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Family‐themed control in “service factories”: An examination of modes of service delivery and HRM styles in the UK restaurant sector

Konstantinos Kakavelakis (Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 3 August 2010




The purpose of this paper is to explore the deployment of family‐themed control in McDonaldized service outlets. More specifically, the paper aims to contribute to the debate about the nature of the service encounter and the type of management control employed by organizations in the hospitality sector.


The paper adopts a case study approach, focusing on a UK restaurant chain. A total of 55 interviews were conducted with area managers, restaurant managers and employees in seven of the company's restaurants.


The evidence shows that the case study company employed a family‐based type of control which aimed to address the perennial issue of high labour turnover, which is common in hospitality. The relative success of normative control in this case is explained by the fact that it did not co‐exist with other, more militaristic forms of control, as is often the case in fast‐food outlets.

Research limitations/implications

The study is based on a single organization. Further research is needed into the rationale behind the deployment of normative control by service factories.


This study addresses limitations in previous research which discusses types of management control in hospitality organizations within a framework informed by the notion of “best fit” between service archetypes and HRM styles. The paper shows that the adoption of specific types of management control is related not only to the nature of the service encounter but also to broader sectoral issues.



Kakavelakis, K. (2010), "Family‐themed control in “service factories”: An examination of modes of service delivery and HRM styles in the UK restaurant sector", Personnel Review, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 557-573.



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