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Understanding adoption of intelligent personal assistants: A parasocial relationship perspective

Sangyeal Han (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, The Republic of Korea)
Heetae Yang (Science and Technology Policy Institute, Sejong, The Republic of Korea)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 9 April 2018




The purpose of this paper is to develop a comprehensive research model that can explain customers’ continuance intentions to adopt and use intelligent personal assistants (IPAs).


This study proposes and validates a new theoretical model that extends the parasocial relationship (PSR) theory. Partial least squares analysis is employed to test the research model and corresponding hypotheses on data collected from 304 survey samples.


Interpersonal attraction (task attraction, social attraction, and physical attraction) and security/privacy risk are important factors affecting the adoption of IPAs.

Research limitations/implications

First, this is the first empirical study to examine user acceptance of IPAs. Second, to the authors’ knowledge, no research has been conducted to test the role of PSR in the context of IPAs. Third, this study verified the robustness of the proposed model by introducing new antecedents reflecting risk-related attributes, which has not been investigated in prior PSR research. But this study has limitations that future research may address. First, key findings of this research are based only on data from users in the USA. Second, individual differences among the survey respondents were not examined.

Practical implications

To increase the adoption of IPAs, manufacturers should focus on developing “human-like” and “professional” assistants, in consideration of the important role of PSR and task attraction. R&D should continuously strive to realize artificial intelligence technology advances so that IPAs can better recognize the user’s voice and speak naturally like a person. Collaboration with third-party companies or individual developers is essential in this field, as manufacturers are unable to independently develop applications that support the specific tasks of various industries. It is also necessary to enhance IPA device design and its user interface to enhance physical attraction.


This study is the first empirical attempt to examine user acceptance of IPAs, as most of the prior literature has concerned analysis of usage patterns or technical features.



Han, S. and Yang, H. (2018), "Understanding adoption of intelligent personal assistants: A parasocial relationship perspective", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 118 No. 3, pp. 618-636.



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