Human-Robot Service Interactions: Moral, Ethical and Well-Being Implications

Call for papers for: Journal of Service Management

Submission portal open: 1 November 2021

Author deadline: 1 March 2022


Human-robot interactions offer exciting opportunities in an array of service contexts from healthcare to hospitality in combination with, for example, AI, speech recognition, big data, mobile and cloud technology and biometrics, among other technologies (Wirtz et al. 2018). Accelerated growth of these types of technological interactions due to the social distancing requirements of the pandemic has been witnessed. Despite this, such interactions are fraught with challenges and concerns, including ethical considerations (Belk 2020). For example, speech recognition software has been reported not to recognise women’s voices as well as men’s, while facial recognition software can be worse performing for non-white faces (Gryn and Rzeszucinski 2018). In another illustration, robots have been found to encourage humans to take greater risks in simulated gambling scenarios (Hanoch 2020). While in healthcare, replacing human caregivers with robots might be detrimental to the person being cared for, as interacting with a robot can be less emotionally satisfying (Samuel 2020). Some of AI’s service applications have also led to a loss of jobs and encroachments on privacy. These are just a few examples of human-robot service interactions, among various others, that have clear moral, ethical and well-being implications.


In the light of this, this special issue will focus on an area of inquiry that has received limited attention, that is the “dark” side of human-robot service interactions. The increasing penetration and adoption of AI governed technologies sparks controversy, ambiguity and ethical debates in society. It is imperative to have a wider dialogue to better understand these challenges in order to use AI advances responsibly for “social good”. Specifically, the focus of this special issue is on the ethical, moral and well-being implications of human-robot service interactions. Accordingly, its aim is to bring together service scholars and business practitioners to study issues involving human-robot service interactions. Specifically, we encourage papers that investigate issues of morality and ethical arguments that confront society as it embraces the wider adoption of AI enabled technologies in various spheres of consumers’ lives. Emphasis is placed on how these technological advances impact the service landscape and what ramifications they have on human well-being.


This special issue invites both conceptual and empirical articles underpinned by theory and with a clear and novel contribution, that fall within, but are not limited to, the following topics:


  • Ethical concerns related to human-robot service interactions.
  • Ways in which human-robot service interactions can put human interests and well-being in jeopardy.
  • Means that organisations and/or consumers can reduce threats to ethics and well-being in human-robot service interactions.
  • Value co-destruction in human-robot service interactions.
  • Aversive human responses to robots in service contexts.
  • Barriers related to the adoption of human-robot interactions in services.
  • Unintended consequences of human-robot service interactions on consumers, organisations, and/or employees.
  • Complexity of regulation and consumer protection in human-robot service interactions.
  • Accommodation of social values, such as fairness and altruism in human-robot service interactions.
  • Gap between the promise and reality of human-robot interactions in service.


Keywords: Human-Robot Interactions, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics, Well-Being, Morality, Service.


Selection process: This special issue is directly tied to the ANZMAC 2021 Conference, Services Marketing Track, hosted by the University of Melbourne. Abstracts submitted to this conference and track will be given precedence. Initial screening of abstracts for consideration for this Special Issue will be undertaken by the Guest Editors in conjunction with the Journal Editor. Full papers will undergo the standard double-blind review process.


Submission deadline: 1 March, 2022
Planned publication date: 2023
Maximum length of papers: 8000 words, including all text. Please allow 280 words for each figure or table.

Author guidelines can be consulted here:

Submit your paper:


Guest editors:

Name: Associate Professor Nichola Robertson
Affiliation: Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
E-mail: [email protected]

Name: Professor Yelena Tsarenko
Affiliation: Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
E-mail:  [email protected]





Belk, Russell (2020): Ethical issues in service robotics and artificial intelligence, The Service Industries Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02642069.2020.1727892


Gryn, Robert and Pawel Rzeszucinski (2018) Bias is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it, Available at: (accessed 27 January 2020)


Hanoch, Yaniv, Francesco Arvizzigno, Daniel Hernandez García, Sue Denham, Tony Belpaeme, Michaela Gummerum (2020) The robot made me do it: Human-robot interaction and risk-taking behavior, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. Ahead of Print.


Samuel, Sigal (2020) You can buy a robot to keep your lonely grandparents company. Should you? Available at: (accessed 27 January 2021)


Wirtz, Jochen, Paul G. Patterson, Werner H. Kunz, Thorsten Gruber, Vinh Nhat Lu, Stefanie

Paluch, Antje Martins, (2018) Brave new world: Service robots in the frontline, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 29 Issue 5, pp. 907-931.