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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2022

Irma Booyens, Anastasios Hadjisolomou, Dennis Nickson, Tayler Cunningham and Tom Baum

This study aims to examine customer misbehaviour in the hospitality sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine customer misbehaviour in the hospitality sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on a cross-sectional survey of employees in the Scottish hospitality sector highlighting customer misbehaviour as a key concern during the pandemic. Prevalent types of abuse and harassment experienced are outlined along with employee and management responses to incidents of misbehaviour.

Findings

Verbal abuse and sexual harassment from customers are the most prevalent types of misbehaviour either experienced or witnessed by respondents. Customer misbehaviour is commonly thought of as “part of the job” and therefore “not a big deal”. Managers, largely, expect workers to tolerate abusive behaviours from customers and do not take reports of incidents seriously.

Practical implications

Transformational managers need to foster workplace well-being with a focus on physical and psychological safety. Recognition of the issue and greater support for victims are furthermore required at an industry level and on the policy front.

Social implications

The research points to an uncomfortable reality in the service economy that needs to be confronted by society. It has, therefore, important implications for key stakeholders in ensuring fair, dignified and safe hospitality workplaces.

Originality/value

Customer misbehaviour is reportedly worsening in times of COVID-19 as demonstrated by this study. Despite rhetoric that abuse and harassment are not tolerated, dismissive attitudes from managers – who expect workers to tolerate abusive behaviour – and employee silence about incidents lead the authors to argue that the failure to acknowledge and address this issue constitutes a form of “social washing” in hospitality.

Details

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

Keywords

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…

23747

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

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 October 2004

Dennis Nickson

1586

Abstract

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 October 2011

Ian Cunningham and Dennis Nickson

This paper aims to consider the impact of the European Union procurement regulations. It assesses the impact of the re‐tendering of services on the terms and conditions of…

1078

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to consider the impact of the European Union procurement regulations. It assesses the impact of the re‐tendering of services on the terms and conditions of employment and sense of well being, and commitment of employees in the social care sub‐sector of the voluntary sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The study employs a qualitative study of three organisations utilising semi‐structured interviews with managers and employees.

Findings

The process of re‐tendering is creating intensified competition and the breakdown of co‐operation between voluntary sector organisations. Re‐tendering also has an impact on employee terms and conditions with related problems arising with regard to their morale and commitment.

Research limitations/implications

This remains a relatively small‐scale piece of research and there is also scope to consider how these issues are played out in private, as well as voluntary sector organisations.

Practical implications

The research highlights the potential tensions between creating greater competition and a search for value for money in the tendering and re‐tendering of services on voluntary organisations' raison d'être and the sense of commitment of employees.

Originality/value

There is little research examining the human resource aspects of re‐tendering and this research provides an important step in surfacing a number of emergent issues for how voluntary organisations manage the people dimension of the re‐tendering process.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2007

Angie Knox and Dennis Nickson

The purpose of the paper is to compare employment relations in the hotel industry in Australia and the UK. Australian industry employment is regulated by the state and…

3319

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to compare employment relations in the hotel industry in Australia and the UK. Australian industry employment is regulated by the state and union recognition is enshrined. A substantial proportion of Australian hotel employers engage directly in firm‐level bargaining with trade unions, with unionisation rates across the industry far higher than in the UK. The analysis focuses on employment strategies emphasising numerical/temporal and functional flexibility since efforts to enhance workplace flexibility underpin employment regulation in Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on interviews conducted in 13 exclusive, luxury hotels in Australia. Interviewees consisted of HR and departmental managers, employees across all hotel departments and relevant union officials.

Findings

Labour utilisation practices in Australian luxury hotels reflect relatively sophisticated and systematic endeavours on the part of employers. The specific content and effect of these strategies varies in accordance with hotels' bargaining arrangements. Whilst employee relations outcomes were not entirely without problems in Australian luxury hotels, they do signify that regulation and trade union recognition can produce substantial benefits for employers and employees.

Research limitations/implications

Recognition of potentially positive employment relations outcomes in Australia points to the need for further research in the UK to reassess employers' attitudes to trade unions in a changing employment relations landscape.

Originality/value

The paper offers a comparison between Australia and the UK in an area that is still relatively under‐researched.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Lynsey Cuthbert and Dennis Nickson

Recent speculation on whether the Government may seek to enforce a total ban on smoking in the UK’s bars and restaurants has reignited a long standing debate about the…

4438

Abstract

Recent speculation on whether the Government may seek to enforce a total ban on smoking in the UK’s bars and restaurants has reignited a long standing debate about the commercial impact of such a decision. Running alongside these considerations is the health and safety question and the possible harmful consequences for those working in smoky environments. Reports a small‐scale piece of research which compares the smoking arrangements found in several restaurants. The findings suggest that those restaurants already operating a total ban on smoking may actually be opposed to Government legislation, as this would remove from them a potential source of competitive advantage. Thus, the paper suggests that those restaurants which operate a total smoking ban may enjoy some commercial benefits, especially if the question of partially or totally banning smoking remains a voluntary one.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Dennis Nickson, Chris Warhurst, Cliff Lockyer and Eli Dutton

This paper considers a so far unappreciated sector of the labour market – lone parents. The number of lone parents has increased dramatically in recent years…

2132

Abstract

This paper considers a so far unappreciated sector of the labour market – lone parents. The number of lone parents has increased dramatically in recent years. Consideration of lone parents allows for a discussion of two key issues within the contemporary labour market: the attempts by government to increase the number of lone parents in work; and relatedly, governmental initiatives which have sought to reform the tax and benefit system to make work more attractive and also address the need for work‐life balance for parents. The paper considers these issues by reporting a small‐scale piece of research that sought to address the viability of the supermarket sector as a suitable employer for lone parents. The results suggest that the increasing numbers of students entering the labour market means that supermarkets are unlikely to consider lone parents as an important, discrete source of labour.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2000

Jonathan C. Morris

Looks at the 2000 Employment Research Unit Annual Conference held at the University of Cardiff in Wales on 6/7 September 2000. Spotlights the 76 or so presentations within…

29846

Abstract

Looks at the 2000 Employment Research Unit Annual Conference held at the University of Cardiff in Wales on 6/7 September 2000. Spotlights the 76 or so presentations within and shows that these are in many, differing, areas across management research from: retail finance; precarious jobs and decisions; methodological lessons from feminism; call centre experience and disability discrimination. These and all points east and west are covered and laid out in a simple, abstract style, including, where applicable, references, endnotes and bibliography in an easy‐to‐follow manner. Summarizes each paper and also gives conclusions where needed, in a comfortable modern format.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 23 no. 9/10/11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2006

Andrew Sturdy, Irena Grugulis and Hugh Willmott

1295

Abstract

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 40 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

Keywords

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