Special Issue Journal of Service Management. “The Future of Work-Service Employee-(Ro)bot Collaboration”

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:

  • 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



  • Abstract submission (1,000 words):  31 March https://airsi.unizar.es/ (ARISI2023)
  • Full paper: 1 October (JoSM platform)
  • Publication: Vol. 35; 2024


Guest Editors:

  • Werner Kunz (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  • Laszlo Sajtos (University of Auckland Business School)
  • Carlos Flavián (University of Zaragoza)

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