Business & Information Systems Engineering

Document Type

Research Paper


The increasing capabilities of conversationalagents (CAs) offer manifold opportunities to assist users ina variety of tasks. In an organizational context, particularlytheir potential to simulate a human-like interaction vianatural language currently attracts attention both at thecustomer interface as well as for internal purposes, often inthe form of chatbots. Emerging experimental studies onCAs look into the impact of anthropomorphic design ele-ments, so-called social cues, on user perception. However,while these studies provide valuable prescriptive knowl-edge of selected social cues, they neglect the potentialdetrimental influence of the limited responsiveness ofpresent-day conversational agents. In practice, many CAsfail to continuously provide meaningful responses in aconversation due to the open nature of natural languageinteraction, which negatively influences user perceptionand often led to CAs being discontinued in the past. Thus,designing a CA that provides a human-like interactionexperience while minimizing the risks associated withlimited conversational capabilities represents a substantialdesign problem. This study addresses the aforementionedproblem by proposing and evaluating a design for a CAthat offers a human-like interaction experience while mit-igating negative effects due to limited responsiveness.Through the presentation of the artifact and the synthesis ofprescriptive knowledge in the form of a nascent designtheory for anthropomorphic enterprise CAs, this researchadds to the growing knowledge base for designing human-like assistants and supports practitioners seeking to intro-duce them into their organizations.