Conversational Agents - Exploring Generative Mechanisms and Second-hand Effects of Actualized Technology Affordances

Waizenegger, Lena
Seeber, Isabella
Dawson, Gregory
Desouza, Kevin
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Many organisations jumped on the bandwagon and implemented conversational agents (CAs) as a new communication channel. Customers benefit from shorter resolution times, ubiquitous availability, and consistent and compliant responses. However, despite the hype around CAs and the various benefits for customers, we know little about the effects of external facing CAs on the human workforce. This is crucial to better manage the possible changes in the work organisation. Adopting a critical realist stance and using the lens of technology affordances we explore a) why users increasingly actualize CA affordances and b) the first and second-hand effects of affordance actualisation on customers and human employees. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 experts in the field and introduce the term affordance effects pairs describing the relationships between the first and second-hand effects. We further explain which generative mechanisms lead to an increasing actualization of affordances and the associated effects.
AI and Organizing, affordance effects, conversational agents, generative mechanisms, human employees, technology affordance theory
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