External- Employee-Customer: Working practises and Service Encounter in the external stage the role of aesthetics is important because all the training and development is required to influence the customer, some organisations require their employee to maintain good posture and body language even when they aren’t interacting with guests, being well groomed always, using appropriate words especially in up-scale organisations where their required to interact with customer who appreciate eloquent language to express themselves, are some of the practises required by organisations (Nickson et al, 2000).
In the hospitality industry the working practises rely heavily on aesthetics of labour in the service encounter and so employees are intensively training in this aspect to project the image of the organisation at all time, such that organisations like Disney, for instant require their employees to maintain an ‘onstage’ attitude whenever they are in public as they are representatives of their organisation even if they are off-duty (Zeithaml ; Bitner, 2003). Aesthetics of the labour is used in the hospitality industry extensively to tangibilise the service product especially in the airline industry where the flight attendants are used in commercials to project the service standards and influence their potential customers (Speiss ; Waring, 2005).
Further more organisations can only provide training and fine tuning of aesthetic skills because the eventual ‘Moment of truth’ is outside the control of the organisation. And finally the image of the organisation projected threw the service encounter between the employee and customer, because hospitality is the only industry where ‘the employee is the product’ and because of the unique feature of services where the service provider and service are inseperable (Kotler et al, 2003).
Emotional impact of Aesthetic labour this is a very important aspect to deal with in regard to labour because the employees are always required to ‘act’ in a particular way and this puts pressure on the employees and their personality as they require to be polite, courteous, empathetic and ‘models’ of the organisations image which draws heavily on an individual’s emotions as they always have to react consistently and calmly to customer’s actions.
Employers need to consider this fact while recruiting and even existing employees require an outlet for their emotions and this can be done through regularly scheduled breaks, duty rotation and cross-training, stress workshops and training (Nickson et al, 2003; Zeithaml ; Bitner, 2003). The other aspect is social exclusion as employer are increasingly becoming selective of the employees on the basis of their aesthetic skill rather then their social and technical skills which filters out many who do not fit into the organisations employee profile and this is increasingly seen as discriminatory by many and is leading to increases in unemployment.
Another aspect of social exclusion is misunderstanding of the demand of the skills by employers in the style labour industries by training institutions which give weightage to technical and social skill over aesthetic skill development of potential employees, and this greatly impacts recruitment trends as technical skill can be acquired on the job in hospitality organisations, whereas social and aesthetical skills need to be developed and refined inorder to be selected and recruited by an organisation.
And finally the last part of social exclusion is self-selection by potential employees who have previously been excluded, to try for certain jobs in the hospitality industry as they develop the impression that they are not suitable enough for the position, this is based on past experiences of being excluded or terminated on the basis of lack of certain aesthetic skills which enhances feelings discrimination (Nickson, 2003).
In conclusion, with the insatiable growth of the service industry, becoming the primary employment provider in the world scenario at the moment. Aesthetic labour is an irrefutable phenomenon to contend with and will increasingly be researched in the future because of its significant influences on recruitment trends in the future. But aesthetic labour has two arguments one that it has a positive influence on recruitment and invariably on all levels of the organisation, as it helps develops the personality of the employee through improving their manners, body language, and eventually leading to career development and advancement of the individual.
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.
List of References
Bitner, M J and Zeithaml, V A 2003, Service Marketing: Integrating customer focus across the firm, 3rd edn, McGrew-Hill, New York.
Bowen, J C, Kotler, P and Makens, J T 2006, Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism, 4th edn, Pearson-Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Bryson, J R and Wellington, C A 2001, ‘At face value? Image consultancy, Emotional labour and Professional work’, Sociology, vol. 35, no.4, pp. 933- 946.
Cullen, A M, Nickson, D, Warhurst, C and Watt, A 2003, ‘Bringing in the Excluded? Aesthetic labour, skills and training in the ‘new’ economy’, Journal of Education and Work, vol. 16, no. 2, June, pp. 185- 203.