This paper studies the ascertainity of the importance of employee voice within Heritage Hotels, India. It explains why the author is undertaking the research and what the author wants to achieve from this research. It continues with the literature review that highlights the seven different topics that has been explained in detail. It then talks about the Methodology in which it shows the different research methods that have been chosen and why the selective research methods have been chosen for this particular research. The paper then analyses the findings and discusses the result in detail. In the conclusion, recommendations have been presented which look at what employers would want to see in the future regarding employee voice.
I express my gratitude to the University of Westminster for giving me the opportunity to work on the major project during the final year of MA in Human Resource Management. There are many who helped me during this project work and I want to thank them all.
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I would like to thank Tamarind and Angela Hetherington, my tutors for their invaluable guidance throughout my dissertation work and endeavor period, for providing me with the requisite motivation to complete my dissertation successfully.
I specially appreciate the help and guidance of all those teachers who have directly or indirectly helped me making my project a success.
I would like to thank my parents who have been by my side throughout the whole process and who have given me the motivation and courage to make my dissertation a success.
I would also like to thank all the employees and the manager of Heritage Hotels for taking the time out from their busy schedule to complete my interviews.
Table of Contents
Title Page 1
Table of Contents 4 - 5
List of Figures 6
Aim & Objectives 8
Literature Review 9
Defining employee voice 9 - 10
Purpose of employee voice 10
Types of employee voice 11 - 12
Benefits and success factors 12
Benefits for employees 12
Success Factors 13
Trust & openness 13
Employee Involvement 13
Employee Voice and Organizational Performance 14
Figure 1: Employee Voice 14 - 15
Organizational Background 15
Introduction 15 - 16
The secret of a great escape 16
Heritage Hotel's Mission 17
Research Philosophy 18
Interpretivist 18 - 19
Methods of Research Used 19 - 20
Research Design 20 - 23
Figure 2: The Research Process 21
Respondents of the Study 23
Data Collection 23 - 24
Interviews 24 - 25
How was the research attempted and measured 25 - 26
Analysis and Discussion 27
Interpretation of Results 27
Analysis 27 - 28
Question 8 28
Question 9 & 10 28
Question 11 & 12 29-30
Question 13 30
Question 14 30-31
Question 16, 17 & 18 31
Discussion of the Analysis 31-32
Why is voice so important? 32-33
Conclusion and Recommendations
Conclusion 34 - 35
Recommendations 35 - 36
Reflective Statement 37 - 38
References 38 - 42
List of Figures
Figure 1: Employee Voice Chart 14 - 15
Figure 2: The Research Process 21
Figure 3: The Response Table 28
This research topic studies to ascertain the importance of employee voice within Heritage Hotels. It specifically focuses on how important the employee voice is today. It investigates people's perceptions on employee voice within the Hotel. Mahak Parwal, the author, feels that this study should be undertaken because as a current student and a future employee, she believes employee voice is and should be considered as highly important. With this study, the author also wants to find out the importance of employee voice, as well as know the employees' perception towards it - whether they think it should be there within the organization or not.
There has been a sharp increase in the significance in employee voice between academics, practitioners, and policymakers in the recent years. Boxall and Purcell (2008) state that among employers, the breakdown of the mass production era and the resulting quest for high-performance work practices that deliver flexibility and quality has produced prevalent experimentation through schemes for sharing information and consulting with employees, involving employees in workplace decision-making and soliciting feedback. Simultaneously, the global decline within the union membership has willingly opened the doors for different voice mechanisms options, whilst also prompting renewed debates over the need for union voice and supportive public policies.
Always on Time
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There has been a growing interest in employee voice and interest in this topic has emerged over the last few years. Employee voice has been used to summarize several diverse approaches to employee relations, and numerous other terms have been interchangeably with employee voice. Employee voice is a critical element of organizational success. According to Lynch (2010), in times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that employers pay attention to a concept called employee "voice." This is because it can work towards developing the workplace productivity during its impact on employee engagement, creativity, retention and effectiveness. A more recent meaning of voice that has captured researchers' attention is a behavior that constructively challenges that status quo with the intention of improving it. Employee voice is a very extensive term among substantial width within the range of definitions that are been given by authors (for instance Poole, 1986; Strauss, 2006; Sashkin, 1976; Dietz et
al., 2009). The aim of the paper is also to shed greater light on the meanings that organizational members derive from employee voice and what those different purposes may be.
1.1 Aims and Objectives
The following aim and objectives will identify how the researcher will achieve the research study objectives and provide background on how the objectives will be met through the academic study.
The aim of this study is to ascertain the importance of employee voice at the Heritage Hotels in India.
The following objectives need to be satisfied in order to reach this aim. These are:
Define employee voice and its components.
Determine the importance of employee voice.
To investigate employees perception on employee voice.
To critically recognize how Heritage Hotels promote employee voice in a hypercompetitive environment.
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Defining employee voice
As deï¬ned by Boxall and Purcell (2003): 'Employee voice is the term increasingly used to cover a whole variety of processes and structures which enable, and sometimes empower employees, directly and indirectly, to contribute to decision-making in the ï¬rm.' Employee voice can be seen as 'the ability of employees to inï¬‚uence the actions of the employer' (Millward et al, 1992). Employee voice is a two-way communication between its employer and employee CIPD (2012). According to CIPD (2012), it is the process of the employer communicating to the employee as well as receiving and listening to communication from the employee. To get a basic understanding of what employee voice, one must understand what participative management is. Stueart and Moran (2007) states participative management focuses on increasing lower level employee empowerment during team building along with direct participative methods in order to involve the employee with the decision making of the organization. This has become one of the leading styles of management. The important of empowerment may not be obvious, however it is pertinent. According to Stueart and Moran (2007), there is a positive correlation between employee empowerment and better customer service, staff creativity and innovation, and flexibility. Employees are able to participate in the decision making process of an organization through flattening the hierarchical, top-bottom structure by the means of groups or teams and with direct participation. The concept of employee voice looks more into the opportunities in order for the employees to be involved within decisions together, which can either be through trade unions or by other means. "It appeals to both those seeking greater business efficiency and to those looking for employee rights" (CIPD, 2012). Organizations have increasingly looked on ideas that directly engage employees, moving from representative participation in the last two decades.
