Research Project: Dignity and decency at work - the invisible and unrecognised workers in hotel housekeeping

Project leader
Maria Thulemark
Project Members
Tara Duncan
Susanna Heldt Cassel
Project Period
Project Status
This study focuses on hotel housekeeping staff who, to a large extent, are women and (new) migrants with
limited possibilities of influence over their own work and overall work-life situation. The study will develop new
knowledge on possibilities for wellbeing, secure and safe working environments for housekeeping staff at hotels
in Sweden through qualitative research. We approach our research from a gender perspective that considers a
wider intersectional perspective of power relations and intersections of hierarchies in workplaces as well as wider
The aim of this study is to analyse and understand the work-life situation and the experienced work environment
including power relations and gendered practices of housekeeping staff at hotels. We focus on dignity and decent
work through a theoretical lens of embodied labour and embodied intersectionality, concepts that are also used
as a principle guiding our methodological design for empirical data collection through two phases of qualitative
Phase one will consist of semi-structured interviews with housekeeping- and hotel managers as well as
housekeeping contractors focusing on leadership, work development, legislation, dignity and digitalisation of work
processes. Phase two will involve participant observation where the researchers will actively engage in working
with participants. This method allows researchers to gain trust through observing actions and body language and
ensuring greater insight into working practices through embodied experiences.
Finding solutions on how to overcome work environment issues in hotel housekeeping has wider implications for
other occupations and societal interactions. Therefore, the project will include an industry-led reference group
and international research collaborations to ensure ethical practice and relevant, beneficial findings.t
Research Profile
Tourism Studies
Human Geography