AI-Empowered Organizational Frontline’s Role During The Crisis

Arezoo Fakhimi, Tony Garry, Sergio Biggemann

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Covid-19 has forced organizations to revisit the ways in which they interact with customers at their frontlines. This research draws on social exchange theory to examine the role of smart virtual assistants (VA) as frontline employees (FLEs) and their contribution to the removal of customer interaction barriers during the Covid-19 global pandemic. Specifically, we
investigate the effects of AI-derived features, like anthropomorphism, on Human-Machine (H-M) relationships. To this end, 31 semi-structured interviews were conducted with users of Siri, Alexa, and Google assistants around the world. To enhance data credibility, Leximancer was used to examine 12,941 comments drawn from 81 YouTube videos that mentioned VAs. Results suggest that emerging forms of H-M interactions increase customer’s preference for interacting with VAs rather than humans within service contexts. Additionally, users preferred to engage with VAs because of their perceived ‘moral superiority’ over human FLEs and a perceived assurance of personal privacy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusUnpublished - 29 Nov 2021
EventAustralian and New Zealand Marketing Academy - Melbourn, Australia, Melbourn, Australia
Duration: 29 Nov 20211 Dec 2021
Conference number: 2021


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Marketing Academy
Abbreviated titleANZMAC


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