Hope, Tolerance and Empathy: Employees’ Emotions when Using an AI-enabled Chatbot in a Digitalised Workplace

Lorentsa Gkinko, Amany Elbanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – Information Systems research on emotions in relation to using technology largely holds essentialist assumptions about emotions, focuses on negative emotions and treats technology as a token or as a black box, which hinders an in-depth understanding of distinctions in the emotional experience of using artificial intelligence (AI) technology in context. This research focuses on understanding employees’ emotional experiences of using an AI chatbot as a specific type of AI system that learns from how it is used and is conversational, displaying a social presence to users. The research questions how and why employees experience emotions when using an AI chatbot, and how these emotions impact its use.

Design/methodology/approach – An interpretive case study approach and an inductive analysis were adopted for this study. Data were collected through interviews, documents review and observation of use.

Findings – The study found that employee appraisals of chatbots were influenced by the form and functional design of the AI chatbot technology and its organisational and social context, resulting in a wider repertoire of appraisals and multiple emotions. In addition to positive and negative emotions, users experienced connection emotions. The findings show that the existence of multiple emotions can encourage continued use of an AI chatbot.

Originality/value – This research extends information systems literature on emotions by focusing on the lived experiences of employees in their actual use of an AI chatbot, while considering its characteristics and its organisational and social context. The findings inform the emerging literature on AI.

Keywords Chatbot, Artificial intelligence, Emotions, Emotions at work, Digital workplace, Technology use, AI use, Future of work, Digital transformation, Digital ways of working

Paper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1714-1743
Number of pages30
JournalInformation Technology and People
Issue number6
Early online date3 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022


  • AI Chatbot
  • Conversational Agent
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Emotions
  • Emotions at Work
  • Digital Workplace
  • AI Use
  • Future of Work
  • digital transformation
  • Digital Ways of Working
  • industrial revolution

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