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Ethics and service work

Warren, Richard C. (2005) Ethics and service work. Service industries journal, 25 (8). pp. 999-1014. ISSN 0264-2069

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Service work is now a very wide ranging sector, where some forms of service work have different connotations to others, but some forms are still tainted with the degradations of domestic service. Much of the difference revolves around the personal nature of the service and the expectations of customers towards the service worker. Hence the importance of thinking about the ethics of the service relationship in a modern economy, and the need to put this on the right footing in terms of respect and dignity. The ethics of service work are explored in this article. Prior to this however, the nature of service work and the degree of degradation that can be experienced by those who do this kind of work are identified. It will be argued that service work ought to be morally evaluated according to the degree to which it helps to form and maintain the virtues of employees or whether it leads to the erosion of virtue and the active development of vices.

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