Leadership perceptions of staff in the context of the hotel industry in China

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Leadership perceptions of staff in the context of the hotel industry in China


Author: Wong, Chi-yun Alan
Title: Leadership perceptions of staff in the context of the hotel industry in China
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2008
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations.
Leadership -- China -- Case studies.
Executives -- China.
Hotel management -- China.
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xvi, 246 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2190028
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2866
Abstract: Leadership skills are crucial in the hospitality industry, given its intense competition, dynamic environment, service orientation and labour-intensive nature. With increasing globalization and internationalization of the hotel industry, a thorough understanding of expatriate and local hotel staff becomes crucial. Although China's tourism industry has been open since 1978, the industry is still in a state of relative infancy. With accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 and projected to become the world's top tourist destination by 2020, China will continue to need expatriate hotel managers for their expertise and for technology transfer. Because most expatriate assignments involve a managerial/leadership role in a host country, cultural similarities and differences will certainly influence the degree to which leadership is effective. Moreover, grooming future international hospitality leaders to be effective in various contexts is becoming a challenge. The objective of this study is to explore leadership perceptions of staff in the context of the hotel industry in China. A conceptual model that integrates the "micro" and "macro" contextual constraints on leadership perceptions is adopted for use in this research project. The "micro" aspect uses the leadership prototype approach that describes the match/mismatch of leadership schema between leader/manager and follower/subordinate, which in turn affects the effectiveness of leadership. The "macro" aspect examines the impacts of societal contexts on leadership. This study combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies. It uses 19 interviews in the early stage of the project to explore themes relating to the impacts of various contextual elements on perceptions of leadership. "Professionalism" and "culture" were the two major themes that emerged from this phase of the study. The results were used later for surveys and interpretations. An instrument based on the literature and on qualitative interviews identified 57 leadership attributes, which were refined to 25 for a survey. The sample studied included 82 managers and 219 subordinates from hotels in Beijing. Additionally, a sample of 137 telecommunications staff was studied for comparison with the hotel group. Four factors emerged from a 16-item solution: professionalism; integrity; masculine/Yang; feminine/Yin. T-tests of group comparisons indicated the existence of "industry difference," "level difference" or "national cultural difference" in different dimensions. Both qualitative and quantitative results indicated that "professionalism" as a critical dimension of leadership perception. Implications of the results for leadership training and development were discussed in detail. The small sample of expatriate staff limits the generalization that can be made for this group. In conclusion, the conceptual framework developed in this study is a useful guide for understanding leadership in the context of China's hotel industry. Most previous research on this subject lacked a theoretical framework or perspective. This study contributes a more holistic understanding by integrating "micro" and "macro" perspectives with the focus of the impacts of various contextual elements. The identification of "Professionalism" as new attribute in the leadership literature is a major contribute the leadership research as well. Also, it contributes to future training/development of international hospitality leaders and local staff by increasing the awareness of leadership perceptions in various contexts of the rapidly-globalizing hotel industry.

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