Pairing Up with Anthropomorphized Artificial Agents: Leveraging Employee Creativity in Service Encounters

Lexie Lan Huang, Rocky Peng Chen, Kimmy Wa Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Even as artificial agents (AAs) become more prevalent in service encounters, customers continue to express generally unfavorable views of their creativity, which can lead to negative service evaluations. Drawing on anthropomorphism and group stereotyping literature, the authors propose a trait transference effect from human employees to AAs in dyadic service teams. The results of five studies confirm that an anthropomorphized (vs. nonanthropomorphized) AA paired with a creative employee boosts service evaluations, both attitudinal and behavioral. Anthropomorphism induces greater perceived entitativity of the AA–employee dyad, prompting customers to transfer the creativity exhibited by the employee to the AA and perceive the AA as more creative. This transference effect is attenuated when the temporal stability of the dyad is low, customers’ lay beliefs about group entitativity are challenged, or customers have utilitarian consumption goals. These results contribute novel insights about AAs in service teams, with compelling practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing
  • Business and International Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • AA–employee dyad
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Artificial agents (AAs)
  • Creativity
  • Entitativity
  • Trait transference


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