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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2021

Vijay A. Ramjattan

This paper introduces the concept of transracial aesthetic labour to understand why and how an international teaching assistant (ITA) vocally changes meanings of his…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces the concept of transracial aesthetic labour to understand why and how an international teaching assistant (ITA) vocally changes meanings of his racial identity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a narrative analysis to detail instances of transracial aesthetic labour.

Findings

For the ITA, this labour involved orally distancing from or aligning with particular Indian stereotypes for specific contexts.

Research limitations/implications

Transracial aesthetic labour may occur in other industries that deem race an integral part of sounding right or looking good for the job.

Practical implications

The findings highlight the need for ITAs and universities to rethink the meaning of transracial to combat racist perceptions of ITAs' speech.

Originality/value

The paper advances the aesthetic labour literature by exploring how race is vocally performed for this labour and introducing ITAs as aesthetic labourers.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 24 March 2020

Volkan Genc and Meryem Akoglan Kozak

The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance regarding the satisfaction of customer needs in the competitive restaurant industry. Restaurants have seen a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide guidance regarding the satisfaction of customer needs in the competitive restaurant industry. Restaurants have seen a transformation in employees’ labor, changing from primarily physical and mental to emotional and aesthetic dimensions. In this study, the effect of managers’ emotional and social competence (ESC) on the aesthetic labor of service and kitchen employees has been investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical data was collected from employees and managers of a restaurant chain. Structural equation modeling was the main analytical tool used to assess the results.

Findings

The findings indicated that managers’ ESC affected the aesthetic labor of their service (aesthetic traits (AT), aesthetic requirements and service encounters) and kitchen (AT, aesthetic creativity and aesthetic harmony ) employees. Achievement orientation and adaptability were among the dimensions of emotional competence that contributed the most to aesthetic labor. The most significant elements of social competence were inspiring leadership and conflict management.

Practical implications

The study suggests that managers can improve the aesthetic performance of their employees by using their ESC.

Originality/value

This is the first study of this kind to include kitchen employees while considering the effects of restaurant managers’ ESC on aesthetic labor. The findings indicate the importance of the ESC of managers in improving the aesthetic labor of employees.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Xiaoni Ren

Drawing upon the existing theoretical and empirical sourced knowledge of aesthetic labour and gender, this paper aims to explore the exploitation of women’s aesthetic

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing upon the existing theoretical and empirical sourced knowledge of aesthetic labour and gender, this paper aims to explore the exploitation of women’s aesthetic labour in the Chinese airline industry and the underlying causes from a contextual point of view.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study has emerged from a broader research project which aimed to explore women’s experiences of work-family conflict and their career aspirations in the Chinese airline industry in which aesthetic labour was prevalent as a significant issue during semi-structured interviews with female employees and HR/line management. Thus, the study draws upon interview data focusing on recruitment and selection of flight attendants in three Chinese airlines. This is complemented by secondary sources of data from Chinese television programmes and job advertisements.

Findings

This study reveals that aesthetics is both gendered and context-bound. It exposes that aesthetic labour in Chinese airlines is demanded from women but not men. It highlights that gendered aesthetic labour is continuously shaped by four influential contextual issues – legislation, labour market practices, national culture and airline management practices.

Originality/value

By uncovering the dynamic interconnectedness of gender and aesthetics and illustrating the exploitation of women’s aesthetic labour for commercial gains in Chinese airlines, this paper contributes to the understanding of the gendered aesthetics in the airline industry. It also offers new insights into the theory of aesthetic labour by locating it in a context that differs significantly from other socio-cultural contexts.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Dennis Nickson, Chris Warhurst and Eli Dutton

For service organisations the interaction between front‐line personnel and the customer is crucial as they aim to create high quality service encounters. Much research has…

Abstract

Purpose

For service organisations the interaction between front‐line personnel and the customer is crucial as they aim to create high quality service encounters. Much research has focused on attempts by organisations to inculcate the “right” kind of attitude in their front‐line employees. This paper seeks to extend this analysis by pointing to the increasing importance not just of having employees with the “right” attitudes, but also possessing aesthetic skills. The emergence of aesthetic skills reflects the growing importance of aesthetic labour in interactive services. That is, employers' increasingly desire that employees should have the “right” appearance in that they “look good” and “sound right” in the service encounter in retail and hospitality.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper mainly utilises responses to a structured questionnaire from employers in the retail and hospitality industries in Glasgow, although reference is also made to a similar employees' questionnaire.

Findings

The evidence from the questionnaires suggests that employers in the retail and hospitality industries are not generally looking for “hard” technical skills in their front‐line personnel, but rather “soft” skills. Such “soft” skills encompass attitude and, importantly, appearance – what we term “aesthetic skills” – and the latter is often underappreciated in academic and policy‐making debates.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of the survey suggest that academics and policy‐makers need to expand the way they think about “soft” skills. Specifically, they need to be aware of the extent of employers’ needs for both social and aesthetic skills.

