Frontline employee expectations on working with physical robots in retailing

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: Service robots have increasingly been utilized in retail settings, yet empirical research on how frontline employees (FLEs) might deal with this new reality remains scarce. This mixed-methods study aims to examine how FLEs expect physical service robots to impact job characteristics and affect their job engagement and well-being. Design/methodology/approach: First, explorative interviews (Study 1; N = 32) were conducted to investigate how FLEs currently experience job characteristics and how they believe robots might impact these job characteristics and job outcomes. Next, a survey (Study 2; N = 165) examined the relationship between job characteristics that retail FLEs expect to be impacted by robots and their own well-being and job engagement. Findings: While the overall expectations for working with robots are mixed, retail FLEs expect that working with robots can alleviate certain job demands, but robots cannot help to replenish their job resources. On the contrary, most retail FLEs expect the pains and gains associated with robots in the workspace to cancel each other out, leaving their job engagement and well-being unaffected. However, of the FLEs that do anticipate that robots might have some impact on their well-being and job engagement, the majority expect negative effects. Originality/value: This study is unique in addressing the trade-off between expected benefits and costs inherent to job demands-resources (JD-R) theory while incorporating a transformative service research (TSR) lens. By integrating different streams of research to study retail FLEs' expectations about working with robots and focusing on robots' impact on job engagement and well-being, this study offers new insights for theory and practice.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)467-492
Aantal pagina's26
TijdschriftJournal of Service Management
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum13 sep 2022
StatusPublished - 13 apr 2023

Bibliografische nota

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the research assistants Harold Clément, Veerle Debruyne, Lien Ravesloot, Maxime Van Erps, Valentijn Van Volsom for their help in collecting the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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