Development And Issues In Global Hospitality Operations Business Essay


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Hospitality has a lengthy history which would be almost formulated since Roman time. It was initially a venue to relax combined with water activities. However, the business has been expanded in variety directions including mountain beach resort, gold based resorts, spa… The significant progress of transportation, standard life and personal awareness are no doubt focal determinant to resort's development. Nevertheless, not all resorts would enjoy taste of successful so what obstacles would impede the business go ahead? There are two possible factors would influence substantially to business entities in hospitality industry. Firstly, since the presence of a company is belonged to the context of its location, services offered must be in conformity with external expectation to at least ensure its survival. Beside presenting the desired products or services favorably pursued by customers, its sustainability is ultimately judged by how does the process impact to society especially in term of responsibility to social issues, political, economic and legal. Despite luxury hotels are usually referred premium services, how can these lodges sustain its standard without supporting structure involving both external advocate and internal accomplishment. In regard to the former aspect, the synergy between purely economic orientation and behaviors to benefit stakeholders for instance: employees, social expectation, government, etc. are essential to formulating a responsible reputation then sustainability in long term.

In addition, commonly considerable turnover rate in this industry is the second determinant hinders consistent quality as well as affecting negatively to internal capability. Moreover, more than half of revenue in hotels is generated from room accommodation according to British Hospitality Association. Meanwhile contribution of hotel room attendants are not deservedly appreciated because traditional perception of low class people and being referred to very negative terms such as "dirty", "servile" (Lockyer, T. 2003). In contrast, the globalization's progression urgently inclines hotels into expansion via continuous improvement to satisfy elevated expectation from various sectors of travelers from business, conference to leisure customers.

Base on abovementioned elucidation, it is necessary to conduct a research in the vicinity of housekeeping with the supporting role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aspect in order to simultaneously tackle high turnover rate and optimizing expected accommodation quality in lodging sector. Moreover, the incremental tendency in term of customer expectation and hospitality expansion indicated hotel housekeepers are assigned heavier workload and more sophisticated operation. The increasing dependence on these room attendances towards hotels' success means an approach should be constructed to eliminate prejudices upon this occupation as well as boosting productivity, otherwise stable performance is unlikely sustainable due to moral deterioration and inconsistent workforce.


Goals and objectives

Overarching aims: implementing concepts of corporate social responsibility to improve housekeeping department in hospitality industry


What is the aspect of CSR?

What are overall difficulties do hotel room attendants experience?

Does physical presence of job negatively impacts to hotel room attendants?

How do customers assess the aspect of cleanliness in the hotel?

Literature review

Corporate social responsibility

Social responsibility issue plays a crucial part to corporation since its massive influence to sustainability. Hence, reviewing CSR concept is crucial to structure feasible business plan. Additionally, stakeholders' evaluation is elaborated relying on CSR frameworks in order to occupy oriented social practical scheme.

Corporation is considered as minor role in social system according to Sethi (1975). As a result, its performance, interaction to stakeholders should initially comply with socially accepted norm in order not being isolated. Otherwise, entity's behavior is obviously conceived as oppose to society then it must be either be adaptive or unsustainable for preserving opinion. However, the devoid of CSR further elaboration leads to ambiguous understanding of concept.

Subsequently, Sethi (1975) develops a framework which not only occupy a wider view on society impact but also able to establish a structural proposal for sustainable business. Cultural factor is believed to be an original determinant of society. The effect of this determinant will shape the size, characteristic, perception of every single individual on legitimacy aspect which is depicted as the hierarchical structure of CSR issue. Cultural perception in a particular society would be gradually changed subjecting to time, nature of parties involved and environment according to Sethi (1975). Thus, an action may was supposed as normal in the past does not mean an acknowledgment at present. This implies the significance of culture movement's anticipation on building a prestige socially orientated reputation. A potential tendency of historical review on entity's business activities is normal in every society. It especially turns aggressively once past business codes of organization go against current concept of culture. Protecting environment is a prevalent issue in modern time although level of environmental awareness is varied across nations, continents. Nevertheless, emerging countries have a stronger sense of business focusing via the devoid of protecting environment. This is exactly the situation in Nha Trang. Despite having a beautiful coastal via mild weather, transparent sea water, protecting environment seriously is not matured enough to be a culture. This is still the venue where tourism ships release directly wastes like rubbish, etc. to the sea, canoes enjoy their time comfortably on common swimming zone then it creates a sense of insecure via petrol pollution. As a result, Hon Tam resort is suspected of its highly social orientation in term of anticipation since being involved in such low environmental consciousness.

