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
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)

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