Title: Dealing with client misbehaviour in high-end hotels: guest-centred service and front-line workers' tactics

Authors: Fabio Gaspani

Addresses: Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy

Abstract: The article investigates the relationship between guest-centred service in high-end hotels and client misbehaviour toward front-line workers. It explores how the features of the service create both the conditions under which guest misbehaviour can flourish and the ways workers deal with it. Data were collected through a participant observation study in two hotels and interviews with workers from three other organisations. The article illustrates how the service culture, in promoting the philosophy of guest sovereignty, exposes front-line employees to different types of misbehaviour. In this regard, it examines the tactics that workers adopt in coping with guest aggression and incivility, as well as clients' sexual advances. Finally, the article describes how workers deal with the tension arising from emotional control in service encounters. The analysis allows for a better understanding of how employees perceive and manage imbalances with clients in high-end service contexts.

Keywords: high-end hotels; front-line workers; client-centred service; guest misbehaviour; sexual harassment; intangible labour; service work; hotel work.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWOE.2022.10045476

International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2022 Vol.13 No.2, pp.120 - 136

Received: 29 Jun 2021
Accepted: 15 Dec 2021

Published online: 24 Jun 2022 *

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