CIPD research, according to Marchington, Wilkinson and Ackers (2001), suggests organizations that look to promote voice are usually those who believe that 'employees want to contribute to the business' and that 'for employees to have an effective voice, the significant element of the communication process is not what the employer puts out but what it gets back.' Good managers distinguish that the knowledge required for the business to be competitive can only come out of employees' heads. 'Voice is defined most typically in terms of two-way communications, an exchange of information between managers and employees - or 'having a say' about what goes on in an organization' (CIPD, 2012). Some managers feel that voice is a way for employees to represent their views to managers, and the different views presented by employees can be taken into account which, in turn, can be positive for the company. On the other hand, other managers take the more limited view that voice is not so much of a dialogue or a two-way exchange of thoughts as a method for the employees to be able to pass on their thoughts to managers in order to develop the company's organizational performance. Employee voice is the most important characteristic of employee participation. If employee participation strongly contributes to a greater customer service, then it straight away shows that employee voice is a significant feature in this equation. According to McCabe & Lewin (1992, p. 112), whilst participative management programs can be assorted depending on the company, the general scope and the amount of intended participation, the fundamental hypothesis remains the same, which is that "employees possess sufficient ability, skill, knowledge, and interest to participate in business decisions." For Dundon et al (2004:1149), 'employee voice is best understood as a complex and uneven set of meanings and purposes with a dialectic shaped by external regulation on one hand and internal management choice on the other'. There is a long tradition in employee relations literature of focusing on the level and effectiveness of employee involvement and participation in the workplace (Marchington, 2005).
2.2 Purpose of Employee Voice
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According to Michael Armstrong (2006), there are four specific purposes for employee voice. The first purpose is basically to articulate dissatisfaction for individuals with the management team or in the organization. The second purpose provides as an expression of collective organization to management. The third purpose lets the management contribute towards decision making in particular concerning quality, productivity and work organization. Last but not the least it expresses the mutuality relationship between the employee and the employer. In addition towards the specific purposes for employee voice, Gorden (1988b) proves a fifth purpose. He had conducted a study with 150 students and the study confirmed higher employee satisfaction with his or her career and employer when the organizational conditions are conductive to creating and receiving opportunities for employee voice. These rationale supports in defining voice and offers a background on which one can base all of the studies and research.
2.3 Types of Employee Voice
Since Employee Voice is vast within Human Resource there are many types of employee voice. According to McCabe and Lewin (1992), there are about four specific types that help engage the process for the grievance resolution. The first type of voice is the ombudsman; it is similar to a confidant that is proposed to considerately take note to the injustice and to offer any help to solve the issue. The ombudsman operates more like a channel of employee voice, relative than actual employee voice. McCabe and Lewin (1992) state for this to work, the ombudsman needs to be thoroughly familiar with the organization and also needs to promote particularly for the employee. The second type of employee voice, again defined by McCabe and Lewin, is the mediation. Yet again, mediation also acts as a channel for employee voice. In this situation, the mediator goes through an argument between the two parties and supports in reconciling and resolving the problem. He or she does not particularly make the resolving decision but persuades solutions for the employees to eventually decide from the provided options. The third type of employee voice is arbitration and it is distinguished by the fact that the arbitrator can make the final, binding decision. The arbitration is usually seen as the preceding step in a grievance process and needs to completely follow the standards, policies and procedures as written in the handbook for the employees. Last but not the least are, again discussed by the aforementioned authors, tribunals and peer reviews. As the same for arbitration which is the third type of employee voice, the ultimate decision is requisite and needs to be in capacity of the employee handbook. The advantage to the internal tribunals is that employees are preferred to be judged by their peers rather than an administrator or manager: "The advantage to these internal tribunals is that employees generally prefer to be judged by a "jury of their peers" rather than an administrator or manager" (McCabe and Lewin, 1992).
Other than the grievance procedure as mentioned above, there are two other types of voice: 1. Representative participation, and 2. Upward problem solving (Armstrong, 2006). Representative participation is characterized by collective representation. Representative participation involves a formal mechanism which allows for the employee representation to solve issues of mutual interest and work more like a partnership between employer and employee, tackling issues together in a cooperative manner. Examples of representative participation would include trade unions or other staff associates/association. Employee voice is heard through an organized channel. The second type of employee voice is the upward problem solving. In this type of employee voice it works towards more of a teambuilding perspective. It basically involves two-way communication between the manager and the staff. "Thus communication is characterized by suggestion schemes rather than partner schemes where employees independently suggest ideas or changes and then employer generally rewards them" (Armstrong, 2006). It includes the application of attitude surveys for employees in order to seek their opinion/speak through questionnaires which can be beneficial for the organization. In this case employee voice is more on the basis of being communicative on a direct level from employee to employer. The main method of expressing voice is through questionnaires and forms instead of formal representation.
