Can Hospitality Workers Engage in Virtuous Practice in a Commercial Context? A Study of Virtue Ethics and Virtues of Commerce

  • Gayathri WijesingheEmail author
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 38)


In this chapter I explore the context of commercial hospitality to discuss whether workers in a commercial context of hospitality are able to practice the virtues that Aristotle and his proponents have described. The questions explored here are: does hospitality become automatically precluded from being a virtue based practice purely on the basis of its commercialisation? Does commercialisation curtail the moral agency of workers to be virtuous?

My discussion is based on the continuing debate in the hospitality literature that alludes virtue has eroded in the practice of hospitality and been replaced with profit maximizing commercialism; the consequence of commercialisation is the degradation of the virtue culture within contemporary hospitality practice through the commoditisation of workers’ labor within it. I introduce the different temporal and spatial contexts hospitality to make a case for the fact that commercialization of the practice of hospitality does not necessarily erode it;

I point out that one of the reasons for perceiving this so called ‘erosion/degradation’ of commercial hospitality is the way in which it has been unjustly compared with private domestic hospitality and then found the former lacking in authenticity and virtue. I draw on how hospitality management has been theorized to include the ‘qualities’ of private domestic-hosts as the being ‘ideal’ and comparable to commercial hosts who engage in hospitality out of the self-interest of making a living.


Virtue Ethic Hospitality Practice Hospitality Industry Virtuous Character Internal Good 
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© Springer Netherlands 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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