Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Youn-Kyung Kim

Committee Members

Sejin Ha, James A. Williams, William R. Nugent

Abstract

This study uses the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) and domestication theories as the underlying framework of an acceptance model of retail service robots (RSRs). The model illustrates the relationships among facilitators, attitudes toward Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), anxiety toward robots, anticipated service quality, and the acceptance of RSRs. Specifically, the researcher investigates the extent to which the facilitators of usefulness, social capability, the appearance of RSRs, and the attitudes toward HRI affect acceptance and increase the anticipation of service quality. The researcher also tests the inhibiting role of pre-existing anxiety toward robots on the relationship between these facilitators and attitudes toward HRI. The study uses four methodological strategies: (1) incorporating a focus group and personal interviews, (2) using a presentation method of video clip stimuli, (3) empirical data collection and multigroup SEM analyses, and (4) applying three key product categories for the model’s generalization— fashion, technology (mobile phone), and food service (restaurant). The researcher conducts two pretests to check the survey items and to select the video clips. The researcher conducts the main test using an online survey of US consumer panelists (n = 1424) at a marketing agency.

The results show that usefulness, social capability, and the appearance of a RSR positively influence the attitudes toward HRI. The attitudes toward HRI predict greater anticipation of service quality and the acceptance of the RSRs. The expected quality of service tends to enhance the acceptance. The relationship between social capability and attitudes toward HRI is weaker when the anxiety toward robots is higher. However, when the anxiety is higher, the relationship between appearance and the attitudes toward HRI is stronger than those with low anxiety.

This study contributes to the literature on the CASA and domestication theories and to the human-computer interaction that involves robots or artificial intelligence. By considering social capability, humanness, intelligence, and the appearance of robots, this model of RSR acceptance can provide new insights into the psychological, social, and behavioral principles that guide the commercialization of robots. Further, this acceptance model could help retailers and marketers formulate strategies for effective HRI and RSR adoption in their businesses.

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