Workplace Control and Resistance from Below: An Ethnographic Study in a Cypriot Luxury Hotel
thesisposted on 13.10.2011, 11:47 authored by Leonidas Efthymiou
Luxury hotels are service workplaces with high aesthetic, emotional and affective expectations. However, from a critical perspective, hotel workplaces and their labour processes, including issues of control and resistance from below, remain relatively unexplored. Little research has directly examined the subjectivities, perceptions, critical thoughts, plots, interactions and responses of workers in both the hotel’s ‘frontstage’ and ‘backstage’. Therefore, consistent with the concerns of Labour Process Theory (LPT) and theories of aesthetic, emotional and affective labour, this thesis examines workplace control and resistance through an ethnographic study of a luxury hotel in Cyprus. A number of influences, such as employee relations, immigrant mobility and labour markets, seasonality and management attitude, are also discussed in relation to worker resistance or consent. Also, in seeking to contribute to a more detailed examination of resistance, this thesis provides an extensive A to Z catalogue of oppositional forms and practices. My observations produced rich findings that revealed how a number of managerial strategies and mechanisms are in place to monitor, process and discipline worker performance. My evidence advocates that workers challenge the labour process through various forms of opposition, sometimes hidden and sometimes confrontational. Even though some resistance was fragmented by elements of consent, at other times it was challenging, effective and continuous. It also suggests that resistance in an organization can be mapped as a continuum and each practice should not be examined singularly or unconnectedly, but in relation to the previous practices that generated this practices, as well as those that followed. In this direction, even hidden and passive forms of resistance are important because they can produce an escalating effect that may lead to more confrontational resistance.