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Aesthetic labor, rocky horrors, and the 007 Dynamic

Bernie Quinn (School of Business, Enterprise and Management, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 28 March 2008




To ascertain if the use of attractive staff is common practice within the hospitality industry in Edinburgh.


A qualitative approach by a series of semi‐structured interviews. The researcher took an instinctive humanist approach to this study. A sample of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, bars and restaurants were included. The focus of the research developed from ascertaining if attractive staff were common place into one that, some organisations use more sophisticated techniques to have customers literally buy‐in to the goods and services on offer.


Open admission from respondents, that they use attractive staff. However, aesthetic labor is strongly supported by the use of emotional labor as the worker needs to have a certain empathy with the customer. Furthermore, the aesthetic worker is supported by the uniform, the environment in which the service encounter takes place and provides a performance in which the customer actively participates. The highly developed manner that the organisation induces the customer to perceive when in this environment lead the researcher to propose a 007 Dynamic that happens, as the customer takes on an almost “James Bond” like persona.

Research limitations/implications

A relatively small sample but is perhaps indicative of contemporary hospitality industry common practices.

Practical implications

Hospitality management are using less highly “hard” skilled employees and focusing more on the “soft” skills of new workers.


Customers are susceptible to subliminal messaging from staff appearance, their empathy and environment.



Quinn, B. (2008), "Aesthetic labor, rocky horrors, and the 007 Dynamic", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 77-85.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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