Moreover, the difference culture opinion may partly inhibit the interest from higher CSR society. Pertaining to practical, tourists from developed countries are presumably rendered a negative impression of inferior environmental awareness since the concept becomes an integral part in their country. As a result, it suggests the potential of losing international customer. Hence, organization must go beyond the manipulation of its own culture by continuously acknowledge better cultural value in other societies since it anyway comes into scrutiny in their area. Additionally, it generates the explanation question of rationale under the same commitment done by different parties. Japanese companies are appreciated because of their orientation to social harmonization, employee condition, wage structured, etc. Since the society always emphasizes on human nature so they expect business entities run business on highly social care basis. Organizations in United State are equally responsible but it is rather influenced through legal system. It implies how important the sophisticated of legal system is. Tracking higher value of social awareness would obviously benefit corporations. Nevertheless, should they actively pursue those better social norms in case of a robust legitimization (resistance to change). It suggests the necessary to construct an overall framework to evaluate corporation social performance, digging merely into legal obligation is probably insufficient since the theme could be temporary obsolete under the new impact of social system. Hence, Sethi (1975) introduces the concept of legitimacy as a benchmark to judge corporation behavior:"Legitimization involves not only the type of corporate activities, but also the process of internal decision making; the perception of external environment, the manipulation of external environment:physical, social, and political-to make it more receptive to corporate activities, and the nature of accountability to other social institutions in the system". Social responsibility is evaluated from very narrow to broad through the description of social obligation, social responsibility and social responsiveness respectively.

In social obligation theme, corporation behavior must adhere to legal obedience so their competing for resource is restricted to marketplaces' regulation. Norms are established through the consensus expectation of majority in a society, thus it is codified into law which implies the acknowledgement of social system to social desire. Directing corporate behavior aligns to legality is the basic commitment to genuinely expressing serious awareness to society. In fact, either enormous influence or small impact to society encourages corporation become oblivious toward external environment such as highly exploit natural resource, ignoring ethical issue, etc. Nevertheless, opposing to social expectation potentially debilitate corporation's existence since its business goes against social system. Although powerful entity could utilize its influence to exploit resource cruelly, whether the dominance is sustainable once small elements mobilize working pattern to be less dependent. Vedan company is a typical example to illustrate possibly terrible consequence of avoiding what is called the basic commitment. The Taiwanese company ran its manufacture in southern Vietnam was heavily criticized by releasing wastes directly to Thi Vai river. It was convicted of ignoring the drainage process then lead to serious damage to ecological system in 2009. Since the river is pertaining to several provinces, the hazard is rendered in large scale. Wastewater from its monosodium glutamate seasoning plant accounts 89% to 98% pollution to river according to official site. Moreover, the fishing families also lost income generated by polluted river. Subsequently, an initial compensation of $6 millions was enacted and this was suggested just the beginning cost it must endure for unethical operation. Competing for resource at any price finally engenders enormous legal compensation because anything going against social expectancy finally being expose. Moreover, its reputation is harbored as terrible business ethics then ultimately wondering on survival possibility.

In addition, showing commitment to legal system only accommodate a narrow range in CSR. The weaknesses of legal system explain why corporation should build a wider aspect in CSR.

Firstly, the formality of legal process inhibits the flexibility in legal system. A new law is usually contemplated prior to implementation meanwhile society is dynamic. Although newly social awareness (formulated through internal and external interaction to a particular society) is approved by majority, it is unable being converted immediately into formal sanctions. Hence, merely adhere to social obligation is insufficient because of ignoring the emerging social issue.

Social responsibility

Lack of dynamic in legal system explains it does not always fully reflect social expectation or even goes against society if this foundation legitimacy is utilized to benefit individuals on top official position. Hence, merely committing to social obligation is insufficient since dynamic of social system suggests any emergence of social norm cannot be codified into legal system immediately. The ignorance of newly social pressure may lead to large scale isolation. Simply satisfying legitimacy at basic level means the current issues of society are not fully accommodated. Institutions still exploiting physical resource, employee, etc. in orthodox manner are likely to demolish their sustainability. The prospect encourages customers looking for substitute institutions who assume higher social orientation. Moreover, advanced information technology and interdependence among institution, location, elements in society denote the necessary of consistently tracking new social desire in order to standardize performance in accordance to majority's expectation. Consequently, continuously adjusting behavior to align with new social norms is requisite element for current sustainability. The perception of this legitimacy is further consolidated by definition of Sethi (1975): "social responsibility implies bringing corporate behavior up to a level where it is congruent with the prevailing social norms, values, and expectations of performance"

Social responsiveness

Corporation is encouraged to actively change their behavior base on new social pressure meanwhile social responsiveness is able to tackle issues in long term. Anticipating changes in dynamic society is core perception at this level

The advanced level requires the judgment of institution to discover how likely its business activities lead to social changes, issues in future. This reflective process allows corporation to evaluate their own performance then forming a new working pattern that probably can tackle potential issue or at least diminish harmful effect generated by current operation.