2.4 Benefits and success factors
Within the high performance workplaces, skills and knowledge are developed and enhanced which leads to high value enterprises and increasingly knowledge based economy.
Having a greater voice for employees' leads to the following (CIPD, 2012):
Employees' skills and knowledge can be better used, leading to higher productivity.
Employees feel more valued, so they are more likely to stay and to contribute more.
The organization gains a positive reputation, making it easier to recruit good employees.
Conflict is reduced and co-operation between employer and employee is based on interdependence.
2.4.1 Benefits for employees
Employees benefit from the following (CIPD, 2012):
Having more influence over their work
Higher job satisfaction
More opportunity to develop skills
More job security at their employee is more successful as a result of 'voice initiatives'.
2.4.2 Success factors
The factors that ensure success are the following (CIPD, 2012):
Leadership: without having active commitment from the top, initiatives will not succeed. Further down, managers also need to lead by example, while employee representatives should be effective leaders of those who they represent in the organization.
Training: middle managers who have brought up a top-down tradition of communication might find it complicated to acclimatize to a more open way to doing things and might need to be trained in communication skills. Likewise, employee representatives may need training.
Trust and openness: without being honest, the communication initiatives will not succeed, even when messages may not be palatable.
The possible barriers of the success factors are reversed. The reasons for failure are cited as absence of leadership and lack of commitment from the middle managers in the organization.
2.5 Employee Involvement
The objective of employee involvement is to engage employees to a greater extent in the administrative activities of the organization. This facilitates employees in empowering, and moreover informs them to understand the corporate activities and policies of the organization in a better way. It facilities the psychological relationship between the employee and employer, which provides, to an extent, an allowance in the decision making process. Employee involvement has two major benefits, which can only take place after empowering the employees and decentralizing the management; employers are relieved by some portion of its administrative responsibilities. Secondly, when employees are given the empowerment, their responsibilities for the organization lead to success and so does their commitment and accountabilities. It moreover helps in elevating overall employee morale and job satisfaction. Thus it enhances in employee performance.
2.6 Employee Voice and Organizational Performance
Normally, having lack of proper communication leads to organizational conflicts. Employee voice facilitates in making the relationship between the employer-employee information flow. It has been argued that Employee Involvement and Employee Participation is essential for organizational performance and management employee interrelationship, which plays an equally important role in enhancing job satisfaction and hence in enhancing organizational productivity (Brown & Heywood, 2002 p.103).
Within the context of Employee Voice, psychological contracts can also be analyzed which may also be involved with employment. The interrelationships of management are largely supported by exchange of compensation and services. This regularly escorts the employees' awareness to be obstinate with the growth strategies of the management. Employee participation in every organizational activity increases personal involvement. With an increase in involvement the employees naturally perform optimally thereby proving that employee voice is of immense importance in enhancing organizational performance and productivity (Kirkman, Lowe & Young, 1999 p. 42).
2.7 Employee Voice Chart
The following figure presents the meanings and purpose of employee voice articulated from journal called The International Journal of Human Resource Management (Dundon et al, 2004).
Figure 1: Employee Voice
Purpose of Voice
Possible mechanism or channels of voice
Potential positive/negative outcomes
Articulation of individual dissatisfaction
To remedy a problem and/or prevent deterioration in relations
Informal complaint to line manager; formal grievance procedure
(Reinforced) loyalty to organization/employee exit, withdrawal of beneficial discretionary behavior or inform expressions of dissatisfaction
Expression of collective organization
To provide a countervailing source of power to management
Recognition of trade union by employer; collective bargaining; industrial action
Partnership between management and employees/non-or de-recognition of union; anti union management 'tactics'
Employee contribution to management decision-making
To seek improvements in work organization, quality and productivity
Employee involvement and participation (e.g. upward problem-solving initiatives; suggestion schemes; attitude surveys; self-managed teams)
Employee commitment and identification with aims of organization; improved performance/disillusionment and apathy
Mutuality and co-operative workplace relations
To achieve long-term viability for the organization and greater 'people added-value'
Partnership agreements; joint consultative committees; works councils
Significant employee influence in decision-making/management communication-service to employee contribution.
Source: Dundon et al. (2004) The meanings and purpose of employee voice, The International
Journal of Human Resource Management, 15 (6): 1149-70. Reprinted by permission of the
publisher Taylor & Francis Group.
2.8 Organizational Background
Heritage Hotels, India
Heritage Hotel is a joint venture between ITC Ltd. and Jodhana Heritage, signifying some of the best tradition of heritage hospitality and tourism in India. It presents over 37 selected heritage destinations, ranging from grand palaces to traditional bungalows (havelis) and magnificent forts: from adventure-filled jungle loges to tea garden homes and quiet nature resorts in different states of India, for instance Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Karnataka, Punjab, Goa, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. A holiday with the Heritage Hotels is always special: timeless bazaars, elephant and camel safaris, local festivals, desert camps and a selection of various adventure and sport activities. Rich in history, these destinations are enriched by stories of heroic fighters and illustrious queens of royal courts and princes who enjoyed their pomp, pageantry, gracious, and splendid living in these places. On the journey of the relentless passage of time, many legends have been relegated to the pages of history; others extolled in verse and sung by traditional bards and folk singers. Even today some of the legends live in palaces, forts and royal retreats. Their private homes indicate the visitor with elegant Heritage Hospitality from the hotel and offer a slice of history with one major difference.
