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Exploring the Dynamics of Affordance Actualization – A Configurational View on Voice Assistants

Event: Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM), 09.08.2022


Voice assistants’ (VAs) increasingly nuanced and natural communication opens up new opportunities for the experience of users, providing task assistance and automation possibilities, and also offer an easy interface to digital services and ecosystems. However, VAs face various problems, such as low adoption and satisfaction rates as well as other negative reactions from users. Companies, therefore, need to consider how individuals utilize VAs and what contributes to user satisfaction. Key for the design of VAs are their unique affordances and their agentic nature that distinguish these IT artifacts from non-agentic IS. A configurative and dynamic approach enables to shed light on the complex causalities underlying user outcomes with these novel systems. Consequently, we examine in this study how individuals actualize the affordances of VAs during the initial adoption stage. For this purpose, we draw on a diary study research design that examines affordance actualization processes with new VA users. We examine with a configurational approach, how the actualization of VA affordances contributes to the outcomes of VAs, i.e., in our case user satisfaction. The results of our diary study show distinct patterns of functional affordance configurations. In addition, we show that affordances unfold and evolve over time. The derived implications provide a configurative theoretical understanding for the role of VAs affordances for user satisfaction that provides practitioners useful guidance to actualize the potential of VAs.

Andreas Janson

9 Aug 2022