The hierarchical characteristic in Sethi's model implicates corporation should pursue highest CSR value as social responsiveness whenever possible. However, the exclusive nature among CSR domains is probably not acknowledged in practical. Corporation pursuing green technology is not only for altruistic reason. Instead public image and ethical motive are intensified as an indirect influence to economical benefit then ultimately to consolidate sustainability. Thus, such crucial determinants like legal, ethical should be complied together to appraise how much commitment an entity is. Moreover, aspect of legitimacy is likely encompassed by either legal or ethical domain, so its contribution is simply as a reference source for organization's discrete response rather than a general guidance for a feasible CSR performance. Hence, a new CSR model developed by Schwart and Carroll (2003) aims to emphasize predominance of connection among economic, legal, ethical. Two scholars insist: "this central segment (economic/legal/ethical) is where firms should seek to operate whenever possible".

b) Overall difficulties to hotel room attendants

Abstract duty of housekeeper has been defined by Powell & Watson (2006): "room attendant work is a set of cleaning, tidying and re-stocking tasks". Nevertheless, the empirical operation is not as simply as above superficial description. Indeed, some premium brands or local reputable lodges position their own image from the rest by insisting on service differentiation. Housekeepers therefore become more exposed to customer interaction as well as should be accomplished in quality assurance practice, basic IT knowledge for conveniently updating information and other coordinated activities in accommodation unit aims to establish an overall joyful service to guests. Considerable workload via high responsibility postulated that housekeeping influence is as vital as other departments to delivering an overall satisfied service. Furthermore, it is even a predominant force to establish customer loyalty since cleanliness is major factor to drive return perception (Lockyer, 2003).

In contrast, there are external and internal indicators that influence negatively to this occupation. The job is referred to dirty word regardless it ultimate purpose is to carry out cleanliness to whole lodge. Huge (1971) stated that "the dirty work which symbolizes lack of dignity and status and the potential degradation of the worker". Social dishonor of cleaning duty means it is apparently difficult to justify the decision other than economic issue behind participation of this occupation. This perception is consolidated by case study undertaken by Powell & Watson (2006). Almost 20% of respondents in this research do not have educational qualification implied rare employment choice for those labors meanwhile economic duty to their families persisted. As a result, employees are encourage to participate into perceive unskilled jobs within preferably physical presence. Powell & Watson (2006) insisted: "she must be able to perform the work in the context of her limited formal education … manual work".

Negative opinion of housekeeper is probably originated by invisible operation. Aspect of satisfaction normally comprises of service quality and personally comfortable atmosphere. Therefore room attendants are envisaged to perform when occupants absence to ensure they would always relish the tidiness within least disruption. Moreover employees in other departments such as reception, concierge, etc unlikely have empathy toward housekeepers' effort without reminding the party that delivers them the convenient context to deploy their ability in direct interaction with guests, the visible activities which are traditionally assumed as elegant professional. Consequently, devoid of adequate comprehension generated by conventional perceptions has prohibited employee to maintain their dedication and potentially raising turnover issue.

Another indicator that inclines employees especially youngster into their consideration of this post as no more than a temporary one is career advancement. Housekeeping department is usually classified into three levels which are head of housekeeping, supervisor and room attendants. The upper positions are only available to several candidates whereas non employee is not interested in promotion. Furthermore, the highly irrelevance of this department to others further strengthen dreary outlook of job prospectus. In addition, the case study undertaken by Powell & Watson (2006) had consolidated these concerns via addressing more urgent issues.

In general, hotel room attendants not only endure disrespect from peers in other departments regardless their overwhelming contribution in most profitable unit but also being prone to social prejudice. Perhaps these undeserved scenarios are ascribed to combination of low profile labors and anonymous occupational nature.

Their research of housekeeping was carried out in 2002 incorporating 64 room attendants within 12 hotels in South Wales, United Kingdom. Since all of these lodges were either ranked 3 or 4 stars, the common professional determinant is achievable to assure a comprehensive reflection upon assessment. Alongside several hurdles have been mentioned previously that employees must overcome daily, job security and motivational factors are ascertained in this study.