Originality/value

The findings of the survey have implications from a policy perspective and policy‐makers may need to think about if and how these needs can be incorporated into education and training provision.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2013

Valerie Caven, Scott Lawley and Jocelyn Baker

Organisations seek to manage and control the dress, appearance and behaviour of their employees for strategic corporate advantage but what are the far‐reaching…

Abstract

Purpose

Organisations seek to manage and control the dress, appearance and behaviour of their employees for strategic corporate advantage but what are the far‐reaching implications of this for employers and employees? This paper aims to identify the explicit and implicit codes for appearance and behaviour imposed by management and co‐workers.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a case study approach using ethnographic methods, this research, conducted in a recruitment agency specialising in placing construction industry personnel, draws on data obtained from four in‐depth, semi‐structured interviews with senior managers, a focus group with female employees and participant observation methods, and provides an intriguing insight into the grooming and packaging of female employees. Findings – Findings show this aesthetic and behavioural “packaging” of the female employees comes with consequences for client, employer and employee. The females cannot escape the aesthetic and sexualised image imposed upon them as management strategy and often have no choice but to “perform” for clients to manipulate situations for their own advantage.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the research approach adopted and the relatively small sample size, generalizability is limited. It would be helpful to replicate the study in other settings.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the existence of official and unofficial controls over dress, appearance and behaviour and the pressure exerted on women in the workplace.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 March 2008

Bernie Quinn

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

Abstract

Purpose

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

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Vijay A. Ramjattan

Expertise in English language teaching (ELT) is determined by being a white native speaker of English. Therefore, ELT is a type of aesthetic labour because workers are…

Abstract

Purpose

Expertise in English language teaching (ELT) is determined by being a white native speaker of English. Therefore, ELT is a type of aesthetic labour because workers are expected to look and sound a particular way. As nonwhite teachers cannot perform this labour, they may experience employment discrimination in the form of racial microaggressions, which are everyday racial slights. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what types of microaggressions inform several nonwhite teachers that they cannot perform aesthetic labour in private language schools in Toronto, Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper utilizes a critical race methodology in which several nonwhite teachers told stories of racial microaggressions.

Findings

The teachers were told that they lacked the right aesthetic through microaggressions involving employers being confused about their names, questioning their language backgrounds, and citing customer preferences.

Research limitations/implications

Future research must find out whether nonwhite teachers experience discrimination throughout Canada. Other studies must investigate how intersecting identity markers affect teachers’ employment prospects.

Practical implications

To prevent the discrimination of nonwhite teachers (in Canada), increased regulation is needed. The international ELT industry also needs to fight against the ideology that English is a white language.

Originality/value

There is little literature that examines language/racial discrimination in the Canadian ELT industry and how this discrimination is articulated to teachers.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 34 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Franck Bailly and Alexandre Léné

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the consequences of the increasing prominence of soft skills, focusing specifically on the production of these skills and their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the consequences of the increasing prominence of soft skills, focusing specifically on the production of these skills and their recognition and recruitment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on interviews conducted with managers in the service sector in France. Two types of services are covered: large‐scale retailing and hotel and catering services.

Findings

The paper shows that the demand for soft skills has caused the service labour process to become highly personified and underline the risks this entails.

Practical implications

The personification of the service labour process encourages the development of specific human resource management practices in the spheres of recruitment, pay and training.

Social implications

The results underline the need for institutional mediation in the regulation of the labour market. The personification of skills has many social implications in terms of discrimination and policies on training and skill recognition.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper lies, first, in the fact that the results relate to France, whereas most of the literature on soft skills has focused on the UK, the US and other English‐speaking countries. Furthermore, the article emphasises that managers’ practices are shaped by their attitudes towards soft skills, and in particular whether they believe them to be acquired or innate.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 October 2008

Tom Baum

The purpose of this paper is to consider the managerial and developmental concept of talent management in the context of the specific characteristics of the weak labour

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the managerial and developmental concept of talent management in the context of the specific characteristics of the weak labour market attributes of the hospitality and tourism sector in developed countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores these characteristics and analyses talent management scenarios within which businesses can operate, concluding that an inclusive and developmental approach, focusing on talent identification and acknowledgement, is probably the most effective within this sector.

Findings

This paper proposes a new interpretation of the concept of talent management in the context of hospitality and tourism that is both inclusive and developmental.

Practical implications

It will be of value to practitioners in helping them to evaluate their recruitment, retention and development practices. It will also be of value to researchers in providing the basis for further study and reflection in this area.

Originality/value

This is the first paper of its kind to apply the concept of talent management to the specific labour market conditions which pertain in hospitality and tourism.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Linda McKie and Marjut Jyrkinen

The authors report on research with women managers, documenting their strategies in response to gendered and sexualised working life. The paper aims to offer a conceptual…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors report on research with women managers, documenting their strategies in response to gendered and sexualised working life. The paper aims to offer a conceptual framework and suggest ways in which employing organisations and workers might recognise and address the myriad forms of discrimination.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative design was pursued with 15 one-to-one interviews and two focus groups involving 12 women managers aged from their 30s to 60s. Data were collected in Finland. Women were recruited through business networks. Participants worked in a range of private sector and voluntary sector organisations.

Findings

Finland is a country which enjoys an international reputation for gender equality, but across the data, women recounted numerous examples of how they navigate working life to manage sexualised and discriminatory encounters and comments. Women reported feeling under constant surveillance for their looks, dress and behaviours in and outside the workplace. Further, ageing brought with it challenges to remain energetic and youthful and enhance the image of the organisation.

Originality/value

Although a considerable body of research exists on (gendered) aesthetic labour at work in service and hospitality work, there are limited data on this in business and middle management. With an ageing workforce, and women continuing to encounter pressures with their physical appearance, behaviours and dress, they continually develop ways to negotiate their careers. The authors propose the concept of “MyManagement” as a self-technology to denote the ways how women manage workplace relationships, working life and career development as organisational practices remain gendered.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

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