Deviant behaviour in the hospitality industry: A problem of space and time | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-7913
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7921



The high levels of deviant behaviour within the hospitality sector have been an ongoing concern for many managers and academics, with a clear recognition of the reputational, human and organizational costs of such behaviour. The traditional approach adopted by organizations and Human Resource Managers to counter deviant behaviour in the hospitality industry has focused around unsuccessful education programmes, while other authors offer alternate assessments of the industry’s response to deviant behaviour. This conceptual article proposes that both the management and the study of deviant behaviour within the hospitality industry need to be contextualized within a temporal and spatial analysis of an employee’s workaday lived experience. Through adopting Durkheim’s discussions around time and space it is possible to identify four distinct temporal and spatial categories (the sacred, the mundane, the liminal and the profane); each of these categories can be seen to influence the behaviour of employees in different ways, even though they are part of the same time-space continuum. Thus, this article argues, from a theoretical framework, that to understand and manage deviant behaviour within the hospitality industry, it is important to recognize that each category of time and space needs to be understood both in isolation and as part of a time-space continuum that surrounds the hospitality experience.


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