Robots have been slowly but steadily introduced to welfare sectors. Our previous observations based on a large-scale survey study on Finnish elder-care workers in 2016 showed that while robots were perceived to be useful in certain telecare tasks, using robots may also prove to be incompatible with the care workers’ personal values. The current study presents the second wave of the survey data from 2020, with the same respondents (N 190), and shows how these views have changed for the positive, including higher expectations of telecare robotization and decreased concerns over care robots’ compatibility with personal values. In a longitudinal analysis (Phase 1), the positive change in views toward telecare robots was found to be influenced by the care robots’ higher value compatibility. In an additional cross-sectional analysis (Phase 2), focusing on the factors underlying personal values, care robots’ value compatibility was associated with social norms toward care robots, the threat of technological unemployment, and COVID-19 stress. The significance of social norms in robot acceptance came down to more universal ethical standards of care work rather than shared norms in the workplace. COVID-19 stress did not explain the temporal changes in views about robot use in care but had a role in assessments of the compatibility between personal values and care robot use. In conclusion, for care workers to see potential in care robots, the new technology must support ethical standards of care work, such as respectfulness, compassion, and trustworthiness of the nurse–patient interaction. In robotizing care work, personal values are significant predictors of the task values.
- Care robots
- Robot acceptance