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Naim Zierau

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Müller-Friedbergstrasse 8
9000 St. Gallen
+41 71 224 3237


Innovation is one of the most important antecedents of a company's competitive advantage and long-term survival. Prior research has alluded to teamwork being a primary driver of a firm's innovation capacity. Still, many firms struggle with providing an environment that supports innovation teams in working efficiently together. Thereby, a team's failure can be attributed to several factors, such as inefficient working methods or a lack of internal communication that leads to so-called innovation blockages. There are a number of approaches that are targeted at supporting teams to overcome innovation blockages, but they mainly focus on the collaboration process and rarely consider the needs and potentials of individual team members. In this paper, we argue that Conversational Agents (CAs) can efficiently support teams in overcoming innovation blockages by enhancing collaborative work practices and, specifically, by facilitating the contribution of each individual team member. To that end, we design a CA as a team facilitator that provides nudges to reduce innovation blocking actions according to requirements we systematically derived from scientific literature and practice. Based on a rigorous evaluation, we demonstrate the potential of CAs to reduce the frequency of innovation blockages. The research implications for the development and deployment of CAs as team facilitators are explored.

get_appNaim Zierau, Christian Alexander Hildebrand, Anouk Samantha Bergner, Francesc Busquet I Segui, Anuschka Schmitt, Jan Marco Leimeister
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Voice-based interfaces provide new opportunities for firms to interact with consumers along the customer journey. The current work demonstrates across four studies that voice-based (as opposed to text-based) interfaces promote more flow-like user experiences, resulting in more positively-valenced service experiences, and ultimately more favorable behavioral firm outcomes (i.e., contract renewal, conversion rates, and consumer sentiment). Moreover, we also provide evidence for two important boundary conditions that reduce such flow-like user experiences in voice-based interfaces (i.e., semantic disfluency and the amount of conversational turns). The findings of this research highlight how fundamental theories of human communication can be harnessed to create more experiential service experiences with positive downstream consequences for consumers and firms. These findings have important practical implications for firms that aim at leveraging the potential of voice-based interfaces to improve consumers' service experiences and the theory-driven ''conversational design'' of voice-based interfaces.

Intelligent agents (IAs) are permeating both business and society. However, interacting with IAs poses challenges moving beyond technological limitations towards the human-computer interface. Thus, the knowledgebase related to interaction with IAs has grown exponentially but remains segregated and impedes the advancement of the field. Therefore, we conduct a systematic literature review to integrate empirical knowledge on user interaction with IAs. This is the first paper to examine 107 Information Systems and Human-Computer Interaction papers and identified 389 relationships between design elements and user acceptance of IAs. Along the independent and dependent variables of these relationships, we span a research space model encompassing empirical research on designing for IA user acceptance. Further we contribute to theory, by presenting a research agenda along the dimensions of the research space, which shall be useful to both researchers and practitioners. This complements the past and present knowledge on designing for IA user acceptance with potential pathways into the future of IAs.

Voice assistants are a novel class of information systems that fundamentally change human–computer interaction. Although these assistants are widespread, the utilization of these information systems is oftentimes only considered on a surface level by individuals. In addition, prior research has focused predominantly on initial use instead of looking deeper into post-adoption and habit formation. In consequence, this paper reviews how the notion of habit has been conceptualized in relation to biographical utilization of voice assistants and presents findings based on a qualitative study approach. From a perspective of post-adoption users, the study suggests that existing habits persist, and new habits hardly ever form in the context of voice assistant utilization. This paper outlines four key factors that help explain voice assistant utilization behavior and furthermore provides practical implications that help to ensure continued voice assistant use in the future.

