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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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

Nickson, D.P. and Warhurst, C. and Dutton, Eli (2005) The importance of attitude and appearance in the service encounter in retail and hospitality. Managing Service Quality, 15 (2). pp. 195-208. ISSN 0960-4529

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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.