Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Voice assistants (VAs) have become an integral part of many individuals’ everyday lives. However, we have little understanding of the factors that influence perceptions about them. We synthesize literature from several domains such as computers, technology-human interaction, communications, and marketing and identify various theories used to understand VA adoption - Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Unified Theory of Acceptance, and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and Uses and Gratification theory (U&G). Prior research in VA has majorly focused on the uses and benefits VA offer and subsequently the different perceptions consumers build towards the VA. The current research contributes to these streams by deepening the understanding of the disruptions that occur in VA-human interactions.

Using advanced technology such as artificial intelligence, these VAs perform several tasks based on user commands. Despite that, they are prone to errors and breakdowns, and most users have encountered such disruptions at least once in their usage. To date, there is no research in marketing that studies the disruptions that hinder consumer goals occurring in human-VA interactions. To bridge this gap, we identify three types of disruption that lead to failures in human-VA interaction - VA-caused, dyad-caused, and consumer-caused based on an extensive literature review. We anticipate that these disruptions in VA, lead to a failed interactions or outcomes that are deviated from user expectations. Furthermore, based on past literature research in human computer interaction and marketing, we developed a typology of failures subjective to consumers and categorize these VA failures into three distinct categories: responsiveness error, expertise error, and social skill violation. The current research further expands understanding on how one specific type of failure-social skill violation, affects consumer behavioral intentions.

Our empirical research based on the SEEK theory of anthropomorphism, tests the effect of social skill violation on consumer perceptions, such as uncanniness and anthropomorphism. Through a series of five studies, the current research demonstrates that failures have a negative influence on usage intentions. This effect is mediated by uncanniness perceptions. The current research also demonstrates that activating mind perception through agency and the ability to experience information about the VA, mitigates the dominant negative effect of failures on usage intentions. Furthermore, contrary to intuitive beliefs, we identify an indirect positive effect of social skill violation on usage intention mediated by anthropomorphism perceptions. The study tests the Effectance motivation of SEEK theory of anthropomorphism and suggests that failures activate effectance motivation, which in turn increases anthropomorphism and usage intentions. We then provide theoretical and managerial contributions based on the research.



Committee Chair

Dan Hamilton Rice

Available for download on Friday, May 24, 2030

Included in

Marketing Commons