Thinking Skills Don’t Protect Service Workers from Replacement by Artificial Intelligence

Darina Vorobeva, Yasmina El Fassi, Diego Costa Pinto, Diego Hildebrand, Márcia M. Herter, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


Despite the documented benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the service industry, the service employees’ fear of being replaced by AI continues to be a major concern as we transition to the Feeling Economy. This paper builds upon the Feeling Economy framework and the social comparison theory to examine how different service-related tasks (thinking vs feeling) distinctively impact the service employees’ feelings and behavior. Five studies reveal that the presence of AI increases negative outcomes for employees engaging in thinking (vs. feeling) tasks due to its adverse effects on their perceived ability (i.e., relative performance). Findings further indicate that these detrimental effects only happen when service employees compare their abilities with those of AI. This research provides important theoretical and managerial implications, helping to mitigate AI’s negative outcomes on employees’ fear of replacement and reduced job performance
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-613
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Early online date23 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • artificial intelligence
  • services
  • feeling economy
  • fear
  • job performance


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