Predicting the change trajectory of employee robot-phobia in the workplace: The role of perceived robot advantageousness and anthropomorphism

Junbang Lan, Bocong Yuan, Yuanyuan Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, robotics has been widely adopted in the workplaces of various industries. Resultantly, human employees have to work increasingly with non-human robotic coworkers. Although the rapid development of robotic technology (e.g., stronger capabilities and more human-like qualities) brings about greater efficiency, human employees may feel threatened and harbor fears toward robots (i.e., robot-phobia). This study explores the complexity of employees' robot-phobia by examining its change trajectory during the adaptation phase. Further, by drawing upon an integrated threat theory, we propose two perceived threats that impact robot-phobia: robots' perceived advantages compared to humans and anthropomorphism. The model was tested via quantitative (Study 1) and qualitative (Study 2) analyses. In Study 1, we tracked 163 hotel employees seven times over one and a half months from their first days working with service robotics and analyzed the data using the Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) approach. Results reveal a positive quadratic growth curve regarding employee robot-phobia over time. Moreover, this growth curve is influenced by employees’ perceived advantages of robots compared to humans and perceived anthropomorphism. Study 2 consists of a series of post-hoc semi-structured interviews with 18 hotel employees, which further corroborates our theoretical mechanism. Our study advances the knowledge of the dynamics of employee robot-phobia, facilitating future applications of robotics in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107366
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropomorphism
  • Perceived advantages of robots compared to humans
  • Robot-phobia
  • Technophobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)


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