Leadeship Essay Example

  • Category:
    Management
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Masters
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Key elements of organizational culture in the hospitality industry that may provide for competitive advantage

The business environment for organizations is described in terms of the economic conditions, socio-cultural conditions, the political and legal conditions, the level of technological advancement and finally, the general state of the natural environment. On the other hand, the current global business environment is characterized by the need to enhance ethical and social responsibilities, the effects of the global financial crisis, interdependencies between organizations and the changes occasioned by the information technology revolution. Since organizations are founded on a set of industry-based assumptions about customers, competitors and the general environment – which influence their corporate culture – a competitive edge can be achieved by exploiting particular elements of organizational culture. This paper examines key elements of organizational culture that organizations in the hospitality industry can exploit for competitive advantage.

There are several key elements of organizational culture that may provide competitive advantage for organizations in the hospitality industry in the contemporary business environment. Such elements include satisfying the needs of customers, promoting and selling existing products, and lastly, taking care of the needs of the employees in order to improve the performance of the organization (Kusluvan 2003, p. 48; Okumus, Altinay & Chathoth 2012, n.pag). One key element of organizational culture which organizations in the hospitality industry can utilize in order to gain a competitive advantage is how to manage diversity in their services and operations (Wood 2003, p. 103). The current business environment has enhanced the need for organizations to manage different dimensions of diversity not only in their employees and the management but also in their clients (Ridley 2005, p.39). Such dimensions include cross-cultural awareness in the industry, cultural differences between various ethnic groups in the workforce of organizations, management of the relationships between corporate and national cultures and finally, the challenges faced by expatriate employees working in the hospitality industry (Wood 2003, p. 104). Factors such as changes in workplace demographics, improvements in the legislative environment and the effects of globalization have created the need for organizations in the hospitality industry to recognize and exploit the value that is inherent in diversity (Devine et al. 2007, p.124).

Ridley (2005, p. 38) observes that organizations need to develop corporate cultures that enable the management to utilize individual differences in terms of culture, ethnicity, race, religion, gender and socio-economic background into resources that can help the organization improve its bottom line performance as well as gain a competitive advantage in the industry (Nickson 2007, n.pag). This can be achieved by creating a culture that is focused on diversity management as follows: one, developing missions and values that recognize the need to manage diversity in the organization as a long-term goal; two, training and equipping employees with the skills necessary to support diversity management within organizations; three, ensuring active flexibility within the organization in recognition of different cultural needs and lastly, fostering participation and input from all members of the organization without allowing a single cultural group to predominate in key practices such as recruitment, performance appraisal and decision-making (Devine et al. 2007, p.122: Nickson 2007, n.pag). This approach overcomes the common problems of discrimination, challenges in training and communication problems that are associated with diversity in the hospitality industry (Devine et al. 2007, p.124).

By creating an organizational culture that encourages effective management of diversity, organizations in the hospitality industry will be able to gain a competitive advantage in the industry by ensuring that all employees maximize their potential and contribution to the organization, ensuring that all different individuals are embraced in its operations without exclusion and finally, allowing the organization to meet its business objectives effectively (Asree, Zain & Razalli 2009, p. 502; Testa & Sipe 2011, p. 6).

The second element of organizational culture with which organizations can gain a competitive advantage in the hospitality industry relates to client service (Gomes, Yasin & Lisboa 2007, p. 562). There is a close link between organizational culture and important organizational variables such as the general performance of the organization, the level of effectiveness in the operations of the organization, work-related attitudes and the level of profitability of the organization (Testa & Sipe 2011, p. 2). Also, according to Nickson (2007, n.pag), the hospitality industry is defined by the role played by quality service for the success of organizations. Since quality service is a function of how employees are treated in the organization, it is imperative that the existence of a good organizational culture influences not only the level of employee satisfaction in the organization but by extension, determines the competitive advantage of the entire organization in the industry (Wood 2003, p. 103). Therefore, organizations in the hospitality industry generally develop effective and customer-oriented organizational cultures in order to gain a competitive advantage in their operations (Testa & Sipe 2011, p. 4).

