Student Theses and Projects: Working with Robots: Understanding how individuals and teams interact with technology in professional work settings


Thesis (BA/MA/Guided Research); Reference-number: 2017-173

Advisor(s): Dr. Manuel Wiesche


Today’s organizational structures, processes, products, and services are increasingly affected by robots that are integrated into the workplace. Such robots range from automation machinery to sociable artificial intelligence (Thrun 2004). Working with such robots has found its way in many jobs, changing human job description or transforming the job itself by requiring new skills, knowledge, and organizational design (Ransbotham et al. 2017). Studies found that robots change boundary relations in different occupations and working with robots significantly alters workflows, e.g. in hospitals (Mutlu and Forlizzi 2008)(Barrett et al. 2012).

This development imposes questions of team formation, collaboration and team management to the body of knowledge on team research (Tannenbaum et al. 2012). This thesis seeks to examine how humans work together with robots from a HCI, psychological, and organization design perspective. Interested students could conduct literature reviews, exploratory expert studies, experiments, surveys or design science studies that seek to develop new artifacts.


Possible research topics include, but are not limited to

  • Providing an overview of research on robots in organizations
  • Understand how organizations arrange work that involves robots and algorithms
  • Understanding how humans perceive robots in collaboration environments
  • Understanding roles and tasks that robots can engage in in creative team sessions
  • Explain which factors cause conflict in human-robot environments 


  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Excellent statistical skills
  • Structured, methodical and independent style of work 

The topic can be chosen for any degree in informatics, Wirtschaftsinformatik and Wirtschaftswissenschaften and related in any format, including Bachelorthesis, Masterthesis, IDP, and guided research.

Further Information

Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. J., and Yates, J. 2012. "Reconfiguring Boundary Relations: Robotic Innovations in Pharmacy Work," Organization Science (23:5), pp. 1448-1466.

Mutlu, B., and Forlizzi, J. 2008. "Robots in Organizations: The Role of Workflow, Social, and Environmental Factors in Human-Robot Interaction," Proceedings of the 3rd ACM/IEEE international conference on Human robot interaction: ACM, pp. 287-294.

Ransbotham, S., Kiron, D., Gerbert, P., and Reeves, M. 2017. "Reshaping Business with Artificial Intelligence: Closing the Gap between Ambition and Action," MIT Sloan Management Review (59:1).

Tannenbaum, S. I., Mathieu, J. E., Salas, E., and Cohen, D. 2012. "Teams Are Changing: Are Research and Practice Evolving Fast Enough?," Industrial and Organizational Psychology (5:1), pp. 2-24.

Thrun, S. 2004. "Toward a Framework for Human-Robot Interaction," Human-Computer Interaction (19:1), pp. 9-24.