Overview Of The Hotel Industry Commerce Essay


The evolution that the hotel industry has experienced has been a dominant trait for that industry. For the past decades, what was just a form of accommodation has undergone a new facet of transition that left the field of research with unfit puzzle, due to controversies that exist throughout commentaries. As society becomes more sophisticated and affluent, the demand for services surpasses that of commodities among people who travel. The hotel industry representing the reverent side of the coin catering for demand, has indeed found it crystal clear that the exploitation of such industry through the offering of a spectrum of services like Food and Beverages, Facilitating, Augmented and so on could be another source of revenue generator. Unknowingly, these provisions have been path to competitions among service firms, resulting to the needs of designing and delivering of services in a more effective and efficient way (Albrecht, 1985). Yeo (2008) in his approach revealed that the delivery of outstanding services to customers has been a led factor of rapid and cut-throat competition among many service industries. One of the most sensitive and delicate services being offered by the hotel industry is the Food and Beverages, which is key component that dominates and revolutionises the hotel as a service industry. The fact that the hotel is said to be a service industry, there are several limitations found within the unique characteristics that it possesses and hence, representing the weaknesses of such industry.

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Service and its dominant characteristics:

The term service has been the element of much debate throughout the literature. Gurus in the field of service have been overruling the definition of such term, until 1964, where it was laid and said to be defined as an exclusion from products (Judd, 1964). Following his approach, several diversities of meaning were cropped up. The point of view of Payne (1992) and Brink and Berndt (2004) were to define service as an activity enclosing some elements of intangibility, involving interaction with customers or with property in their possession, excluding the transfer of ownership. Their definition to some extent reflects the interpretation of Lehtinen (1986), who defined service as the involvement of two human beings interacting with each other or interaction between one person and the physical equipment. The fact that service was found to be dominated through its intangible dimension, Lovelock (1991) proposed that service is a "process or performance rather than a thing".

When reference is being made to the term service, it can be opined that it has been a field that has obtained much attentions during the 19th century due to ambiguity in terms of definition (Johns, 1999). The delineation that researchers have brought during the 20th century has been a key towards a concrete definition of the term service. Kotler (2003) refined the definition of service in his perspective through the emergence of the key attributes that is, interaction, people, environment and intangibility. Thus, defined service as any behaviour or act that cropped up in an intangible environment among two parties, the provider and the receiver. To be in line with Kotler's definition of service, Beer (2003) proposed that service is a set of characteristics in which the overall properties are to ensure the satisfaction of guests and hence, meeting their needs. Through the spectrum of definitions that were developed by researchers, it was noted that service unlike products encompasses several homogenous characteristics (Bruhn and Georgi, 2006). These inherent characteristics are Intangibility, Inseparability, Perishability and Variability (Kurtz and Clow, 2002).


The aspect of intangibility has been a homogenous trait that dominates the service industry, and has been subject of reference to differentiate products from services (Kotler and Keller, 2008; Srinivasan, 2007). Services are said to be intangible as they are limited to tangible aspect like felt, touched, displayed, inventoried and communicated (Bruhn and Georgi, 2006). The fact that it provides no background for tangible evidences, the argument of Lim, Bennett and Dagger (2008) revealed that, it is difficult for customers to evaluate the technical quality of the service and hence, they tend to evaluate the tangible and physical aspects as substitute indicators (Armstrong and Kotler, 2006) to reduce uncertainty of intangibility (Dhurup, Singh and Surujlal, 2006). Despite the fact that intangibility represents a challenge for many organisations, it has been supported through the literature of Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons (2006) that service providers always try to make their intangible as tangible as possible through the effective use of its people, place, equipments and communications.

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Inseparability can be viewed as one of the most intriguing characteristics of service experience. The element of inseparability is a conglomerate dimension of services, as production and consumption of services occur simultaneously (Kotler and Keller, 2006), leading to the interconnection and interaction among service provider being people or machines and customers (Armstrong and Kotler, 2006). This kind of personnel contact is referred to as "interactive consumption" and "interactive process" and can ultimately be defined as the critical incident, as mistakes or quality shortfalls of the service cannot be camouflaged from customers (Perez, Abad, Carillo and Fernandez, 2007).


