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Are You a Trend Setter or a Straggler? A Study on Social Drivers and Customer Shift towards Co-Creating Value with Self-Service Technologies


The world is transitioning to a digitalised era in which the presence of humanoid robots at service encounters is expected in the future. At the moment, it is clear that many business organisations are replacing service encounters with Self-Service Technologies (SSTs). This movement causes significant social changes, which scholars have not paid enough attention to fully comprehend. In this context, this research aims to investigate the social drivers that matter in customer movement towards co-creating value via SSTs. The study also aims to identify differences among customers based on their willingness and ability to adopt SSTs. A qualitative approach was used to achieve the research objectives, with semi-structured interviews conducted with 25 SST users from various demographic backgrounds. A non-probabilistic purposeful sampling strategy was used to recruit individuals for the study, with the goal of hiring information-rich cases. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The study discovered eight social drivers that matter in customer’s shift towards co-creating value with SSTs. Among the key findings, SSTs are identified as a social trend in which adoption is acceptable (a social norm) and transforms social relationships into a new direction. Using SSTs has become a socialising mechanism that provides people with social recognition. SSTs are viewed as social pressure for some people, causing them to be disadvantaged if they do not adopt. On the other hand, people receive enough social support and have enough independence to use SSTs. The study divided customers into four groups based on their willingness and ability to adopt SSTs: Trendsetters, Dreamers, Old-fashioned, and Stragglers. This study addresses theoretical gaps by expanding knowledge on social drivers and customer collaboration with SSTs. In practical terms, service providers can use this understanding to effectively promote their SSTs and provide superior customer experiences via technological interfaces.

Keywords: Social Changes, Social Drivers, Self-Service Technologies, Value Co-Creation, Customer Acceptance, Technology