2.8.2 The Secret of a Great Escape
Heritage Hotel offers the secrets of a great escape. At every Heritage Hotel, customers will get the chance to experience the rich heritage and culture. Such cultures include a fort resort at the rim of a desert, or a county manor in the lap of a green valley. A jungle lodge in a wildlife forest reserve, or a palace or bungalow, resonant with the past. A picture-postcard cottage ensconced in mystic mountains or a splendid mansion on the spur of a hill. A spa in a heritage home, a houseboat on a sparkling lake, a colonial hill residence with tea gardens for a view, a mist-wrapped palace in fragrant plantations. Each hotel has a secret to share, a story to tell - and so will you. Moreover, each Heritage hotel has the blueprint of a great holiday, all laid out for tourists. Each hotel provides the opportunity to go where you get away to all that is not ordinary. All that is exclusive, while being affordable and unusual, without being over the top. Heritage Hotels' over 40 hotels are sited expediently at stunningly scenic locations and are easy accessible from major cities, making it the perfect holiday option. In particular, customers usually find atmospheric and boutique experience when it comes to selecting a hotel but Heritage Hotels are far removed from standardized sameness. Hospitality comes from the heart provided with a slice of heritage within modern amenities.
2.8.3 Heritage Hotels Mission
The Heritage Mission is to assist and support the restoration of Heritage properties. They encourage owners of these properties to convert them into productive assets, and assist them, in providing technical expertise, sales, marketing, reservations and operational support, and services. Through other initiatives, they help in the preserving the environment while at the same time promoting their rich culture, cuisine and handicrafts.
They endeavor to:
Providing a unique, enriching and affordable experience to customers
Generate local employment and well being
Set standards in Heritage Hotels & Tourism while promoting Heritage tourism
They hope to succeed in their mission with customers' whole-hearted support.
Employee voice is an important issue in studying participative management. From the point of view of an organization, having a participative management program that incorporates several employee voice mechanisms would be in the company's best interest. By promoting employee voice within the workplace through a range of techniques, it will help an organization to fulfill the ethical and political need through revitalizing their bottom line by avoiding resignation rates and high exit. Employee voice takes various forms in terms of both individually and collectively, and verbally and non-verbally. Furthermore, the concept behind employee voice appears to be timeless, as many of the publications throughout the past forty years have agreed with each other (employee voice: theoretical frameworks and organizational methods). Employee voice plays a huge role in participative management because in order for employees to work in an organization being able to communicate, presenting ideas, and building relationships is required and essential according to the author. This is how participative management links to employee voice.
The way in which the research is carried out can be considered in terms of the philosophy of the research which it is pledged to, the strategy of the research employed and, moreover, the research instruments utilized (and perhaps developed) in the pursuit of a goal - the research objectives - with the search for the resolution of the aim - which basically links to the research question. The research has been outlined for the research question and the research objectives in the introduction as well as in the literature review. The purpose of this chapter is to:
Discuss the research philosophy and relate that to other philosophies;
Develop the research strategy, together with the research methodologies adopted;
Introduce the research instruments that has been developed and utilized in the search of the goals.
3.2 Research Philosophy
A research philosophy is a conviction regarding the way in which the data about a phenomenon should be analyzed, used and gathered. The term epistemology - what is known to be true as opposed to doxology - includes different philosophies of the research approach. The rationale of science is the process of converting things known from doxology to epistemology. The two major research philosophies have been categorized in the Western tradition of science, explicitly positivist, which is sometimes called scientific and interpretivist which is known as an positivist (Galliers, 1991).
Positivists believe that reality is stable and can be observed and described from an objective point of view (Levin, 1988), i.e. without interfering with the phenomena of being studied. It should be argued that the phenomena should be isolated and that the observations should be repeatable. This frequently engages with the manipulation of reality with differences in only a single independent variable so as to recognize regularities in, and to form relationships between, some of the constituent elements of the social world. Predictions could possibly be made on the foundation of the previously explained and observed realities and their inter-relationships. "Positivism has a long and rich historical tradition. It is also embedded in our society that knowledge claims not grounded in positivist thought are simply dismissed as scientific and therefore invalid" (Hirschheim, 1985, p33). This view is indirectly supported by Alavi and Carlson (1992) who, in a review of the research articles, have found that all of the empirical studies were positivist in its approach. Positivism has been a particularly successful association within natural and physical sciences.
There has, however, been a debate on the concern of whether or not the positivist paradigm is entirely suitable for the social sciences (Hirschheim, 1985). Many authors are calling for a more pluralistic attitude towards the research methodologies - an example being Bjorn-Andersen, 1985; Kuhn, 1970; Remenyi and Williams, 1996.
Interpretivists argue that only through the subjective interpretation of an intervention in reality can be fully understood. The study of phenomena in its natural environment is vital to the interpretivists' philosophy, together with the acknowledgement that scientists cannot avoid affecting those phenomena that are being studied. There may be many interpretations of reality that can be admitted, but maintaining these interpretations are in themselves a part of the scientific knowledge they are pursuing. There is a tradition which has been followed by the interpretivisms, which is no less glorious than that of positivism and nor is it shorter.
3.5 Methods of Research Used
For this study, the descriptive research method was utilized. In this method, it is possible that the study would be cheap and quick. It could also suggest an unanticipated hypotheses. Nonetheless, it would be very hard to rule out alternative explanations and especially infer causations. Thus, this study used the descriptive approach. This descriptive type of research utilizes observations in the study. The purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena. The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand data from the respondents so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.
In this study, to come up with pertinent findings and provide credible recommendations, this study utilized two sources of research: primary and secondary. Primary research data was obtained through this new research study, and in depth interviews were conducted. On the other hand, the secondary research data was obtained from previous studies on the same topic.
