Chatbots at Digital Workplaces – A Grounded-Theory Approach for Surveying Application Areas and Objectives

Raphael Meyer von Wolff, Sebastian Hobert, Kristin Masuch, Matthias Schumann

Abstract


Background: Chatbots are currently on the rise as more and more researchers tackle this topic from different perspectives. Simultaneously, workplaces and ways of working are increasingly changing in the context of digitalization. However, despite the promised benefits, the changes still show problems that should be tackled more purposefully by chatbots. Application areas and underlying objectives of a chatbot application at digital workplaces especially have not been researched yet.

Method: To solve the existing problems and close the research gap, we did a qualitative empirical study based on the grounded-theory process. Therefore, we interviewed 29 experts in a cross-section of different industry sectors and sizes. The experts work in the information systems domain or have profound knowledge of (future) workplace design, especially regarding chatbots.

Results: We identified three fundamental usage scenarios of chatbots in seven possible application areas. As a result of this, we found both divisional and cross-divisional application areas at workplaces. Furthermore, we detected fifteen underlying objectives of a chatbot operation, which can be categorized from direct over mid-level to indirect ones. We show dependencies between them, as well.

Conclusions: Our results prove the applicability of chatbots in workplace settings. The chatbot operation seems especially fruitful in the support or the self-service domain, where it provides information, carries out processes, or captures process-related data. Additionally, automation, workload reduction, and cost reduction are the fundamental objectives of chatbots in workplace scenarios. With this study, we contribute to the scientific knowledge base by providing knowledge from practice for future research approaches and closing the outlined research gap.

Keywords


Chatbot; Workplace; Qualitative Study; Application Area; Objective

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Citation: Meyer von Wolff, R., Hobert, S., Masuch, K., & Schumann, M. (2020). Chatbots at Digital Workplaces – A Grounded-Theory Approach for Surveying Application Areas and Objectives. Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 12(2), 63-101. https://doi.org/10.17705/1pais.12203