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EMAC 2021 Regional Conference

Is it only about Partners and Servants? A qualitative study about positive Smart Speaker social roles.

Published: September 22, 2021


Ilaria Querci, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Bliss - Digital Impact Lab, Department of Management; Luigi MonsurrĂ², Sapienza University of Rome


Smart Speakers; Consumer-Smart Object Relationship; Human-Computer Interaction


The smart speaker market is growing. Previous literature has shown that interacting with objects that are characterised by human-like characteristics lead users to assign specific social roles to smart speakers. However, this literature has only focused on two positive social roles: partner and servant. Taking a cue from consumer-brand relationship literature, we claim that new smart speaker roles might exist and need to be investigated. From a qualitative analysis of 85 customer reviews of Amazon Echo, three social roles emerged: Partner, Servant, and Affectionate caregiver. The features of these roles and the implications are discussed in the result section.