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Title: An exporation of the cabin crew lifestyle and role : A study into the willingness of flight attendants to deliver emotional labour
Author: Allan , Michael J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 671X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2010
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Previous research (Allan, 2005) indicated that full time longhaul flight attendants for a major international airline, who voluntarily moved to part time contracts, have a higher absenteeism levels than their full time colleagues. The purpose of this study was to explore the flight attendant role and lifestyle and investigate whether different lifestyle choices affected the willingness of flight attendants to engage in emotional labour. The cohort was recruited from within the longhaul fleet of a major British legacy carrier airline and all the participants were volunteers. The cohort consisted of full time and part time, male and female flight attendants with different lengths of service, seniority and grades within the specified airline. The unique employment conditions of the cohort enabled a minimisation of confounding variables identified in previous part time employee research. The study utilised a mixed methodology of thematic analysis (N=6) and Q methodology (N=23) to investigate the differing lifestyle and role priorities of a group of longhaul flight attendants. The epistemological debate regarding mixed methods was investigated as part of the research, with thematic analysis used to gain an in depth understanding of full time and part time employee perspectives. Sixty nine (69) statements, generated from the thematic analysis were utilised for the Q method section of the study and PCQ computer software (Stricklin, 1996) used to undertake analysis. Four factors were identified. Results indicate that the full time flight attendants within the cohort have stronger job satisfaction and involvement with the organisation dependant on their seniority, length of service and level of autonomy, in line with the literature. Indications are that the most satisfied full time employees also invested the most effort in remaining connected to the organisation during their days off. All of the established part time employees identified onto one factor indicating significantly different priorities, with differing attitudes towards the provision of emotional labour and the content prioritisation of their psychological contract in comparison to their full time colleagues. The analysis indicates that the length of time disconnected or detached from the organisation may well contribute to the higher levels of absenteeism with the anticipated or perceived effort involved in providing emotional labour being a distinguishing factor. This research gives an in depth understanding of the possible causes of absenteeism for part time employees who deliver emotional labour, raising the question of the necessity for a differing management style, contracting and level of engagement to meet differing expectations. This research raises that question that contrary to the literature part time employees may have a different priority order within their psychological contract and employers may need a different approach when trying to engage and motivate these employees.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Occ.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available