Journal article

The role of social support in human-automation interaction


  • Sauer, Juergen ORCID Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Sonderegger, Andreas Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland; Business School, Institute for New Work, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Bern, Switzerland
  • Semmer, Norbert K. Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2024
Published in:
  • Ergonomics. - Informa UK Limited. - 2024, p. 1-12
English This theoretical article examines the concept of social support in the context of human-automation interaction, outlining several critical issues. We identified several factors that we expect to influence the consequences of social support and to what extent it is perceived as appropriate (e.g. provider possibilities, recipient expectations), notably regarding potential threats to self-esteem. We emphasise the importance of performance (including extra-role performance) as a potential outcome, whereas previous research has primarily concentrated on health and well-being. We discuss to what extent automation may provide different types of social support (e.g. emotional, instrumental), and how it differs from human support. Finally, we propose a taxonomy of automated support, arguing that source of support is not a binary concept. We conclude that more empirical work is needed to examine the multiple effects of social support for core performance indicators and extra-role performance and emphasise that there are ethical questions involved.
PRACTITIONER SUMMARY This theoretical article examines the role of automated social support given the increasing ability of automated systems. It concludes that it seems likely that automated systems may be perceived as supportive if they conform to pertinent criteria for design. However, empirical studies are needed to assess the impact of the complex interplay of humans and automation being involved together in the design and provision of social support.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de Psychologie
  • English
Open access status
Persistent URL

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