Exploring the relationship between uniform and perceived employee happiness and productivity

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to contribute to understanding of employee's relationships with their uniforms and the perceived impact on their experiences at work. An improved understanding of this relationship may provide benefits for both the employee and the organisation. Recognising an ageing workforce and increasing female representation, differences based on gender and age are of interest. Design/methodology/approach: The study aimed to explore employee views and perceptions of uniform design and potential links to their happiness and productivity at work. An online survey was developed and completed by 2,560 uniform wearers. The data were analysed through descriptive and inferential statistics. Exploratory factor analysis uncovered latent variables from among the large number of survey items. A two-way factorial ANOVA compared perceptions based on gender and age. Findings: The results suggest participants feel that their uniform has an impact on their happiness and behaviour at work. Differences in responses to their uniform were found based on gender and age. The survey tool enabled consideration of employee views and exploratory factor analysis identified five constructs of uniform design priorities: positive feelings, experience at work, suitability and practicality, tailored to the individual, visibility and brand. Originality/value: This research is believed to be the first survey exploring the views of UK-based uniform wearers. Key elements of uniform design have been prioritised from the employee perspective to offer an emerging model to understand employee perceptions of uniform design. These findings inform uniform manufacturers and employers in designing and developing uniform to address the needs of employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-334
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Issue number2
Early online date31 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.

This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


This research was sponsored by Murray a uniform and work-wear designer and supplier. Murray informed the design of the survey and supported its distribution to current and future clients. They reviewed a draft of the article prior to submission. The author wishes to thank all those who distributed and completed the survey. Particular thanks go to Alun Owen, from sigma at Coventry University who provided statistical support. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Employee perceptions
  • Happiness at work
  • Productivity
  • Uniform design
  • Uniform wearers
  • Work-wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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