When robots join our team: A configuration theory of employees’ perceptions of and reactions to Robotic Process Automation

Keywords: case study, configurational approach, financial institution, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), RPA implementation


Robotic process automation (RPA) as a lightweight automation technology has witnessed an increasing uptake in the industry in recent years. Despite considerable changes in employees’ tasks and processes brought about by the introduction of RPA, there is a lack of research that explores how employees react to an RPA implementation. Hence, the goal of this research is to understand employees’ perceptions of and reactions to RPA as these affect their interaction with the technology and, ultimately, their adoption and use. To address this research gap, we conducted a case study at a financial institution in New Zealand and interviewed 18 employees of the business units and members of the RPA team. Building on a configurational approach, we developed a mid-range theory and identified four distinct configurations that show how employees’ perceived consequences of software robots on their jobs influenced their collaboration with the automation team, their attitude towards the change in work tasks and processes and ultimately their interactions with software robots and attribution of software robots’ roles and performance. Our findings may inform implementation and change management strategies and accommodation initiatives to support employees’ needs to facilitate adoption, which is crucial for organisations to realise the benefits of RPA.


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How to Cite
Waizenegger, L., & Techatassanasoontorn, A. A. (2022). When robots join our team: A configuration theory of employees’ perceptions of and reactions to Robotic Process Automation. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 26. https://doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v26i0.3833
Selected Papers from the Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS)