topics of interest
This special section aims to contribute to the new research field of service (ro)bots and their impact on customer/employee experience and society at large. Submissions can be conceptual or empirical (quantitative or qualitative) in nature. The topics can be approached from a customer/employee or business perspective or both. Collaboration can be established with front-line service (ro)bots or any other AI-based system. Submissions focused on varied service environments are welcome (health, education, banking, tourism and hospitality, etc.). We highly value interdisciplinary approaches. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Service employees and (ro)bots to attract and guide customers along the customer journey
Characteristics of (ro)bot, service and consumer attended that encourage collaboration
System approach of service (ro)bots
Service employees and (ro)bots coordination in multiteam systems
Employee perceptions and attributions of the objectives of robot incorporation
(Ro)bots impact on service employees’ emotions and mental wellbeing, and mitigating adverse effects
Service employees and (ro)bots interdependence of workflows, goals and authority
Transparency and visibility of service employees and (ro)bots collaboration
Automation paradox in frontline service settings
The role of touch versus tech in the service delivery with (ro)bots
Develop metrics for managing teamwork between service employees and (ro)bots
The interaction of service employees and (ro)bots in non-scripted service settings
Service employees and AI-based agents in non-physical service tasks, including communication, customer service and service recover
Specific research questions that are of interest may be found (among others) in these articles:
Belanche, D., Casaló, L. V., Flavián, C., & Schepers, J. (2020). Service robot implementation: a theoretical framework and research agenda. The Service Industries Journal, 40(3-4), 203-225.
Belanche, D., Casaló, L. V., Flavián, C., & Schepers, J. (2020). Robots or frontline employees? Exploring customers’ attributions of responsibility and stability after service failure or success. Journal of Service Management, 31(2), pp. 267-289.
De Keyser, A. & Kunz, W.H., 2022. Living and working with service robots: a TCCM analysis and considerations for future research. Journal of Service Management, 33(2), pp.165–196.
Le, K. B. Q., Sajtos, L., & Fernandez, K. V. (2022). Employee-(ro) bot collaboration in service: an interdependence perspective. Journal of Service Management, (ahead-of-print).
Krafft, M., Sajtos, L., & Haenlein, M. (2020). Challenges and opportunities for marketing scholars in times of the fourth industrial revolution. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 51(3), 1-8.
Robinson, S., Orsingher, C., Alkire (née Nasr), L., De Keyser, A., Giebelhausen, M., Papmichaeil, K. N., Shams, P. and Temerak M. S. (2019), “Frontline Encounters of the AI Kind: An Evolved Service Encounter”, Journal of Business Research, forthcoming.
Wirtz, J., Patterson, P., Kunz, W., Gruber, T., Lu, V. N., & Paluch, S. (2018). Brave New World: Service Robots in The Frontline. Journal of Service Management, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 907-931.
All manuscripts submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or be currently under consideration elsewhere.
1. Submission Deadline of Extended Abstracts: January 16th, 2023
Authors should submit their extended abstracts to the Chairs of ‘The Future of Work – Frontline Employee-Robot Collaboration‘ track of the 2023 Global Marketing Conference in Seoul. Track Chairs: Prof. Dr. Werner Kunz, University of Massachusetts Boston, email@example.com. Prof. Dr. Laszlo Sajtos, University of Auckland Business School, firstname.lastname@example.org. Prof. Dr. Carlos Flavián, University of Zaragoza, email@example.com.
2023 GMC at Seoul Homepage including the Submission Guidelines for the extended abstract: https://2023gmc.imweb.me/.
2. Full paper submission deadline: Oct. 1st, 2023
Authors should submit their full papers to the Guest Editors of this JOSM special section on ‘The Future of Work – Service Employee-(Ro)bot Collaboration’ through the ScholarOne online submission system and should be made to the special section which is identified on the journal submission site.
Manuscripts should be submitted in accordance with the author guidelines available on the journal home page at