Co-Construction of hospitality culture
: behaviour, encounters and social construction in English hotels

  • Kirsti Laerdal

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research explores the dynamic process of co-construction of hospitality culture in two hotels in the southern part of England. For the purposes of this research, the coconstruction of hospitality culture is understood as hotel practices brought to everyday life in public space as a result of the interactions between diverse members in the hotel society. The relationship between behaviour and hospitality culture is a research area currently underexplored.

    Informed by anthropology’s focus on culture, this thesis addresses the need for a much deeper understanding of hospitality culture in hotels; specifically the cultural influences that come into being within what are essentially ephemeral encounters between people. Drawing on social constructionism as the philosophical position the qualitative methods employed for the fieldwork are participant observation together with open-ended and semi-structured conversational interviews. The fieldwork undertaken at the Hilton Hotel in Brighton and the Hydro Hotel in Eastbourne explores the socio-cultural environment of these hotels to gain a better understanding of how hospitality culture is co-constructed and performed through the interactions between people that work in or stay at these hotels.

    The contribution of this research to the hospitality theory is demonstrated through the case studies, which reveal two distinct forms of hospitality culture, one characterised as second home/extended family, and the second as corporate leisure. These cultures are coconstructed and performed through the social interactions of employees and guests and the many activities that combine to create the ‘everyday life’ of both hotels. These coconstructed performances foster and make visible the hospitality culture in these settings.
    Date of AwardJul 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorCatherine Palmer (Supervisor) & Jo-Anne Lester (Supervisor)

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