3.6 Research Design
In order to come up with the most suitable research approaches and strategies for this study, the research process "onion" is used. This is because conducting a research is like peeling the back layers of an onion - in order to come to the central issue of how to collect the necessary data needed to answer the research questions and objectives, important layers should be first peeled away. With the abovementioned process, the researcher was able to create an outline on what measures are most appropriate to be applied in the study.
Saunders et al (2003) said that while it is not unusual for a researcher to first think of his research undertaking by considering whether one should, for instance, administer a questionnaire or conduct interviews, thoughts of this question should belong to the center of the research 'onion.' That is, in order to come to the central issue of how to collect the data needed to answer one's research questions, there are important layers of the onion that need to be peeled away; the first layer raises the question of the research philosophy to adopt, the second considers the subject of research approach that flows from the research philosophy, the third examines the research strategy most applicable, the fourth layer refers to the time horizon a researcher applies to his research, and the fifth layer is the data collection methods to be used.
Figure 2 shows each of the subsequent chapters that deal with each part of the research process outlined. The ideas, techniques and methods are discussed using as little jargon as is possible.
Then again, the research philosophy that is reflected in this study is positivism. With this research philosophy, a researcher prefers to work with an observable social reality in order to come up with law-like generalizations similar to those produced by the physical and natural scientists (Remenyi et al, 1998), and in this tradition, the researcher becomes an objective analyst, coolly making detached interpretations about those data that have been collected in an apparently value-free manner (Saunders et al, 2003). In addition, the emphasis is on a highly structured methodology to facilitate replication (Gill & Johnson, 1997) and on quantifiable observations that lend themselves to statistical analysis (Saunders et al, 2003). In here, the assumption is that the researcher is independent of and neither affects nor is affected by the subject of the research (Remenyi et al, 1998; Saunders et al, 1998).
Meanwhile, the second layer shows that this study has undertaken a deductive approach. Accordingly, this approach has five sequential stages: deducing a hypothesis: expressing the hypothesis in operational terms; testing this operational hypothesis; examining the specific outcome of the inquiry to either confirm the theory or indicate the need for its modification; and finally, modifying the theory in the light of the findings (if necessary) (Robson, 1993, p. 19).
The deductive approach has a number of important characteristics. First, this approach is a search to explain causal relationships between variables, which consequently leads to the development of a hypothesis. Second, it involves the collection of a quantitative data (although it can, as well, use qualitative data), and this data is important to test a hypothesis that has been previously developed. The third characteristic of a deductive approach is that it controls to allow the testing of hypothesis. However, one must remember that with this approach it is important that the researcher is independent of what is being observed - that is, the researcher should be objective and not subjective - so that the principle strictness will be pursued, as this approach emphasizes scientific principles. (Saunders et al, 2003)
Also, it is important that the concepts are operationalised, which will enable facts to be measured quantitatively. Finally, the deductive approach is generalization. (Saunders et al, 2003)
The study also utilized secondary data. Secondary data includes raw data and published summaries, as well as both qualitative and quantitative data. Saunders at el (2003) deduced that secondary data falls into three main subgroups - documentary data, interview-based data, and those compiled from different sources. Documentary secondary data, accordingly, are the ones often used in research projects that also use primary data collection data methods, although such data can be used on their own or be combined with other secondary data. This type includes: written documents (notices, correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports to shareholders, diaries, transcripts of speeches, administrative and public records, as well as articles from books journals, magazines and newspapers) that can be important raw data sources in their own right, a storage medium for compiled data, provide qualitative data, and can be used, as well, to generate statistical measures; and non-written documents (like tape and video recordings, pictures, drawings, films and television programs, digital versatile disks and CD-ROMs) that can be analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively, as well be used to help triangulate findings based on other data such as written documents and primary data collected through observations, interviews and questionnaires (Saunders et al, 2003, pp.190-191). For this study, journal articles have also been used to carry out the research, as it helps to answer objective one, which is to identify the importance of employee voice today within the hotel industry. Journal articles, such as the times of India, World Entrepreneur Society, Timesascent.in, have been used to carry out in meeting the objectives.
3.7 Respondents of the Study
In this study everyone was interviewed from the age of 20 and up. Employees within the Heritage Hotels, who have been interviewed, come from different departments, such as Human Resources, Sales and Marketing, Front Office, and Food & Beverage. In total 10 employees have been interviewed.
3.8 Data Collection
Data has been collected from multiple sources, allowing for a number of different perspectives to be taken into consideration in the development of the recommendations.
The data sources that has been examined include:
A review of the appropriate research literature. This includes in fulfilling the second objective.
Interviews have been conducted within different ages of respondents. The interviews had focused on the people to find out reasons whether or not employee voice is important and as well as to investigate people's perception on the concept of employee voice which helps in answering objective two and as well as objective three.
Here the study has been identifying the reasons and rationale for are/why are employee voice is important and if it is not and secondly to explore people's perceptions on the concept of employee voice within the hotel in India; it was undertaken by using namely:
Once the data was made, it then helped in the findings of the objective four, which is to critically recognize how to promote employees voice in hypercompetitive environment.
Interviews are a method that allows the researcher to delve deeper and encourage the participants to give more detailed answers. Finn (2000) describes face to face interviews as, "Structured conversations, or question and answer sessions. The conversation is structured by a schedule of questions which is administered by an interviewer to every respondent in the same way" (Finn, 2000:91). Dunne (2005) discusses that interviews can be held in many forms including formal or informal, structured or unstructured, individual or group, public or privately (Dunne, 2005:28). The advantages of using an interview method, as already discussed, are that it allows the researcher to gain more detailed answers and the chances of questions being misunderstood are minimized. Finn, (2000) points out the main disadvantage of using the interview method and states, "Interviewer bias has long been recognized as a potential problem for this style of research" (Finn, 2000:91). The interviewer's attitudes and opinions can affect the replies of the participant along with facial expressions, changing the tone of voice when asking certain questions, and age, religion or social class can also influence the participant' replies (Finn, 2000: 91-92).