Services are said to be perishable due to the fact that they cannot be produced at the same time and sold at a later stage (Senthil, Dharmalingam and Panchantham, n.d) and inventoried due to fluctuation of demand (Srikantan, 2012). In other study conducted by Bruhn and Georgi (2006), it was cited that the degree of perishability is affected by the degree of intangibility, due to lack of physical evidence of services, customers shift to competitors.


Literally known as heterogeneity, services are said to be unique experience due to the fact that the base of their performance and achievement are human beings (Bruhn and Georgi, 2006; Kotler and Keller, 2006). Supported through the literature of Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons (2006), customers are integral part of the service process, as they actively participate in the process of producing the service. The existence of human interactions in services has proved to increment the level of variability, which then impacts on the service delivery process (Lim et al., 2008).

When taking into a critical perspective the characteristics of services, it can be opined without any penumbra of uncertainty that they represent unique challenges for the service industry (Bruhn and Georgi, 2006). Thus, to be able to attract new customers and retain existing one, service organisations need to find ways to meet these challenges through effective use of its human capital. One such way of ensuring that an organisation's human capital is productive and committed is through continuous monitoring of their performance and finding ways to motivate them. Hence, gives rise to the importance of the Human Resource Management in the Hospitality industry.

Human Resource Management:

The management and development of human capital in any service sector especially the hospitality industry, which is dominated by its fragile and consistent characteristics, have literally proved to be a delicate and critical function that ultimately projects if an organisation is competitive or not (Baum, 2012). The fact that the human resource element is viewed as one of the most influential factors of any service sector, due to high level of human interactions in the conceptualisation and delivery of service (Baum,2006). It has indeed become an important factor for organisations to recognise the importance of their personnel as a competitive advantage (Vanhala and ahteela, 2011), thus, the way employees are treated and consideration of their motivation are indeed critical factors in achieving productivity (Nankervis, Compton and Baird, 2008) which primarily rest as priority for the Human Resource Management (HRM) department, to ensure the welfare of employees (Carey, 1999).

Nankervis et al.,(2008) argued that consideration must be given to the origins and development of HRM, to be able to interpret its roles, functions and responsibilities, which in Davidson, Mc Phail and Barry (2011) perspectives' is a dichotomous approach embedding the Soft and Hard approach. Even though much study has been conducted on the HRM concept, the roles, functions and responsibilities have been consistent throughout the literature, as it assists in the recruitment, selection, training, career development, compensation scheme, performance appraisal (Tsaur and Lin, 2002; Reid, Morrow, Kelly and Cartan, 2002) and provides opportunity to employees to contribute effectively to the output of an organisation (Toh, Morgeson and Campion, 2008). Paradoxically saying, recruitment and training have been viewed as the two most crucial dimensions of the HRM's roles, due to the pitfalls that impact on organisations performance (Storey, 2007; Scroggins and Benson, 2010). Martin, Mactaggart and Bowden (2006) stated that proper recruitment ensures the retention of good and qualified staff while training maintains service level due to high turnover rates (Davidson, Timo and Wang, 2010), widen knowledge and promotes effective and efficient teamwork, creating the perception amongst employees that organisation is investing in them (Jun, Cai and Shin, 2006) and hence, should be viewed as a multi-facets that provide employees the ability to apply their knowledge through facts and techniques (Frash, Kline, Almanza and Antun, 2008). Critically saying, HRM does play an integral role in the minimisation of leaving intention, negative words of mouth among employees (Burke,2003; Bond, 2004) and in the assistance of factors that motivate employees which encompasses a spectrum of theories (Turkyilmaz, Akman, ozkan and Pastuszak, 2011).

