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Competition or collaboration for human–robot relationship: a critical reflection on future cobotics in hospitality

Do The Khoa (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA and Institute of Service Science, College of Technology Management, National Tsing-Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)
Huy Quoc Gip (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Priyanko Guchait (Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Chen-Ya Wang (Institute of Service Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 December 2022

130

Abstract

Purpose

The hospitality industry has recently witnessed explosive growth in robotization with the replacement of robots in many areas. Yet, a key consideration in this robotics wave is whether competition (i.e. robots take over all human tasks) or collaboration (i.e. humans collaborate closely with robots to perform work better) will define the future of the hospitality workspace. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on this controversial issue by taking a collaborative perspective to address the future human–robot relationship in hospitality workplace (i.e. cobotic team).

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon relevant theories and extant robotics literature, this paper will develop a critical reflection on the management of future cobotic team as a new phenomenon in hospitality industry.

Findings

The successful management of cobotics in hospitality lies in three interrelated key domains: feeling intelligence training for frontline employees, ethics governance for cobotics and trust building toward robot partners.

Practical implications

How to manage this cobotic team efficiently will be a focus for hospitality managers in the coming years. This paper offers several managerial insights for hospitality managers and practitioners regarding effectively managing the future collaboration between humans and robots within a dynamic work environment.

Originality/value

This study addresses cobotics as a critical yet unaddressed shift in the contemporary hospitality sector and proposes a framework highlighting three key domains for managing this cobotic team effectively. This framework also sets the direction to encourage more future empirical research exploring cobotic workforce in hospitality.

Keywords

Citation

Khoa, D.T., Gip, H.Q., Guchait, P. and Wang, C.-Y. (2022), "Competition or collaboration for human–robot relationship: a critical reflection on future cobotics in hospitality", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-04-2022-0434

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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