During the interview, the interviewer encouraged the interviewee to clarify vague statements or to further elaborate on brief comments. More importantly, the interviewer was objective and did not attempt, in any way, to influence the interviewer's statements. In order to do this, the interviewer did not share his/her own beliefs and opinions. Also, the questions thrown at the interviewees had been phrased clearly, so that interviewees can understand them, and they were delivered in neutral tone of voice. The researcher also avoided long questions, or those that are really made up of two or more questions, because as Robson (2002) said, by asking long questions, the tendency to obtain a response for each aspect a researcher wants to explore will be lost. The researcher also avoided too many theoretical concepts or jargons, as the researcher's understanding of such terms may vary from that of the interviewees' responses. Finally, the researcher made sure that the interview did not last too long and did not consume much of the respondents' time, as this may instigate uncooperativeness from the respondents after a certain period of time.
It was decided that the method to be employed in this study was to be semi-structured interviews triangulated with a self-completed questionnaire. The possible problems that may be encountered in using the questionnaire method is that the forms can be returned incomplete, questions can be misunderstood and the participants are not under any pressure to give detailed answers. To combat these problems, participants took part in semi-structured interviews with the researcher, and if they required questions to be explained more clearly they could be and the researcher encouraged the participants to give detailed answers. The use of interviews allowed a lot more data to be collected from many participants in a shorter amount of time and the form could be completed privately and anonymously which encouraged the participants to give their true opinions.
3.9.10 How the research was attempted/measured
This research project discusses to ascertain the importance of employee voice within Heritage Hotels in India. Objective one has already been completed with a literature review being undertaken to define what employee voice is. The following criterion was highlighted:
Define what is Employee voice.
The types and purpose of employee voice.
The benefit and success factors of employee voice
Employee Voice and Organizational Performance
Brief Introduction about the Heritage Hotels
Objective two and objective three were completed by using semi-structured interviews. By the use of semi-structured interviewers the researcher wanted to gain the answers for both the objectives.
The results and the analysis from the semi-structured interviews will fulfill to answer objective four which to critically recognize how to promote employees voice in hypercompetitive environment.
This chapter shows the profile of the different research methods used for the study and why they have been chosen to be appropriate for the study. In addition, it shows how the research was carried out and the kinds of data collected. Some of the data was analyzed in the next chapter and they formed part of this dissertation.
Analysis and Discussion
This chapter presents and interprets the findings of the questionnaire and survey that took place. It then discusses the importance of employee voice and how it achieves the aim and objective four. In total 10 interviewees were interviewed in which most belonged to the sales and marketing department aging from 20-25 and 25-29 with full time contracts, while the others belonged to the Human Resource Management and Front Desk Department. Out of the ten employees, 8 were female and the other two were male. The tenure for most of the employees working at the Heritage Hotels is within the time span of 1-5 years apart from two employees where one has just joined the company and the other one has worked for over 6 years. There has been a mixed response for each of the questions and none of these questions have a right or wrong answer.
4.2 Interpretation of Results
The results were interpreted by using response tables of the job satisfaction dimensions, and then linking it to how important is employee voice at the Heritage Hotels, which is the main aim of this research. The results gained out of this research will also be discussed in this section. Lastly, the literature review has been integrated as well. The study has received positive responses from the employees working at the Heritage Hotels, and from the results it can be seen employees consider voice to be really important and have strong relationships with their manager. Each of the following questions that were answered by the interviewees will be analyzed one by one and at the end a formal discussion will be presented.
The analysis below shows all the answers to the questions that were asked to the employees and will be discussed in detail. As stated previously, before starting the interviews all questionnaires were kept strictly confidential to the researchers involved and at no time the individual questionnaires were released to the general public apart from the internal and external examiners of University of Westminster. During this section, theory from the literature review will be integrated in between the questions, as most of the questions are linked to theories presented in the literature review.
The response table on the previous page presents all the answers to the questions.
Please go to the previous page to see the full response table: Figure 3
4.3.1 Question 8
The analysis clearly demonstrates that the majority of the employees at Heritage Hotel use upward problem solving where they are concerned with empowering workers to improve work processes by encouraging them either individually or in groups, to allow in suggesting improvements and solutions to specific problems and to take a greater responsibility for decisions over work organization and allocation. Workers represent an intact source of knowledge and understanding of their specific jobs roles and work processes and, consequently, with such involvement they can reap benefits for the organization by drawing on the expertise of those closest to the work situation. According to Dundon, T. and Rollinson, D. (2007) the scope of upward problem-solving schemes can vary from small groups or individuals charged with solving specific problems or broader measures designed to seek the opinion of employees on a broad range of issues, allowing differences between employees and managers to surface and be resolved, which therein helps employees and managers to better understand each other's expectations, concerns, needs and wants. Out of ten employees, two of them have stated that the organization uses representative participation where it is characterized by collective representation. Representative participation involves a formal mechanism which allows the employee representation to solve issues of mutual interest, and therefore work as a partnership between employer and employee that tackles issues together in a cooperative manner.