The first element recommended in motivation was financial assistance. Bonus which was rewarded by guest was inconsistent and modest. This phenomenal was mostly engendered by traveler's custom who "Americans, tend to top often and generously whilst British customers tend to tip seldom and frugally" (Powell, 2006). Indeed, more than half respondents in this research never received any commission meanwhile the rest are only rarely awarded tiny value. Beside the bonus culture, invisible operation is another indicator lead to guest's overlook on performance of room attendants.

Despite wage was set above national minimum, the modest variance implicated financial support maneuvers would not carry considerable effect to employees because of the modest variance. The maximum extra wages in this study is only up to 10% and only being proceeded by 25% of hotels under this investigation.

Beside the unseen nature of this occupation, performance of room attendants is also less interdependent to other department due to conducting completely different function. This highly differentiated operation renders employees a more autonomous duty than other sectors in lodge. The opinion is supported by Powell (2006): "the room attendant works not only invisibly but also independently and autonomously". Relying on this specific feature via psychological effect, many corporations expect to alter the typical autonomy into a useful motivational tool. Despite being extolled by the authors of this research, whether its utility is exaggerated when inherent constraints are obtrusively persistent regarding financial issue and traditionally social stigma.

Firstly, room attendants are usually assigned to work separately unless the teamwork activities. Reason behind this arrangement is the concern of losing concentration when performing workgroup. Desired productivity would not be procured because conversations among colleague probably interrupt the essential continuity then ultimately leading to missing target. In contrast, sense of ownership is nurtured by carrying assignment independently. According to Powell (2006), higher responsibility via offering recognition by manager would intensify subordinates' satisfaction by linking it to personal pride: "It was evident that some attendants felt possessive of their territories… a matter of personal pride".

Incentive approach is further amplified by aggressively rising autonomous level to employees. Empowerment not only renders more freedom to employees but also indicating a prospect of potentially better income deriving from frequent customer interaction. Beside that, authorizing supervision duty to room attendants themselves mean a considerable amount spent on hiring professional supervisor would be saved therefore further enhancing the utility of this arrangement. However, enthusiastic psychological consequence on employees' spirit is likely a subjective assertion because of low satisfaction level scored in the study. Moreover, higher responsibility supplement pressure on room attendants but financial assistance does not adequately reflect their effort. In the research, employees are only supported by an additional 70 pence per hour more than non empowered group therefore empowerment is actually indifferent to exploitation under the elegant title of career advancement.

Furthermore, it is inevitable to incur physical debility in case of performing housekeeping function for a sustainable period. Level of commitment would also be concerned when labor's illness is work related as well as devoid of extreme economic boosting. This opinion is further consolidated within evidences of physical impact that will be presented in the explanation of third question (objectives).

Additionally, sex abuse and operational accident are two typical hazards in safety issues. Function of housekeeping is highly individual thus room attendants would be seriously exposed to personal risk in case of customer's transgression. Possibility of operational accident is more frequent than the former issue because without proper instruction or concentration, room attendants would suffer physical pain on a regular basis such as broken cup, electrical shocks, etc.

Impact of physical presence to hotel room attendants

There are precise evidences point out the correlation between housekeeping's operation and the consequential effect to health. According to official statistic, hotel employees, especially room attendants bear fairly larger rate of occupational injuries than other in service sector: " In 2002, hotel workers had 6.7 occupational injury and illness per 100 full-time workers, compared to 4.6 in the service sector as a whole… resulting in lost work days". (Krause, N. et al, 2005). The research conducted by Nikklas Krause and his colleague has further provided an insight regarding physical debility by initiating survey on prevalence of pain among room attendants as well as formulating new measurement dimensions aims to deliver more accuracy outcome. The possible relation between body injury and performance is verified by associating task elements into pain's assessment. Inherent feature of occupation via contemporary tendency has been sufficiently displayed through weaving components of work intensification, ergonomic problems and physical workload into measurement.

The data was gathered within the participation of 941 respondents among hotels in Las Vegas in 2005. Firstly, considerable level in prevalence pain within last four weeks remarkably indicates a strong connection between this occupation and employees' physical condition. More than 50% of respondent endure either severely or extremely serious pain in upper and lower back has precisely demonstrated negative impact rendered to room attendants. The correlation is further evidenced by modest numbers claim on "mild" criteria. The negatively substantial influence to musculoskeletal is probably resulted by extremely forceful movements. Figures ascertained in survey of ergonomic and work intensification has supported the opinion. "linencart too heavy", "heavy bedspread…", "vacuum cleaner too heavy" are listed on top of the ergonomic agenda with more than 60% respondents' claim. Additionally, incremental frequency in some activities in recent years such as cleaning marble sinks, Jacuzzi, mirror doors, bathroom, etc. mean employees have to stretch their spine and neck more durable. In accordance to the research, housekeepers who carry substantial workload and experiencing ergonomic problems on a regular basis are reportedly exposed to bodily pain and musculoskeletal at least 3.5 times larger than others.

