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Do you have robot-phobia?

May. 20, 2024.
1 min. read 2 Interactions

Job insecurity and stress

About the writer

Amara Angelica

188.87299 MPXR

Electronics engineer and inventor

Future hotel room attendent? (credit: A. Angelica/ChatGPT4o)

Some workers in the hospitality industry (such as hotels) apparently have “robot-phobia”—the fear that robots and technology will take human jobs.

Using more robots to close labor gaps in the hospitality industry may backfire and cause more human workers to quit, according to a Washington State University study.

Job insecurity and stress

The study, which involved more than 620 lodging and food service employees, found that human-like robot servers and automated robotic arms as well as self-service kiosks and tabletop devices increased workers’ job insecurity and stress.

That led to greater intentions to leave their jobs. The impact was more pronounced with employees who had real experience working with robotic technology.

Effects on hospitality workers

Published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, the study focuses on how the technology impacted hospitality workers. The researchers surveyed 321 lodging and 308 food service employees from across the U.S., asking a range of questions about their jobs and attitudes toward robots.

Having a higher robot-phobia was connected to greater feelings of job insecurity and stress, which were then correlated with “turnover intention” or workers’ plans to leave their jobs, they found.

The employees who viewed robots as being more capable and efficient also ranked higher in turnover intention.

Citation: Chen, C.-C.(B). and Cai, R. (30 April 2024). “Are robots stealing our jobs? Examining robot-phobia as a job stressor in the hospitality workplace. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management10.1108/IJCHM-09-2023-1454 (open-access)

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