4.3.2 Questions 9 & 10
Managers at the Heritage hotels sincerely value their employees' opinion. Every employee has believed to pass positive comments; for instance, one employee who is from the sales and marketing department, has said, 'My manager values our opinions at work to a large extent'; another employee from the Human Resource department stated, 'As the sole Client Relations Officer, I act as the facilitator between the client and our organization. Being the facilitator means that I have first hand knowledge about the clients' needs and wants. Needs and wants are essential in our line of business and my opinions are framed based on those needs and wants. Hence, my opinions on the professional front would matter quite vastly to my managers'. Most employees have also had mixed views towards their opinions mattering to the managers. For example, an employee from the Human Resource department acknowledged, 'It depends on the problem: if it is a personal issue then he/she do not really care about, but when it comes to organizational changes or problems, our opinions are more or less taken into consideration'. Another employee said, 'Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn't'. An employee from the front desk department has stated, 'It is an integral part of our work force. In order to give the customers the best service we all need to work together as a team, and as the staff turnover in this industry is quite high, it is important to keep all employees at ease.' Another comment given was, 'Our hotel manager holds monthly staff meetings where employees are welcome to voice their opinions directly. Employees are always welcome to give feedback at the weekly catch-ups but this gives them an opportunity to feel closer to the management. None the less after presenting the comments that the employees have stated, it can now be seen that the managers truly value their opinions at all times and situations. It brings out a positive vibe that employees are definitely happy in working in such an environment and are completely treated like people. The employee voice facilitates the organization in making the relationship between the employer-employee information flow. It has been realistic that through various appraises of Employee Involvement and Employee Participation, it is essential for organizational performance and management employee interrelationship to come together and play an equally important role in enhancing job satisfaction, and hence in enhancing organizational productivity.
4.3.3 Question 11 & 12
The relationship between the manager and the employee are very good at the Heritage Hotels. This can be proved because the employees themselves have said it. Employees have ranked their managers in between 4-10 of the Richter scale. Professor Dau-Schmidt (Bagchi, 2011) proposes two methods for increasing employee voice in this sense: firstly by increasing both access to unions and access by unions, and secondly by giving workers direct representation on corporate boards of directors. His arguments tend to focus on the benefits these changes would bring to corporations. The notion of employee voice is ambitious. Bagchi (2011) describes the three methods by which employees might exercise some control over the ways they are affected by the policies & fortunes of their employees. First "hard" voice refers to the ability to exercise power and shape the direction of the firm and its treatment of employees in particular. Second, "soft" voice refers to the ability to engage in dialogue with or provide feedback to the relevant decision-makers. Finally, access to information, while not an obvious form of employee voice, is an alternative means for employees to control how their employment disrupts or advances their lives and life projects-but not the acts and policies of corporations.
New forms of employee voice, through direct employee participation (defined as "two -way communication between management and employees without the mediation of representatives), (Bryson, 2004) continue the emphasis on management communication directly with individual workers rather than through union representatives (Forth & Milward 2002). This includes employee voice in regular meetings with staff or committees of employees that discuss problems of management on a regular basis. This whole theory can be integrated here because this is similar to what employees have said.
4.3.4 Question 13
According to the employees working at the Heritage Hotels, a majority of them have said frequently and a couple of them have said sometimes.
4.3.5 Question 14
In order to get a better understanding of what employees think about employee voice, they were all asked about their perception towards this concept. Starting from the marketing and sales department, each employee has had different views. For instance, one had said 'it's very important'; the second employee stated, 'it has a tremendous value attached and shall be used consecutively in all organizations; the third employee believed, 'the organization needs employee input of ideas for "doing things better", promoting their employees to work harder and to seek out opportunities for constructive change. Furthermore, employee upward voice of ideas for improving a process, task, or solving work-related problems can play a central role in effective organizational functioning.' From the human resource management department employees have stated, (starting from the first employee) 'Employee voice, in my opinion, is a very important concept in any organization. I think employees make or break the organization and hence they should be given the chance to express themselves freely.'; the second employee stated, 'My perception or understanding, is that it is a way of letting your employees give their opinions, ideas, or inputs at the workplace. It is important, because it makes the employee feel involved and important'; and the last but not the least the third employee has said, "It is very important as it enables the organizations to continuously improve their performances. If employees feel valued they will have a "sense of ownership" towards the company and work for its best.' Lastly from the front desk department the employee has said, 'It is vital within the hospitality industry, both in terms of giving better customer service and to keep employees motivated.' Another employee stated, 'it is very important as it makes an employee feel valued at work.' By all the views presented the researcher has discovered employee voice at the Heritage Hotels is completely important for both the managers and the employees.
4.3.6 Question 16, 17 & 18
The organization is very helpful when it comes to keeping up to date with training and development opportunities. The employees of the hotel believe that the relationship between the manager and the employee at the hotel is very important because this way employee feel much more motivated and engaged with their work. Employees were asked to rate the attitude of managers at the Heritage Hotels and a majority of them answered that they are neutral about their employees, while the rest responded they are in favor of the employees.
4.4 Discussion of the Analysis
Overall, with this analysis it has been clarified that employee voice is completely important for the employee and the manager at the Heritage Hotels. Majority of the employees at Heritage Hotel use upward problem solving where they are concerned with empowering workers to improve work processes by encouraging them either individually or in groups to allow in suggesting improvements and solutions to specific problems, and to take a greater responsibility for decisions over work organization and allocation. Managers at the Heritage Hotels sincerely value their employees' opinion and each and every view has always been counted to a large extent. The relationship between the manager and the employee is very good at the Heritage Hotels, and this can be proved because the employees themselves have said it. Employees have ranked their managers in between 4-10 of the Richter scale. According to the employees working at the Heritage Hotels, a majority of them have said frequently and a couple of them have said sometimes. The organization is very helpful when it comes to keeping up to date with training and development opportunities. The employees of the hotel believe that the relationship between the manager and the employee at the hotel is very important because this way employee feel much more motivated and engaged with their work. Employees were asked to rate the attitude of managers at the Heritage Hotels and a majority of them answered they are neutral about their employees and the rest responded they are in favor of the employees.