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Motivation Theory:

When taking into a critical angle the behaviour of people at work, it can be opined without any penumbra of uncertainty that a cognitive trait exists amongst people towards what can actually be a source of motivation. This dull dimension of motivational factors has been subject of plethora of commentaries throughout the literature, as employee's motivational factors impacts directly on job satisfaction (Abdulla, Djebarni and Mellahi, 2011). The term motivation can be viewed as a multi-facets spectrum, which has obtained several definitions throughout the field of research.

Fundamentally, Westwood (1992), viewed motivation as an inner state that incites a particular desire or pressure to act. Mullins (1992) proposed a significant definition where it was stated that motivation can be viewed as "an inner drive that directs people towards the satisfaction of certain needs and expectations". To further embedded Mullins' and Westwood's (1992) argument, Cullen (2001), Furnham and Eracleous (2009) have supported their definition through the revelation that motivation has been a key element in explaining the behaviour of employee at work and at the same time an aspect that makes people select organisation that shape them respectively.

Last but surely not the least definition of motivation, as per Robbins, Judge, Millett and Marsh (2008), motivation can be defined as "the process that account for individual intensity, direction and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal". In Daft's (2000) perspective, motivation is either internal or external forces that arouse enthusiasm and persistence in a person to achieve a certain course of actions. This definition best fits that laid by Latham and Pinder (2005), who established that work motivation can be viewed as a set of energetic forces originated within as well as beyond an individual's being, to initiate work related behaviour, to determine its form, direction and intensity.

However, when taking into consideration work environment, it can be claimed that, it has an impact on the satisfaction and dissatisfaction level of employees (Spector, 2008). This fact has also been criticised in the literature of Chitiris (1990), who established that the prime determinant of behaviour is indeed based on motivation and no consistent outcomes will be obtained despite massive job training is offered if employees are demotivated or under-motivated at work. Gurus in the field of motivation ahs claimed that motivation of employees could be understood only if their attitude is understood (Herzberg, Maunser and Snyderman, 1959). Thus, motivation can be viewed as a two-sided aspect of the same coin that possesses both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can motivate employees (Yang, 2011) and at the same time has been root of several approaches enrolling a range of theories.

Need-based approach:

Maslow hierarchy of needs:

Under the need approach, it demonstrates the mechanism that stimulates people to act in such a way to meet their needs. It has been presented in the literacy through theory of needs of Maslow, Mc Clelland's theory, Herzberg and Douglas theory. When reference is being made to Maslow theory of needs, it can be argued that it is a five inter-connective ascending order hierarchy of needs namely: Physiological, Safety, Belongingness, Esteem needs and self actualisation. To further expand Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Mc Clelland theory is used as a based to explain the relevance of Maslow's theory.

Mc Clelland theory:

Within Mc Clelland's theory, where need for affiliation, need for power and need for achievement are observed, it can be said that need for affiliation gives rise to the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationship that motivates individual and help maintain a friendly atmosphere (Litwin and Stringer, 1968). While need for power refers to individual ability to influence and control others through the generation of ideas and suggestions and need for achievement reflects the potential of employees to challenge goal and task by taking responsibility and projecting successful outcomes.

Douglas theory:

The theory of Douglas and Herzberg has been encompassing the element of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, motivated and under-motivated employee through theory X and Y respectively. The proposition of Douglas revealed that the theory of motivation lies on two different angles, on one angle, lies the X theory where employees are said to hate their work, lack ambition, prefer to be directed and ignore responsibility, while on the other angle rests the Y theory stating that employees like their job, seek and accept responsibility and at the same time employees possess creativity and commitment exists among themselves.

