What matters is the mindset: The role of construal level activated by automated service in influencing consumer behaviors

Liang, Lena Jingen
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University of Guelph

Service automation (e.g., robotics, artificial intelligence, and chabots) has attracted much attention from academia and industry in the past decade. Although emerging research on service automation has been flourishing, there is not only a lack of clarification of its definition but also a limited understanding of its effects and mechanism. Without a clear understanding of its effects and mechanism, hotel managers may fail to maintain a satisfying consumer experience when adopting automated services into practice. Therefore, this dissertation fulfills these gaps by exploring and examining the definition as well as the underlying mechanism of service automation via three perspectives: a systematic review, its bidirectional effect between service automation and level of construal, and the congruency effects on consumers’ behavior intention. Two studies could be developed from this dissertation. More specifically, the first study (Chapter 2) presented a systematic review of the previous tourism and hospitality consumer behavior studies in service automation and clarified the definition of service automation. The second study (Chapter 3) tested the underlying mechanism of the effects brought by automated service in consumer’s mindset. A bidirectional effect was found between consumer’s level of construal and the preference for automated service. Overall, this dissertation contributes to a further understanding of service automation and its application in the tourism and hospitality field through a holistic view.

Service automation, Construal Level Theory, consumer behavior, congruency effect