Competitive strategy and skill in the fitness industry, Human Resource Management Journal
This article formed part of a Special Issue on Skills in Service Work. It seeks to contribute to unpicking the relationship between business strategy and skills in the service sector by presenting research findings from the UK fitness industry. This sector has grown quickly and includes companies that compete on the basis of high-quality services, alongside those competing largely on cost. If the route to a high-skills economy is to shift more firms towards the higher-quality end of the market, we would expect to find employers in these companies making use of a workforce with higher levels of skill. The research from the fitness industry questions this simple relationship, finding that there is no clear link between competitive strategy and skills. As market position is not necessarily the impetus for improving the skills of the workforce, the article also explores what other factors may also be required.