The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality

D.P. Nickson, C. Warhurst, Eli Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

142 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages13
JournalManaging Service Quality
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Fingerprint

Service encounter
Hospitality
Retail
Employers
Personnel
Soft skills
Employees
Service organization
Policy making
Hospitality industry
Interaction
Technical skills
Retail industry
Frontline employees
Aesthetic labour
Questionnaire

Keywords

  • employees
  • service industries
  • human resource management
  • work

Cite this

@article{cd77c4ab593345ad81a18703aba0cb89,
title = "The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality",
abstract = "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. 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.",
keywords = "employees, service industries, human resource management, work",
author = "D.P. Nickson and C. Warhurst and Eli Dutton",
year = "2005",
doi = "10.1108/09604520510585370",
language = "English",
volume = "15",
pages = "195--208",
journal = "Managing Service Quality",
issn = "0960-4529",
publisher = "Emerald Publishing Limited",
number = "2",

}

The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality. / Nickson, D.P.; Warhurst, C.; Dutton, Eli.

In: Managing Service Quality, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2005, p. 195-208.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality

AU - Nickson, D.P.

AU - Warhurst, C.

AU - Dutton, Eli

PY - 2005

Y1 - 2005

N2 - 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. 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.

AB - 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. 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.

KW - employees

KW - service industries

KW - human resource management

KW - work

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09604520510585370

U2 - 10.1108/09604520510585370

DO - 10.1108/09604520510585370

M3 - Article

VL - 15

SP - 195

EP - 208

JO - Managing Service Quality

JF - Managing Service Quality

SN - 0960-4529

IS - 2

ER -