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Impact of anthropomorphic features of artificially intelligent service robots on consumer acceptance: moderating role of sense of humor

Mengying Zhang (School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Dogan Gursoy (School of Hospitality Business Management, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA) (School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Zhangyao Zhu (Department of Accounting, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Si Shi (School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 22 September 2021

Issue publication date: 17 November 2021

5118

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the impact of both physical and personality-related anthropomorphic features of an artificial intelligence service robot on the cognitive and affective appraisals and acceptance of consumers during service delivery.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed hypotheses that investigate the effects of service robots’ physical appearance on the emphasis consumers place on each evaluation criteria they use in determining their willingness to accept the use of service robots in service delivery and the moderating role of sense of humor are tested by conducting two studies using scenario-based experiments.

Findings

The results show that humanlike appearance leads to higher performance expectancy, mascot-like appearance generates higher positive emotions and machine-like appearance results in higher effort expectancy. The effects of humanlike and mascot-like appearances on consumer acceptance are moderated by the sense of humor of service robots. However, the sense of humor effect is attenuated with a machine-like appearance owing to the lack of anthropomorphism.

Practical implications

This study provides crucial insights for hospitality managers who plan to use service robots in service delivery. The findings highlight the key roles of appearance type and sense of humor of service robots in influencing the appraisals and acceptance of consumers regarding the use of service robots in service delivery.

Originality/value

This study focuses on comparing the effects of traditional and mascot-like appearances of service robots on consumer appraisals and identifies sense of humor as a cute anthropomorphized personality trait of service robots.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research is funded by the Fundamental Research Funds for The Central Universities in China (No. JBK2103002).

Citation

Zhang, M., Gursoy, D., Zhu, Z. and Shi, S. (2021), "Impact of anthropomorphic features of artificially intelligent service robots on consumer acceptance: moderating role of sense of humor", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 11, pp. 3883-3905. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-11-2020-1256

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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