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This chapter has as main aim to investigate on the attitude and perception of students about a career in the tourism industry. This chapter will elucidate all the process for research used in this study, it be from problem definition stage to the collection of data stage. As the research method is influent on the findings of a research, there is the need to carefully make use of the proper process.
There has been enormous variety of approaches to research. They all suggest that not all research projects follow precisely the same sequence of procedures. Specifically to this paper, the steps to use are adopted from C.R Kothari (2004) published book 'Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques' for its simplicity. Below are the steps:
Formulating the research problem
Extensive literature review
Preparing the research design
Determining the sample design
Collecting the data
Execution of the project
Analysis of data
Preparation of report
3.1 Problem Formulation
Why is it that despite embarking on a tourism education trek, tourism students integrating the industry for a career is one of the main challenges facing the sector? The point is why they commit themselves to the program from the beginning till the end, to finally opting out of a tourism career. So this paper aims at providing a better understanding of the different factors that may influence their attitude about such a career.
3.1.1 Research Objectives
To catch a sight about whether tourism students of University of Mauritius will be planning to further their careers in the Tourism Industry after a 3 ½ course in Tourism, Leisure and Recreation Management
Assess the variables affecting students' choice to integrate the industry
Analyze differences in the opinion of two different groups of undergraduate students; experienced students v/s non experienced students
Identify how tourism undergraduate of the University of Mauritius perceive the Tourism Industry as an employer
3.1.2 Research Questions
What is the influence of student's perceived nature of work in the tourism industry on their attitude and perception towards a tourism career?
How does student's perception of social status in the tourism industry influence their attitude and perception towards a tourism career?
How does student's perception of promotion opportunities in the tourism industry influence their attitude and perception towards a tourism career?
How does student's perception of pay and benefits in the tourism industry influence their attitude and perception towards a tourism career?
How does student's perception of physical working condition in the tourism industry influence their attitude and perception towards a tourism career?
3.1.3 Research Hypotheses
Hypothesis testing is concerned with the problem of determining whether or not, a statement about the probability distribution of data, is consistent with the available sample evidence. For the purpose of this study, hypotheses have been developed following the assumption of them being the most significant determinants for students' perception towards the tourism industry. A conceptual framework is proposed to graphically present the hypotheses.
Hypothesis One: Nature of work and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Nature of work has proved to be a major determinant in students' attitude according to previous research. Low pay rate and unsociable working hours has been contributing to nature of work being as significant. According to Parsons & Care (1991), those two element may negatively affect job satisfaction and motivation of undergraduates, pushing them out of the industry. Following that review the following statement for the study is deduced:
H0 There is no significant relationship between nature of work and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
H1 There is significant negative relationship between nature of work and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Hypothesis Two: Social status and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Social status is defined as the honor and prestige attached to one's position in a society from a sociological or anthropology point of view (one's social position). There are two ways how one can earn their social status. One can own it through his own achievement which is termed as achievement status or one can own it by their inherited position which is called ascribed status. The society stratification system is the system which determines the social status of individuals within a society.
It has been found that social status is associated with particular occupations within a wide society and this derived from a variety of occupational factors such as the socially constructed value attributed to the skills present in the occupation and the position in the labour market occupied by the type of workforce and the nature of the work itself (Watson, 1995, p. 202). Status is considered important for an employee being satisfied with his job and it is considered important among personnel (Chellen & Nunkoo, 2010). This could along impact on employees' commitment to their work. Tourism jobs have rather have low status. It has been considered not suitable for woman and inferior as compared to other sectors for males (Chellen & Nunkoo, 2010). Such critics have led to a negative perception of the sector by potential recruits thus creating that challenge currently facing the industry. Out of this, it has been assumed that social status weighs quite heavy at influencing students where the following statements are set:
H0 There is no significant relationship between social status and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
H2 There is significant relationship between social status and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Hypothesis Three: Physical Working Condition and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
The working condition is here focusing on the working environment, the amenities, noise level and degree of safety or danger involved while undertaking a tourism job. In several studies, physical working condition scored a mark below requirement in the test for internal consistency and reliability under Cronbach's alpha. But still, Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) in his determinants to test for attitude of students include working condition and it has proved to weight considerably. Included in most studies, searches have found that it contributes negatively to the image of the industry. Cloakroom, bathrooms and eating halls of workers are more likely negatively rated. Following this, it has been assumed that working condition is a potential factor influencing student attitudes, therefore the following statements:
H0 There is no significant relationship between physical working condition and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
H3 There is significant relationship between physical condition and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Hypothesis Four: Pay and benefits, and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Generally speaking, people look for a job to get a salary at the end of the day. For tourism enterprises, pay need to be devised in the proper structure so that it worth the effort put in a job. Fringe benefits are increasingly gaining importance towards today employees. A combination of the two in a proper designed structure should ease attraction and retention of potential recruits for the tourism industry. A proper reward system will enhance the motivation of workers already working, thus impacting on the quality of service delivery. The employee needs on his side to put the required effort and use the proper skills to deal with the job reflecting the pay level. According to Tank (1990) people generally leave establishments because of dissatisfaction with salary mobbing from peers or superiors, disagreement with human resources management policies (Chellen & Nunkoo, 2010). Following the above, it can be assumed that pay and benefits are key determinants on students' attitude for a tourism career, thus the statements proposed below:
H0 There is no significant relationship between pay and benefits, and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
H3 There is significant relationship between pay and benefits, and student's attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry
Hypothesis Five: Promotion and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
For the generation Y, growing in an enterprise is important. Opportunities for growth are the characteristic people looking for while searching a job in the current employment situation and the reason behind are mostly increased salary and other personal objectives. Generation Y graduates are very ambitious and they want to climb up the management ladder fast, that is why they are reluctant to enter enterprises offering little promotion opportunities. In conditions where promotion is unfair, they tend to move to other sectors where it is rather based on merit, which enhance their satisfaction as a worker. Thus, accordingly, promotion opportunities are assumed to be important for shaping student attitude and the statements that follow:
H0 There is no significant relationship between promotion opportunities and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
H4 There is significant relationship between promotion opportunities and students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry.
Nature of Work
Students' attitude and perception of a tourism career
Physical Working Condition
Pay and Benefits
Figure 1: Proposed Model with the Hypothesized Relationships
3.2 Extensive Literature Review
In view of acquiring both theoretical and practical knowledge about the theme under study, a detailed reading on the subject was done through several sources. Further reading was done on the theory applicable to the study.
The main source to gather relevant information for understanding the subject, were the academic journals on the internet, via Emerald and Ebsco library made available to students by the university library. Further articles were available on the google website. Readings, increased knowledge and informations gathered help devise the proper hypotheses and design the adequate questionnaire. Thus identifying the relevant literatures was important for the proper running of the study.
3.3 Determine Research Design
Research design constitutes the blue-print for collection, measurement, and analysis of data. In other words, research design involves the development of the overall plan to relate the conceptual research problem to the empirical research (Ghauri et al, 1995). In relation to this study, both qualitative and quantitative research method will be used.
3.3.1 Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is carried out for the purpose of describing, exploring, and explaining the phenomena being studied. A tool for qualitative research that fits in this paper is the exploratory research.
Exploratory research is part of the qualitative method of research and for the current study, the exploratory form of research in in the form of literature review.
A literature review is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. Literature review was carried out for this paper to gather relevant information and the views of different authors pertaining to the research subject. Information was gathered mostly about the factors influencing students' attitude, the theory that could be adapted (Theory of planned behaviour), tourism education and internship as part of the tourism curriculum.
3.3.2 Quantitative Research
A quantitative approach is one in which the investigator primarily uses post-positivist claims for developing knowledge (i.e. cause and effect thinking, reduction to specific variables and hypotheses and questions, use of measurement and observation, and the test of theories) (Creswell, 2003). To handle the quantitative research, a self-administered questionnaire (a descriptive method) will be used as it is the most appropriate instrument to collect primary data and earlier likely studies also used the same technique (Jenkins, 2001; Purcell & Quinn, 1996). Questionnaire has as advantage to allow a large number of respondents and is less biased and intrusive than other methods (Brunt, 1997; Chellen & Nunkoo, 2010)). Furthermore, it is "cheaper and quicker" (Veal, 1998, p. 146) and respondents will feel at ease as they can complete it at their own pace.
To design the questionnaire some questions were borrowed from literatures in the field. The questions are in particular the statements used to design the questionnaire (Chellen & Nunkoo, 2010). According to Czaja and Blair (2005), borrowing or adapting questions is allowed and could assist this research in many ways (Chellen & Nunkoo).
