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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Trust and Risk in Robot-Services: A Comparative Study of Denmark and Britain

Published: May 28, 2019


Thomas Robinson, Cass Business School; Ana Babic Rosario, University of Denver; Caroline Wiertz, Cass Business School, City, University of London


Robots; Services; Future


Drawing on Beck’s sociology of risk we explore the cultural basis of consumer engagement with robotics and its relevance to service marketing. We conduct a comparative study of robotic services in Denmark and Britain by asking how the future is imagined in the news media to frame the coverage of robots differently in the two sampling contexts. Our discourse analysis shows important contextual variance in the relationship between robots and the future, which impact the articulation of trust and risk in regard to robotic services. In the Danish context, issues of trust and future risks are framed by political and material assemblages within the egalitarian and inclusive welfare stat, while in the British context, issues of trust and risks towards the future are framed by political and material assemblages pertaining to hierarchical class society. Since the cultural attitudes surrounding robots differ across contexts, the marketing of services involving robots must address local cultural ques that frame trust and risk issues. These prompts are especially important when promoting market services involving robots, since trust is a central to customer evaluation of service quality and relationship commitment.