Gendered voice based on pitch is a prevalent design element in many contemporary Voice Assistants (VAs) but has shown to strengthen harmful stereotypes. Interestingly, there is a dearth of research that systematically analyses user perceptions of different voice genders in VAs. This study investigates gender-stereotyping across two different tasks by analyzing the influence of pitch (low, high) and gender (women, men) on stereotypical trait ascription and trust formation in an exploratory online experiment with 234 participants. Additionally, we deploy a gender-ambiguous voice to compare against gendered voices. Our findings indicate that implicit stereotyping occurs for VAs. Moreover, we can show that there are no significant differences in trust formed towards a gender-ambiguous voice versus gendered voices, which highlights their potential for commercial usage.

Conversational Agents (CAs) have become a new paradigm for human-computer interaction. Despite the potential benefits, there are ethical challenges to the widespread use of these agents that may inhibit their use for individual and social goals. However, besides a multitude of behavioral and design-oriented studies on CAs, a distinct ethical perspective falls rather short in the current literature. In this paper, we present the first steps of our design science research project on principles for a value-sensitive design of CAs. Based on theoretical insights from 87 papers and eleven user interviews, we propose preliminary requirements and design principles for a value-sensitive design of CAs. Moreover, we evaluate the preliminary principles with an expert-based evaluation. The evaluation confirms that an ethical approach for design CAs might be promising for certain scenarios.

Voice assistants’ increasingly nuanced and natural communication bears new opportunities for user experiences and task automation, while challenging existing patterns of human-computer interaction. A fragmented research field, as well as constant technological advancements, impede a common apprehension of prevalent design features of voice-based interfaces. As part of this study, 86 papers across domains are systematically identified and analysed to arrive at a common understanding of voice assistants. The review highlights perceptual differences to other human-computer interfaces and points out relevant auditory cues. Key findings regarding those cues’ impact on user perception and behaviour are discussed along with the three design strategies 1) personification, 2) individualization and 3) contextualization. Avenues for future research are lastly deducted. Our results provide relevant opportunities to researchers and designers alike to advance the design and deployment of voice assistants.

Based on recent advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots are now increasingly offered as an alternative source of customer service. For their uptake user trust in critical. However, little is known about how these interfaces fundamentally influence trust perceptions. In particular, it’s unclear what exactly causes perceptual differences - the change towards a conversational interface or the usage of anthropomorphic design elements. In this study, an online experiment with 160 participants was conducted to examine the differential effects of conversational interaction and anthropomorphism on trust in the interface or the provider within the context of online loan applications. The results show that both treatment conditions affect trust in the interface and the provider by increasing perceptions of social presence. Meanwhile, trust in the interface significantly effects the intention to share information, while trust in the provider has no effect on behavioral intention.

Smart Personal Assistants (SPA) fundamentally influence the way individuals perform tasks, use services and interact with organizations. They thus bear an immense economic and societal potential. However, a lack of trust - rooted in perceptions of uncertainty and risk - when interacting with intelligent computer agents can inhibit their adoption. In this paper, we conduct a systematic literature review to investigate the state of knowledge on trust in SPAs. Based on a concept-centric analysis of 50 papers, we derive three distinct research perspectives that constitute this nascent field: user interface-driven, interaction-driven, and explanation-driven trust in SPAs. Building on the results of our analysis, we develop a research agenda to spark and guide future research surrounding trust in SPAs. Ultimately, this paper intends to contribute to the body of knowledge of trust in artificial intelligence-based systems, specifically SPAs. It does so by proposing a novel framework mapping out their relationship.

The knowledge base related to user interaction with conversational agents (CAs) has grown dramatically but remains segregated. In this paper, we conduct a systematic literature review to investigate user interaction with CAs. We examined 107 papers published in outlets related to IS and HCI research. Then, we coded for design elements and user interaction outcomes, and isolated 7 significant determinants of these outcomes, as well as 42 themes with inconsistent evidence, providing grounds for future research. Building upon the insights from the analysis, we propose a research agenda to guide future research surrounding user interaction with CAs. Ultimately, we aim to contribute to the body of knowledge of IS and HCI in general and user interaction with CA in particular by indicating how developed a research field is regarding the number and content of the respective contributions. Furthermore, practitioners benefit from a structured overview related to CA design effects.