Since organizational cultures are influenced by the environment in which a business operates (Okumus, Altinay & Chathoth 2012, n.pag), the organizational culture of organizations in the hospitality industry is generally focused on developing customer-oriented practices that are geared towards creating a strong sense of service delivery to the clients (Gomes, Yasin & Lisboa 2007, p. 565). The relationship between a good customer-oriented organizational culture and overall improvement of organizational performance for organizations in the hospitality industry is a complex one. Okumus, Altinay and Chathoth (2012, n.pag) observe that service quality in organizations in the hospitality industry is determined by the attitude and behaviors of employees. Because of this, there is need for organizations to effectively manage the work-related attitudes, behaviors and all other factors that influence the attitude of service providers so as to gain competitive advantage in the industry (Kusluvan 2003, p. 45).

Organizations can achieve competitive advantage by developing a market-oriented culture that is focused on providing after-sales services to clients; showing a strong sense of commitment to the clients; sharing market information between different departments of relevance; taking a holistic approach in developing business plans and encouraging customers to give feedback on the services offered by the organization (Gray, Matear & Matheson 2000, p. 151). Such an organizational culture is based on the concept of market orientation that focuses on gathering information about the changing needs of the customers, tracking the actions of competitors, sharing all the market information within the organization and reacting swiftly to the changing needs of the customers and the market in general (Asree, Zain & Razalli 2009, p. 505; Kusluvan 2003, p. 47). In doing so, organizations are able to gain a competitive advantage by ensuring effective service delivery. This is achieved by the influence such a culture has on the attitudes and behaviors of employees, who in turn determine the performance of the organization (Kusluvan 2003, p. 46).

In conclusion, there are several key elements of organizational culture in the hospitality industry that can provide for a competitive advantage. Since the performance of organizations in the hospitality industry is heavily dependent on the delivery of quality service to clients, it is necessary for organizations to create a culture that enhances the management of employees. This is necessary since employees form the contact point with the clients in the operations of organizations within this industry. An effective and customer-oriented organizational culture gives organizations a strong competitive advantage in this industry. Additionally, since diversity is a key element of the hospitality industry, creating a culture that effectively manages diversity among employees as well as clients can enable an organization gain a competitive advantage in the industry.

References

Asree, S, Zain, M & Razalli, M R 2009, ‘Influence of leadership competency and organizational culture on responsiveness and performance of firms’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 500 – 516.

Devine, F, Baum, T, Hearns, N & Devine, A 2007, ‘Managing cultural diversity: Opportunities and challenges for Northern Ireland hoteliers’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 120 – 132.

Gomes, C F, Yasin, M M & Lisboa, J V 2007, ‘The effectiveness of hospitality service operations: Measurement and implementation concerns’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 560 – 573.

Gray, B J, Matear, S M & Matheson, P K 2000, ‘Improving the performance of hospitality firms’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 149 – 155.

Kusluvan, S 2003, ‘Characteristics of employment and human resource management in the tourism and hospitality industry’, in Kusluvan, S (Ed.) 2003, Managing employee attitudes and behaviors in the tourism and hospitality industry, pp. 1 – 54, Nova Science Publishers, New York.

Nickson, D 2007, Human resource management for the hospitality and tourism industries, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

Okumus, F, Altinay, L & Chathoth, P K 2012, Strategic management for hospitality and tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

Ridley, S 2005, ‘Towards a new business culture in tourism and hospitality organizations’, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 36 – 43.

Testa, M R & Sipe, L J 2011, ‘The organizational culture model: An audit for hospitality executives’, Proceedings of the International CHRIE Conference, Refereed Track, Paper no. 8. viewed 04 August 2004, <http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1614&context=refereed&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.ke%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Delements%2520of%2520organizational%2520culture%2520in%2520the%2520hospitality%2520industry%2520%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D2%26cad%3Drja%26ved%3D0CD4QFjAB%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fscholarworks.umass.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D1614%2526context%253Drefereed%26ei%3D3wn-UaF_kcTiBJqRgPgJ%26usg%3DAFQjCNEfA27Eays6XXEOiSNnCYLGPiMw9g%26bvm%3Dbv.50165853%2Cd.bGE#search=%22elements%20organizational%20culture%20hospitality%20industry%22>

Wood, R C 2003, ‘Diversity management’, in Brotherton, B (Ed) 2003, The international hospitality industry: Structure, characteristics and issues, pp. 93 – 109, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.