3.4 Determine Sample Unit and Sample Size
Sampling is the process by which individuals belonging to a larger target population are selected for study (Martin, 2010). Underlying the study of students' attitude and perception towards a career in the tourism industry, the paper will have as target population, students of the University of Mauritius still undergoing the curriculum.
For the purpose of the research, data will be collected from a selected sample and the sample size for this research will be the whole number of undergraduate full-timer tourism students at the University of Mauritius. Due to the small size of the target population, it is more reliable to survey all the students, at all academic level. Table 1 below details the number of registered tourism students at the University of Mauritius.
Number of students
Table 2: Number of students as per different academic level
Source: Registry of the Faculty of Law and Management
It is to be noted that students of year three were actually on internship as per the requirement of the curriculum, on the start of their third year. Thus upon the technique opted to collect information (the questionnaire), third year tourism students unless those having reseat modules, were excluded from the sample as they were out of reach.
3.5 Pilot Testing
Prior to distributing the questionnaires to the potential respondents, the questionnaire was pilot tested to test the relevance and applicability of the instrument in the Mauritian context. As a consequence the questionnaire was revised and refined for the survey. The questionnaire was pre-tested through 10 respondents from the top-up tourism students at the university itself. Upon collection the data, three questions needed to be added to section B to increase the significance of testing work experience. The respondents qualified the questionnaire as being easy to fill and the English language quite simplistic. It took the respondents approximately 10 minutes to complete the questionnaire.
3.6 Data Collection
Data required for this paper lies in both primary and secondary data. As primary data, information will be collected from a self-administered questionnaire with a multi-dimensional and multi-item attitude scale tested and used by Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) followed by Aksu and Koksa (2005), while for secondary source, data will be mostly collected from relevant academic journals and internet websites. The relevant questionnaires were distributed among the undergraduate students at the university itself, whichever the academic level.
3.7 Questionnaire Structure
The questionnaire has as purpose to gather information about and opinion of a group of people who are under study. For the purpose of this paper, a self-administered questionnaire is used which consists of 2 (A & B) sections, namely;
Consists of 9 (1-9) parts, enumerating the 9 factors developed and tested by Kusluvan & Kusluvan (2000); each and every, followed by the relevant questions to facilitate data collection.
Consists of questions to gather the socio-demographic information of the respondents.
Figure 3: Questionnaire Structure
3.7.1 Questionnaire Design
The questionnaire consists of two parts as mentioned above. Section A is subdivided into 9 elements and under each element there is a set of questions that allow that for data collection while section B comprises of 9 questions. Both dichotomous and multichotomous questions will be used to collect required information. For multichotomous questions in section A, based on previous studies, a 5 point likert scale type of rating is used. The rating is as follows;
According to Ross (1995), David & Tideswell (1998), Bloomquist (1998), Okeiyi & Bryant (1998) and Fraser (2000), most researcher believe that 5 or 7 point scale is most appropriate to measure attitude and commitment, unlike the various other measurement methods.
For the second section of the questionnaire, mostly dichotomous questions are used; the 'Yes No' questions. The questions were designed to collect socio-demographic information of the respondents comprising importantly of students' experience.
3.8 Execution of the project
As the questionnaire design was completed and approved, the questionnaire was distributed amongst the full time TLR students of their respective academic level at the University of Mauritius during the month of October. To maximize response rate, the class representatives of each academic level provided their help upon distribution and ensuring completion of the questionnaires. They were geared to help for the collection of the questionnaire as when the students were done with them.
3.9 Data Analysis
Once collected, all quantitative data were analyzed using the SPSS (16.0). Answers were encoded for use in the SPSS and tables, charts and figures derived from the analysis will be of use for the analysis presentation.
3.10 Preparation of Report
The last step in the research process is the report preparation. It is where, results obtained through the survey, are used to illustrate the main findings of the research project. The findings furthermore, allows for interpretation on the attitude and perception of the students at the university on a tourism career.
3.11 Limitation of Study
Limitations enclosing this study are primarily time and financial constraints. Furthermore, the research was geared towards University of Mauritius students only, thus limiting this study to be representative of the overall group of tourism students in Mauritius. There are other institutions, secondary and tertiary, either public or private offering tourism education programs. As the research is limited to University of Mauritius students, the findings would not be significant to other students from other institutions, thus to the industry in a holistic consideration. Finally, third year students, were not integral of the study since they were all on internship which is part and partial of the 3rd year curricula. This has brought the population of study to be restricted figure wise.