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The role of Aesthetic Labour in Hospitality

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ASSESSMENT-2 ESSAY Aesthetic Labour in hotel and Hospitality Management. The shift from an industrial society to a service oriented society has brought with it many implications and thereby major changes in the workings of the various departments in an organisation like Marketing, Human Resources, Operations, etc., since the significant change is the shift from a product or manufacturing centred focus to service or a more human centred focus. And this increasingly has brought the realisation in organisations that their employees are increasingly a part of their service product especially in the Hospitality industry (Kotler et al, 2006). This evolution of the thought process has lead to the aesthetics of the labour in relation to the organisation (Nickson et al, 2003). Aesthetic labour can be defined as "a supply of embodied capacities and attributes possessed by the workers at the point of entry into employment. Employers then mobilise, develop and commodify these capacities and attributes through the processes of recruitment, selection and training, transforming them into competencies and skills which are aesthetically geared to producing a 'style' of service encounter" (Warhurst et al 2000, p. 1). It is clear from the definition that aesthetics of labour is the development and manipulation of embodied competencies of an employee by the employer to bring about product differentiation. ...read more.


From this reason many organisation have set training modules in personal grooming, personality development and body language with the help of external consultants (Nickson et al, 2005; Bryson & Wellington, 2001). Employer have come to the realisation that the uniform alone can not project the right image of the organisation if the grooming of the individual is below expectation, so therefore great emphasis is paid by employer on the outward appearance of the employees with proper grooming standards set by the organisations for both men and women to follow like minimal jewellery, make-up skills, hair cuts, regulations on acceptable body art, etc., some organisation have also set up grooming committee to monitor the grooming standards of the employees and incentives have been are set up to encourage this, like the best groomed employee of the month, etc (Nickson et al, 2000). Apart from the personality fine tuning staff also receive training in 'how to approach the guest' skills through development of body language and phraseology to used and to be able to judge the body language of the customer and adapt to the situation accordingly because self-presentation of the employee is all part of the service product (Nickson et al, 2003). ...read more.


For the manager incharge of the outlet or establishment of aesthetically well training staff have less supervision of staff, competent and empowered staff and finally growth in profits, which result in career recognition and advancement possibilities. And lastly, for the employer or the organisation in general, competitive advantage because of well training employees, standardised service product, customer satisfaction and retention and finally market progression through image development and growth in profits (Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003; Nickson et al, 2003), but on the flip-side of the argument aesthetic labour is sexually oriented, gendered and discriminatory. As it degrades and sexualises labour through provocative and bold catch phrases in advertisement and projection of female employees as sexual symbols inorder to entice male customer to experience their service product, for instance air-line stewardesses and waitresses in Hooters ( Speiss & Waring, 2005; Nickson et al, 2003). It is also considered discriminatory because it excludes candidate on the basis of 'looking good' and 'sounding good' and not the technical aspects of the candidate (Nickson et al, 2003). So for aesthetic labour to succeed a combination of skills (technical, social and aesthetic skills) needed to be developed in individuals by training institutes and be able to make informed decisions based on current market trends to determine job opportunities, so that they can succeed in the recruitment process. ...read more.

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