Virtual Servants: Stereotyping Female Front-Office Employees on the Internet
This article focuses on the service providers of the future: virtual assistants on the Internet. Recent technological developments, supported by intensive research on artificial intelligence, have enabled corporations to construct ‘virtual employees’ who can interact with their online customers. The number of virtual assistants on the Internet continues to grow and most of these new service providers are human-like and female. In this article I profile virtual employees on the Internet — who they are, what they do and how they present themselves. I demonstrate that the Internet suffers from the same gender stereotyping characteristic of customer services in general and that the unreflective choice of female images is, at the minimum, a symbolic reinforcement of the real circumstances of gender divisions in customer service.
Göteborg University. School of Business, Economics and Law
Gender, Work and Organization, nr Vol. 12 No. 5 September 2005
Gender, Work and Organization
Vol. 12 No. 5 September 2005