Customer perception of cleanliness

Lockyer initiated a research in 2003 in regard to assess customer expectation upon every possible aspect in a lodge. There were totally 412 surveys had been approved among biggest cities in New Zealand including Hamilton, Auckland, Wellington. The higher expectation than actual performance was the overall propensity. It would also be an indicator lead to work intensification recommended on previous section. Beside that, Bathroom/ toilet and kitchen were deemed as most important categories. Room attendants might suffer some dangerous diseases such as respiratory disorder or even cancer if the matter of hygiene is excessively over emphasized since enormous time spent on dealing with cleaning chemical substance. Determinants which were most insisted by guests involved odour, floor/walls, sink, toilet, etc and these components were all rated over 6 (the highest was set at 7, appendix will be exhibited at the end of this report.


The hierarchical complex in Sethi's model does not practically judge corporation social practices since the overlapping nature among elements of economic, legal, ethical is prevalent in organizational activities. In contrast, beneficial consequence to society is ascended gradually by utilizing criteria in Sethi's model respectively. Therefore a logical scheme to eradicate negative impacts on hotel room attendant would be occupied by applying the structural feature which comprises of social obligation, social responsibility and social responsiveness. Social obligation is perhaps attained by most lodged because this perception is only referred to merely legal aspect to address basic social expectation such as minimum wage, basic safety instruction, etc. As a result, organizations must at least accommodate idea of social responsibility in order to create better working environment to housekeepers.

Hotel room attendants are generally influenced by physical determinants and psychological factors. Activities to optimize the former indicator is almost belonged to social responsibility since social issues have been already arisen and desire employers express further concern on their difficulties which go beyond social obligation. The economic issue should be addressed first since modest income revealed above. Since more than half revenue generated from accommodation, paying appropriately additional wages to housekeepers is absolutely affordable. Once the economic incentive is built, empowerment approach can genuinely exert its psychological impact to complete level.

Abusive exposure and operational accident are two overwhelming concerns in personal safety. The later situation would be curtailed significantly by proving careful instruction of all assignments. Opening instant training classes is presumably a good option since the guidance will go beyond abstract orthodox guidance. Guests' improper behavior would be mitigated if room attendants' duty is publicly exposed. Equipping alarmed utilities (beepers), locate the room's entrance in a comfortably opened position, etc are possible activities to prevent potential hazards.

Devices' heaviness is a dominant factor in ergonomic problems that room attendants invariantly incur then ultimately unleashing occupation injury or pains. So reinvestment on facilities to enhance its flexibility no doubt reduces employees' pains caused by work related. In addition, purchasing reliable chemical substance is essential to protect workers away from dangerous diseases.

Psychological inhibit would be captured by advocating the contribution of housekeeping department as well as asserting this is a skillfully professional occupation. Social stigma regarding this occupation means the effort to improve public appearance for housekeepers are deservedly placed in social responsiveness. In fact, Myer and Davids (1992, p47) insisted the performance of perceptual motor skills is derived from cumulative tacit competence. In addition, level of job satisfaction is amplified by genuinely hypothesizing a promotion prospect through training function in other departments.


Role of CSR is vital to the organizational sustainability because it encourage entities operate in accordance to expectancy in related context for stable development. Fully applying this aspect to housekeeping department is not only able to tackle inherent difficulty pressuring on employees but also improving service quality, lower turnover rate and better utilization of human resource.


Krause, N., Scherzer, T., & Rugulies, R. (2005), "Physical Workload, Work Intensification, and Prevalence of Pain in Low Wage Workers: Results From a Participatory Research Project With Hotel Room Cleaners in Las Vegas", American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol 48, pp.326-337.

Lockyer, T. (2003), "Hotel cleanliness- how do guests view it? Let us get specific. A New Zealand study", Hospitality Management, Vol 22, pp. 297-305.

Myers, G., Davids, K. (1992). "Knowing and doing: Tacit skills at work". Personnel Management.

Powell, H.P & Watson, D. (2006), "Service unseen: The hotel room attendant at work", Hospitality Management, Vol 25, pp. 297-312.

Schwarz, M.S. & Carroll, A.B. (2003), "2Corporate social responsibility: a three-domain approach", Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 503-30.

Sethi, S. (1975), "Dimensions of corporate social responsibility", California Management Review, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 58-64.

V.N (2010). Vedan chief admits major responsibility for Thi Vai River pollution. Available: Last accessed 17th Jan 2013

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