How can efficiency potentials of Robotic Process Automation be sustainably established by promoting acceptance?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has proven to be an efficiency-boosting automation technology in corporate practice that makes many of the work steps performed by employees obsolete and, as a result, greatly changes the way they work. A critical success factor for the sustainable introduction and establishment of the efficiency potential of RPA is the acceptance among the employees involved. Studies also show that management decisions are made on the basis of subjective criteria in almost half of all cases, despite the availability of automated knowledge.

This is owed to two types of influencing factors: the conscious disregard of the provided insights due to a lack of acceptance, and the associated unconscious prejudices and cognitive distortions, so-called biases. Examples of bias include an excessive preference for the status quo over change (status quo bias) and an inability to adapt one's thoughts to new evidence and information quickly enough (conservatism bias). To overcome these hurdles, a holistic approach to the use of RPA in companies must be developed while simultaneously ensuring employee acceptance.

In addition to the technological and system-based adaptation, this approach also requires a transformation of the company organisation and culture. This is particularly challenging for SMEs due to limited human and financial resources. The goal of the research project "RPAcceptance" is therefore to develop an acceptance model that includes the essential influencing factors regarding the acceptance of RPA. These influencing factors will be empirically tested by means of a questionnaire study, a behaviour-oriented laboratory experiment and an online study in order to develop a sustainable approach to the systematic use of RPA by ensuring employee acceptance.

Cooperation partner: Institute for Industrial Management FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University

Funding body: The IGF project 21512 N of Institute for Industrial Management FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University is funded through the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) via the programme to promote joint industrial research (IGF) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) based on a decision by the German Bundestag.

Project period: November 2020 - October 2022