Cyborgs as Frontline Service Employees: A Research Agenda
Purpose This paper identifies and explores potential applications of cyborgian technologies within service contexts and how service providers may leverage the integration of cyborgian service actors into their service proposition. In doing so, the paper proposes a new category of ‘melded’ frontline service employees (FLEs), where advanced technologies become embodied within human actors. The paper presents potential opportunities and challenges that may arise through cyborg technological advancements and proposes a future research agenda related to these. Design/methodology This study draws on literature in the fields of services management, Artificial Intelligence [AI], robotics, Intelligence Augmentation [IA] and Human Intelligence [HIs] to conceptualise potential cyborgian applications. Findings The paper examines how cyborg bio- and psychophysical characteristics may significantly differentiate the nature of service interactions from traditional ‘unenhanced’ service interactions. In doing so, we propose ‘melding’ as a conceptual category of technological impact on FLEs. This category reflects the embodiment of emergent technologies not previously captured within existing literature on cyborgs. We examine how traditional roles of FLEs will be potentially impacted by the integration of emergent cyborg technologies, such as neural interfaces and implants, into service contexts before outlining future research directions related to these, specifically highlighting the range of ethical considerations. Originality/Value Service interactions with cyborg FLEs represent a new context for examining the potential impact of cyborgs. This paper explores how technological advancements will alter the individual capacities of humans to enable such employees to intuitively and empathetically create solutions to complex service challenges. In doing so, we augment the extant literature on cyborgs, such as the body hacking movement. The paper also outlines a research agenda to address the potential consequences of cyborgian integration.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Garry, T. and Harwood, T. (2019) Cyborgs as Frontline Service Employees: A Research Agenda, Journal of Service Theory and Practice, 29 (4), pp. 415-437
Research Institute : Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- Leicester Media School