Service Robots: Drivers of Perceived Responsibility for Service Outcomes

Moritz Jörling*, Robert Böhm, Stefanie Paluch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

173 Citations (Scopus)


The use of service robots is on the rise. Characterized by technology autonomy with a physical embodiment, service robots have a higher level of social presence than other service technologies. This research focuses on one specific phenomenon of such social encounters: attribution of responsibility. Study 1 explores potential antecedents driving the attribution of responsibility in encounters with service robots. We derive a research model, which is tested and expanded in three subsequent scenario-based experiments. In Study 2, we find that technology’s autonomy decreases perceived behavioral control over the service robot, which in turn decreases perceived responsibility for positive outcomes but not for negative outcomes. Study 3 indicates that perceived ownership of the service robot accounts for the high responsibility for negative outcomes irrespective of perceived behavioral control. In Study 4, we show that the potential to interrupt the service robots’ autonomy increases perceived behavioral control and perceived responsibility for positive outcomes. Our results propose theoretical implications for responsibility perceptions and practical implications for customer satisfaction with service robots.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)404-420
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 07.04.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • outcome responsibility
  • perceived behavioral control
  • psychological ownership
  • service robots


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