Organizational frontlines in the digital age: The Consumer–Autonomous Technology–Worker (CAW) framework

Jenny van Doorn, Edin Smailhodzic, Stefano Puntoni, Jia Li, Jan Hendrik Schumann, Jana Holthöwer

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While organizational frontlines in the digital age involve complex interactions between consumers, autonomous technology (AT), and frontline workers, research so far largely focuses on the effect of AT on either the consumer or the worker. Bridging the fields of marketing and organizational behavior, we develop the Consumer–Autonomous Technology–Worker (CAW) framework, which reflects the implications of consumer–worker–AT interactions. We consider that AT can be consumer-facing, such as service robots, or worker-facing, such as AT-enabled knowledge-based systems supporting a worker’s decision-making. Drawing on illustrative interviews in hospitality contexts with workers who co-work with robots and the consumers served, we develop research propositions that highlight avenues for future research. We expect consumer–worker relations to strengthen when AT augments instead of replaces the worker. Human leadership is critical for consumers’ and workers’ acceptance of AT, while AT anthropomorphism is less critical in the presence of a human worker.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114000
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2023

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