Employment policies and practices continue to conform to the management-driven unbridled individualism thesis, based on cost-control, but may also reflect a more affiliated and liberal managerial approach within a customer-service ethos. Employees are not necessarily alienated, and may trade off low pay for other compensations demonstrating enfranchised realism. The employment relationship is both transactional and relational, and may also reflect resigned realism and exploitation. Hospitality employees are different, providing more compelling evidence that trade unions face an even more daunting task in attempting to recruit members and organize workplaces. We need to develop our understanding of why managers and employees do not share commonly held assumptions of good employment relations. We also need to determine how far the employment relationship, rather than the personal values of employees, affects the state of the psychological contract.
• Customers, often interrelating with gender issues, are an important influence on the employment relationship. They are drawn into managerial control strategies in a number of ways including pay and reward systems based on tips and customer appraisal. Customer-service work can be highly rewarding, but unpredictable customers can both thwart managerial objectives, and make working stressful for employees. Labour may be manufactured to appeal to customers by internalizing (male) prejudices with strong gender implications for women. Flexible cost-control employment systems may perpetuate womens and young peoples disadvantage. More studies are needed that embed customers, gender and youth within the analysis of employment relations.
• Continuity is evident from managerial evidence, but employee evidence enables us to reassess the state of employment relations, and largely reject the bleak house and black holes scenarios. The locus of a