Mitigating the intrusive effects of smart home assistants by using anthropomorphic design features: A multimethod investigation

Jan 2nd, 2020 | By | Category: RSS Feed

Abstract

With the growing proliferation of smart home assistants (SHAs), digital services are increasingly pervading people’s private households. Through their intrusive features, SHAs threaten to not only increase individual users’ strain but also impair social relationships at home. However, while previous research has predominantly focused on technology features’ detrimental effects on employee strain at work, there is still a lack of understanding of the adverse effects of digital devices on individuals and their social relations at home. In addition, we know little about how these deleterious effects can be mitigated by using information technology (IT) artefact?based design features. Drawing on the person?technology fit model, self?regulation theory, and the literature on anthropomorphism, we used the synergistic properties of an online experiment (N = 136) and a follow?up field survey with a representative sample of SHA users (N = 214) to show how and why SHAs’ intrusive technology features cause strain and interpersonal conflicts at home. Moreover, we demonstrate how SHAs’ anthropomorphic design features can attenuate the harmful effects of intrusive technology features on strain by shaping users’ feelings of privacy invasion. More broadly, our study sheds light on the largely underinvestigated psychological and social consequences of the digitization of the individual at home.

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