Herzberg theory:

Herzberg (2003) Motivation Hygiene theory can be viewed as an amalgam of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Herzberg theory is broken down into two components. Primarily into motivators that include achievement, recognition, the work itself, creativity, independence and autonomy (Gunlu, Aksarayli and Perçin, 2010), praise from superiors, gaining new skills, learn new things and accomplishment (Stringer, Didham and Theivananthampillai, 2011). To be in line with Herzberg motivation hygiene theory, Narayan and Johnson (2012) has defined intrinsic motivation as the continuous active tasks that people are engaged to accomplish in a positive interesting way incites growth, the motivation of employees without reward ( Emmerik, Schreurs, Cuyper, Jawahar and Peeters, 2012). The extent to which individual feels autonomy embeds the Self-determination theory ( Deci and Ryan, 2008) as interesting job encourages intrinsic motivation that are major drives of job satisfaction and effective performance (Westwood and Taylor, 2010). This theory has also been supported by Mushipe (2011), who declared that involvement of employees in decision making incites inner motivation as it raises employee's morale.

Secondarily, Herzberg theory has brought light to the other side of the spectrum, whereby it lays down the extrinsic motivators found within the Hygiene factors that include interpersonal relationship with Supervisors, Peers, Subordinates, job security, salary and the working environment influencing the satisfaction and dissatisfaction level of employees (Spector, 2008) to give rise to their work motivation level (Smith, 1999) and job satisfaction (Moynihan and Pandey, 2007). As per Emmerik et al., 2012, extrinsic motivation can be best stimulated with tangible rewards that organisations need to be viewed as an investment to strengthen the ties between the management and employees (Behn, 1995).

Process Approach:

The process approach can be regarded as a much more critical approach when compared to the need based approach, as motivation is expressed in terms of decision making amongst employees (Mushipe, 2011). Taking into a logical protocol the Process approach, it can be declared that it best fits into Adam's (1963) equity theory. This is so, due to the fact that employees search for fairness, as workers perceive job as a series of inputs and results whereby inputs, knowledge, ability, effort and enthusiasm and outcomes they expect to be salary, recognition and opportunity to creativity. Gurus in the field of performance have acknowledged the importance and association that exist between effort, performance and achieved targets ( Skinner, 1953; Vroom, 1964). Supported through the studies of Stringer et al., 2011, employers need to acknowledge the attributes that exist between performance and effort to be able to forecast employee's motivation and satisfaction. Nevertheless, even though theories have supported that, it is an undeniable fact to truly understand the motivational factors of employees, as organisational culture can also be an integral dimension in employee's satisfaction.

Organisational culture and its implication in employee's satisfaction:

To acknowledge with high level of confidence that employee satisfaction depends only on achieving their needs can be compromising evidence in such an era. This critical analysis can be supported through the presence of organisational culture that does not form part of an individual's needs but surely contributes to their satisfaction while being at work. Much literature has been devoted to organisational cultures ( Câmpeanu-Sonea, Borza, Sonea and Mitra, 2010), with a spectrum of definitions ( Câmpeanu et al., 2010). To sum up the range of definitions that organisational culture, also known as corporate culture encapsulates, it can be literally defined as a combination of factors consisting of values, beliefs, norms, attributes and assumption shared by individuals or groups in an organisation that gives shape to stimulate behaviour and interaction, crucial for the survival and sustainability of every organisation (Martins and Terblanche, 2003; Armstrong, 2006; Valencia, Valle and Jiménez, 2010; Saame, Reino and Vadi, 2011). Organisational culture is important for successful competitive performance among companies (Tseng, 2010) as personnel feels more involved in the business (Hartmann, 2006), and thus, stimulate innovation and creativity (Martins and Terblanche, 2003). An organisation that involves its personnel in decision making process, recruits people on their creativity basis and encourages regular feedback from its employees as part of its organisational culture (Martins and Terblanche, 2003), can at the end, augments employee's participation, satisfaction and helps break the line of authority, thus, decreases misunderstanding leading to a more ethical and apathy approach towards problems and failures (Clark, 2002; Alas and Vadi, 2006). The fact that different countries possess different organisational culture, when taking into account the Mauritian context, it has its own culture, even though the service provided by the hotel industry reflects that of international one. Hence, factors that might impacts on employee job satisfaction also might be different.

Employee Job Satisfaction: