Emotional labour and valued social identity in hospitality workers : An hermeneutic exploration.

MCGIRL, John. (2014). Emotional labour and valued social identity in hospitality workers : An hermeneutic exploration. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research will explore the experience of emotional labour through the eyes of hospitality worker's (the participants) and the eyes of the researcher in order to develop an understanding of how these lived experiences influence the development of a valued social identity. This is important because customer service industries and the hospitality industry in particular, struggle to attract and retain career professionals who value the act of providing service to others. The customer service industry invests heavily in securing and building the right talent to deliver customer service yet hospitality jobs remain among those with the highest turnover and lowest job satisfaction. Recent U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics data show that the voluntary turnover rate in the lodging and food- service industry is 58.8 percent, which is 24 percent higher than retail trade and 54 percent higher than health-care services, which also employs a large number of low paid hourly workers in service roles (US Bureau of Labour Statistics, "Job Openings and Labour Turnover Report," January 2012). According to a UK labour report (People 1st, 2013, State of the Nation: Executive Summary; Hospitality & Tourism), 50% of people employed in the hospitality sector are part-time, transient workers, compared to an average 28% in the rest of the economy. The UK industry experiences higher turnover than other sectors and reports indicate that skills shortages are most chronic in areas of interpersonal skills, particularly communication with customers. As a result employers make substantial investments in customer service training. An extract from the same report states; "Overall, sector employers reported that customer handling skills (61 percent) most commonly needed Improvement, which was also the number one skills concern for the future." (People 1st, 2013. P2.) These reports both indicate that new entrants into the industry make largely transitional career choices and do not appear to identify positively with the emotional labour work they produce. This research will explore a key question regarding drivers of these issues: What antecedents may influence the phenomenon of hospitality workers finding valued social identity in the work of emotional labour? By exploring the life and work histories of the participants, this research aims to uncover the nature of those influences that have built positive connections for those who, like me, identify so strongly with this type of work. In pursuing this research question it is important to understand what the intended contribution to knowledge will be. In developing further understanding of how individuals find valued social identity in the work of serving others we can potentially make a contribution to the growing desire for human interaction in our consumer driven society. A contradiction of the increasingly automated world of customer service where is that no matter how good the system, people still want a friendly human voice and a personalised service experience (Albrecht, 2002). The work of providing customer service and engineering one's emotions to satisfy the emotional needs of a customer (emotional labour) is difficult and often stressful work. It is traditionally associated with low rewards structures and minimal recognition in terms of professional acknowledgement. Still, society's need for the consumer experience is ever-growing with increasing expectations for high customer service levels in the globally competitive marketplace. In the US alone for 2009 services accounted for 79.6 percent of U.S. private-sector gross domestic product (GDP), or $9.81 trillion. Services jobs accounted for more than 80 percent of U.S. private-sector employment, or 89.7 million jobs.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (D.B.A.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2014.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:21
Last Modified: 22 May 2018 10:48
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20041

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