4.4.1 Why is voice so important?
By employee voice, we mean involving people in the way the business is run, organizations with an effective & empowered employee voice make sure that people at all levels have the chance to give views, submit ideas and raise questions. They have a culture in which people are listened to - not just communicated with - and have a real input into decision-making processes on important issues, as well as day to day once. Above all, these organizations ensure that employees are informed about the issues facing the business, both small and big. The expectancy theory of motivation teaches the employees that they as individuals will be motivated to do something when they believe they are capable of performing the task. Also, when they see a clear link between the performance and an outcome, and when they value that outcome. So making it easier for employees to speak up will get them rewarded for their efforts with things they value and brought for the organization.
A more recent meaning of voice that has attained the researchers' attention is a behavior that constructively challenges the status quo with the intention of improving it. Making innovative suggestions for change, or modifications to standard procedures, are good examples of this meaning of voice because organizations can optimize business results when their employees are fully engaged, their creativity is given full rein, and their interests are aligned with business outcomes. Employers would do well to foster an environment in which all workers feel they can exercise their voice (Lynch, 2010).
According to Lynch (2010), there are five various ways to help organizations, starting with the concept of employee voice:
Resolve to view voice as a sincere attempt to improve the organization. Because voice challenges the status quo, be on guard against reacting defensively.
Help everyone see the big picture and the value of their individual contributions. Employees who feel connected to the organization are more likely to speak up because they have a vested interested in its success.
Make it safe for employees to engage in voice. For example, reward the courage that employees show by challenging standard procedures.
Teach managers how to be exceptional listeners, and to receive and respond appropriately to constructive feedback.
Teach employees how to make suggestions even when they feel uncomfortable or when others don't agree with them.
In times of uncertainty it is more important than ever that employers pay attention to a concept called employee "voice" because this can enhance workplace productivity through its impact on employee engagement, creativity, retention, and effectiveness. Employee voice is a critical element of organizational success. Employee voice mechanisms also vary in each model. Despite the variation, in meeting the requirements of freedom of association, bargaining, health and safety, employee voice will likely only increase over time worldwide.
In conclusion, according to Verma (2006) the analysis in this paper finds the following with respect to employee voice by the following two listed below:
Employee voice can be a powerful tool in workplace regulation.
Employers make efficiency gains from increased employee voice.
5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
Chapter five represents the recommendations and conclusion. This chapter revisits the objective four and the aim. To recap objective four critically recognizes how Heritage Hotels promotes employee voice in a hypercompetitive environment and the author feels this objective has been proven correct without any uncertainties in the analysis and discussion section. This is because from the findings majority of the employees find employee voice important and believe the concept should be introduced in todays and forthcoming companies.
The employees were asked how would they promote employee voice in a hyper competitive environment and the author believed this would bring out their recommendations. Each employee had different things to say about how they would promote employee voice in a hyper competitive environment. Starting from the first employee from the Sales and Marketing department; 'having regular meetings, more HR participation, and bringing in healthier atmosphere at work'. The second stated, 'It is critical to understand how to promote employee's voice behavior in hypercompetitive environment. Thus, it is an important criterion of improvement.' The third declared, 'By the hard work of the employee'. Now coming on towards the employees of the Human Resource department, who has said, 'In a hyper competitive environment I think employee voice should be promoted on a one-to-one basis. A face to face conversation would bring out more from an employee than a group discussion'; the second employee stated, 'By making employees work in groups, I would promote discussions and brain-storming sessions.'; the last employee declared, 'I guess weekly meetings with managers would be of a great help where we could discuss about personal as well as organizational issues.' Lastly moving forward to the employee of the front desk department have stated, 'Through regular feedback sessions or team building activities by carefully planning these around especially busy days.'
These recommendations have had a huge input and satisfied objective four to the fullest because objective four was to critically recognize how Heritage Hotels promote employee voice in a hypercompetitive environment and the author thinks it has been answered by the responses given by the employees. The recommendations presented by the employees would give the managers an insight of the concept of employee voice which is essential as it will allows them to bring in more room for improvement and the concept of employee voice can bring in a new meaning and perspective to new companies which could lead to them being successful. Approaching towards the end of the research, the author has ascertained the importance of employee voice at the Heritage Hotels in India. The author strongly believes that the aim and all the four objectives have been gratified and has learnt a lot during the entire process of writing this research.
On the whole, employee voice is truly a fundamental factor at the Heritage Hotels but to enhance it more the organization can look into adding the new concept of participative management. The reason for this being said is because it is to think from an organizational point of view; it would be in the company's best interest to involve a participative management program that includes several employee voice mechanisms. If the hotel can help encourage employee voice in the workplace by introducing various methods, the organization will be able to fulfill an ethical and political need while also fortifying their bottom line by avoiding high exit and resignation rates. Employee voice takes many forms both individually and collectively and also verbally and non-verbally. The models presented in the research seem to have relevant and historic value to the subject and many studies that have been conducted verify the theories. Additionally, the idea behind employee voice seems to be a timeless concept, as many of the publications throughout the past forty years have agreed with each other.
Following this research there are several other areas of work, which may be developed to help further this study to understand