The Impacts of Aesthetic Labour on Frontline Employees in Gweru Urban Lodging Facilities


he tourism and hospitality industry heavily relies on aesthetic labouras a source of competitive advantage, so this study sought to unveil the impacts of aesthetic labour on frontline employees. The research was a qualitative study which utilized a descriptive research design to reveal the impacts of aesthetic labour on frontline hospitality employees. In-depth face to face interviews were conducted with the 8 managers and 48 frontlines employees in the 4 selected lodges in Gweru urban. The research found out that all the employees in the studied lodges had challenges in meeting the aesthetic labour demands and this resulted in stress, surface acting and labour turnover. Very few frontline employees in the studied lodges were satisfied with their jobs. The research recommended that hospitality organisations must strongly support aesthetic labour performers so as to enjoy commercial benefits from committed and healthy employees.Keywords:Aesthetic labour; Impacts; Frontline employees; Lodges; GweruCopyright:© 2021Chikuta O, et al.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the originalauthor and source are credited.IntroductionAccording to [1] the requirement to offer a competitive advantage has been recognized throughout various business sectors for decades. It is now generally accepted that in an increasingly competitive global economic environment, the competitive advantage of an organization no longer lies in its products or technology but in its employees [2,3]. In customer facing organisations such as the hospitality sector, employers now emphasise the personal characteristics of employees to such an extent that they seek to employ people who are "passionate, stylish, confident, tasty, clever, successful and well-travelled" [4,5]. Noted that in the hospitality environment where competition dominates, employers expect service employees to display cheerful and friendly emotions when interacting with customers and in turn customers measure their service experience primarily based on employee attitude, posture, friendliness and service promptness, the practice widely known as aesthetic labour. According to [6] aesthetic labour represents particular types of workers who are considered as looking well and sounding right. The term denotes the commoditization of employees’ faces, voices and appearance for the delivery of aesthetic performances at work. In short, aesthetic labour is all about ‘lookism [7]. The study of aesthetic labour in the workplace has grown significantly since the early 1980s [6,8] are of the view that aesthetic labour brings commercial gain to businesses, enables organizations to gain competitive advantage and promotes cultural management [9] also discovered that hotel guests think that the most effective employees are men and women who smile and are attractive, clean-shaven and looking smart [10] also posit that employers and managerial employees tend to utilize the personal appearance of employees and job applicants in their decision-making processes, policies and practices. Several past researchers also highlighted that aesthetic labour may lead to social exclusion and discrimination in the workplace [11-13]. Although much has been written on aesthetic labour, it can be noted that most research focused on aesthetic labour benefits, its disadvantages and the employer attempts to recruit or mould the right attitudes among workers neglecting the influence of this labour on performers [14] argued that though workplace attire plays an important role in influencing customer expectations, one element often forgotten is how workplace attire heavily influences employees as well. To add on, [15] found out that aesthetic labour can be a burden for employees as they strive to meet various aesthetic requirements and improve their personal aesthetic skills. This means that aesthetic labour performance puts some demands on performers and these demands might affect performers either positively or negatively. Currently, there is paucity of information on how aesthetic labour impacts the performers; therefore this research attempts to extend the literature on this subject by critically examining the impacts of aesthetic labour on frontline employees in Gweru urban lodges. In doing so, this study also shifts attention from the developed world to investigate the aesthetic labour concept in the developing world context.
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TN, M (2024). The Impacts of Aesthetic Labour on Frontline Employees in Gweru Urban Lodging Facilities. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

TN, Makwara "The Impacts of Aesthetic Labour on Frontline Employees in Gweru Urban Lodging Facilities" Afribary. Afribary, 30 Mar. 2024, Accessed 24 May. 2024.


TN, Makwara . "The Impacts of Aesthetic Labour on Frontline Employees in Gweru Urban Lodging Facilities". Afribary, Afribary, 30 Mar. 2024. Web. 24 May. 2024. < >.


TN, Makwara . "The Impacts of Aesthetic Labour on Frontline Employees in Gweru Urban Lodging Facilities" Afribary (2024). Accessed May 24, 2024.