Exploring Affordances of Slack Integrations and Their Actualization Within Enterprises - Towards an Understanding of How Chatbots Create Value


The rise of chatbots poses new possibilities to link social interactions within instant messengers with third-party systems and business processes. While many companies use chatbots within the enterprise in the form of Slack apps and integrations, little is known about their affordances. Grounded in a qualitative research endeavour, we conducted 12 explorative interviews in 8 organizational settings to inductively gain rich contextual insights. Our results reveal 14 functional affordances in 4 categories, elucidating how their actualization leads to the perception of higher level affordances and constraints. First, we discuss how chatbots augment social information systems with affordances of traditional enterprise systems, and therefore, enable bottom-up automation. Second, we elaborate on how the actualization of an affordance by one user may facilitate its perception by other users. Thus, we contribute towards a better understanding of how chatbots create value.

Proceedings of the 51th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2018)
Emanuel Stoeckli
Visiting Researcher/ Research Associate