Biting the hand that feeds: Social identity and resistance in restaurant teams

James Richards, Abigail Marks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to engage with, and develop the literature on teamwork and employee resistance by examining the use of teamwork as a means of work organisation and as a distinctive forum for employee resistance. We emphasise how employees, at times of heightened conflict, first of all re-evaluate their group memberships and group loyalties (including membership of teams and other competing groups and sub-groups), and second, take action in line with the groups most suitable to helping them attain beneficial outcomes. Drawing on an ethnographical mode of inquiry, we explored what turned out to be an incompatible application of teamworking to counter the typically busy and chaotic nature of front-line hotel restaurant employment. The resistance that emerged varied from individual forms of resistance and misbehaviour to overt collective forms involving the joined up efforts of team members and team leaders. Subsequent analysis confirmed the value of using a social identity approach as a means to explain workplace behaviour. However, additional work is required in considering a broader range of research methods and team-related variables in order to verify these insights and develop knowledge on teams and resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Resource Management
Subtitle of host publicationIssues, Challenges and Opportunities
PublisherApple Academic Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781466559929
ISBN (Print)9781926692890
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Ethnography
  • Hotel and catering
  • Labour process
  • Resistance
  • Social identity approach
  • Teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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