Article Information


Alisa Maximova (

Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences –– Branch of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SI RAS — FCTAS RAS), Saint Petersburg, Russia; National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Citation: Maximova A. (2019) Opyt pol'zovatelya telefonnoy spravochnoy sluzhby: vzaimodeystviye s operatorom-chelovekom i robotom [Information Service User Experience: Interaction with Human and Robot Operator]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(6): 44–68. (in Russian).

Abstract. In social studies of technology, one of the topical issues concerns what happens when tasks and activities performed by people before are provided by information technologies. This article examines experience of a telephone inquiry service user and focuses on the question of how interaction work is organized in a telephone conversation of a user with an automated operator and human operator. To answer to this question, a framework of conversation analysis is employed, which allows considering social interaction in details. Records of telephone calls to the reference service, as well as data from observation and conversations with employees of the organization, were material for the study. It is shown that in studies of social interaction with information systems scholars point out limitations of machine’s communicative resources. Examination of call center case (interaction of human operators and users) proves that operators are capable of following a call “script”, cope with organizational restrictions and solve problems in interaction using turn-taking, tone, and even speech overlaps to achieve mutual understanding with users. Then, interaction of users and robot is analysed and compared with human operators. We identify the features of the interaction work of conversation participants in cases where users encounter a machine. It is shown that the robot acts independently from its counterpart and does not respond to situational circumstances, it “detaches” user’s turns and makes them separate, controls what can be said and perceived — and at which points. However, users adapt to these specific interaction features during a call.

Keywords: human-machine interaction, conversation analysis, user experience, sociotechnical barriers, microsociology


The research is supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant (RSF no. 17-78-20164) “Sociotechnical barriers of the implementation and use of information technologies in Russia: sociological analysis”.


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