Journal of the Association for Information Systems


In the realm of smart services, smart personal assistants (SPAs) have become a popular medium for value co-creation between service providers and users. The market success of SPAs is largely based on their innovative material properties, such as natural language user interfaces, machine learning-powered request handling and service provision, and anthropomorphism. In different combinations, these properties offer users entirely new ways to intuitively and interactively achieve their goals and thus co-create value with service providers. But how does the nature of the SPA shape value co-creation processes? In this paper, we look through a functional affordances lens to theorize about the effects of different types of SPAs (i.e., with different combinations of material properties) on users’ value co-creation processes. Specifically, we collected SPAs from research and practice by reviewing scientific literature and web resources, developed a taxonomy of SPAs’ material properties, and performed a cluster analysis to group SPAs of a similar nature. We then derived 2 general and 11 cluster-specific propositions on how different material properties of SPAs can yield different affordances for value co-creation. With our work, we point out that smart services require researchers and practitioners to fundamentally rethink value co-creation as well as revise affordances theory to address the dynamic nature of smart technology as a service counterpart.





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