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Frontline Service Technology infusion: conceptual archetypes and future research directions

Arne De Keyser (Department of Marketing, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France)
Sarah Köcher (TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany)
Linda Alkire (née Nasr) (Marketing Department, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA)
Cédric Verbeeck (Department of Management, EDHEC Business School, Lille, France)
Jay Kandampully (Department of Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 8 January 2019

Issue publication date: 14 February 2019




Smart technologies and connected objects are rapidly changing the organizational frontline. Yet, our understanding of how these technologies infuse service encounters remains limited. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to update existing classifications of Frontline Service Technology (FST) infusion. Moreover, the authors discuss three promising smart and connected technologies – conversational agents, extended reality (XR) and blockchain technology – and their respective implications for customers, frontline employees and service organizations.


This paper uses a conceptual approach integrating existing work on FST infusion with artificial intelligence, robotics, XR and blockchain literature, while also building on insights gathered through expert interviews and focus group conversations with members of two service research centers.


The authors define FST and propose a set of FST infusion archetypes at the organizational frontline. Additionally, the authors develop future research directions focused on understanding how conversational agents, XR and blockchain technology will impact service.


This paper updates and extends existing classifications of FST, while paving the road for further work on FST infusion.



This project emerged from the Let’s Talk About Service (LTAS 2015) workshop at Ghent University, Belgium. The authors would thus like to thank the organizers Bart Larivière, Wafa Hammedi and Annouk Lievens. In addition, the authors would like to thank the organizers and participants of the 2018 Organizational Frontlines Research Symposium for their feedback on an earlier version of this manuscript.


De Keyser, A., Köcher, S., Alkire (née Nasr), L., Verbeeck, C. and Kandampully, J. (2019), "Frontline Service Technology infusion: conceptual archetypes and future research directions", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 156-183.



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