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Challenges in re-designing operations and jobs to embody AI and robotics in services. Findings from a case in the hospitality industry

Erica Mingotto (), Federica Montaguti () and Michele Tamma ()
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Erica Mingotto: Ca’ Foscari University – Department of Management
Federica Montaguti: CISET - Ca’ Foscari University
Michele Tamma: Ca’ Foscari University – Department of Management

Electronic Markets, 2021, vol. 31, issue 3, No 4, 493-510

Abstract: Abstract The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and service robots in the tourism industry for frontline service automation is generating a growing interest. Although there is a fairly large body of literature about this research field, the impacts on the service encounter need to be further investigated. The paper presents an action research project that led to employ the humanoid robot “Pepper”, equipped with a supervised machine-learning AI system, at the reception of an Italian hotel to provide information to clients. This allowed to explore the role played by this agent and the effects on the changing role taken by frontline employees (FLE) and customers. Findings show that this technology can act as an augmentation force and that FLEs’ role can evolve mainly into that of enabler - of the customers and of technology -, innovator and coordinator, while customers may take above all the role of enabler of the technology. The study also contributes to introduce the new role of “AI supervisor” among FLEs.

Keywords: AI; Service robots; Service management; Operations; Hospitality; Jobs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s12525-020-00439-y

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