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Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry
A comparison between insular and peninsular regions
School for Social and Policy Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia, and
Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 335
Received 13 January 2009 Revised 1 May 2009 11 June 2009 28 July 2009 Accepted 1 August 2009
Department of Business Administration, University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece
Purpose – This paper aims to explore the occurrence and implications of staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry as well as looks into the current and future strategies adopted by Greek enterprises for addressing this unavoidable and unpredictable phenomenon. Design/methodology/approach – A survey research instrument was distributed both online as well as through e-mails over a period of four weeks for collecting primary data from a convenience sample of Greek tourism enterprises. This process yielded 63 usable responses. Findings – The ﬁndings revealed that the Greek tourism industry faces similar staff turnover impacts that are also found in other countries. Enterprises reported to experience similar staff turnover levels irrespective of their tourism sector, i.e. travel agents, hotels etc.; staff turnover levels were not found to be homogeneous across organizational hierarchical levels; respondents claimed that staff turnover is mainly instigated by factors that are beyond management control and that staff turnover negatively affects service quality levels, costs and time related to staff recruiting and training, while it enhances idea generation. Strategies reported to be used by the respondents for managing staff turnover demonstrate a shift from people retention strategies to knowledge retention strategies. Research limitations/implications – The small number of responses suggests that the ﬁndings should be treated with caution. New research approaches for studying staff turnover, such as social network analysis, are recommended for future research. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the international hospitality literature by providing primary data about the level, the type and the consequences of staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry. Keywords Employee turnover, Greece, Hospitality services, Tourism management, Ideas generation Paper type Research paper
Introduction Tourism is a people intensive industry. Although the rate of staff turnover might vary from one location or sector to another, staff turnover in tourism occurs primarily voluntarily and in unpredictable frequencies, while it is mostly found amongst staff working at operational levels (Milman, 2003). Staff turnover in tourism has been investigated in numerous locations (e.g. Turkey, Cyprus, UK, Australia, USA) and ﬁndings sketch a rather uniform picture with regards to its inhibiting and facilitating
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management Vol. 22 No. 3, 2010 pp. 335-359 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0959-6119 DOI 10.1108/09596111011035945
factors, the management strategies to control it and the problems and/or beneﬁts it creates (e.g. Pizam and Thornburg, 2000). Despite the research attention staff turnover has received, its consequences have been under-researched. Research has mostly quantiﬁed the repercussions of staff turnover (e.g. the time and cost required for staff recruiting) (e.g. TTF, 2006) leaving qualitative aspects under-studied (e.g. Chalkiti and Carson, n.d.). Given the global reality of staff turnover in tourism, the critical service role of employees in tourism enterprises as well as the current research advances in the ﬁeld of sociology (e.g. network theory), it is important to also consider additional research variables and alternative approaches that can help in sketching out a more holistic view of the impacts of staff turnover. This paper explores the phenomenon of staff turnover in Greek tourism enterprises by carrying out a survey that aims to understand the occurrence, the inhibiting and/or facilitating factors, the consequences, and the strategies deployed for managing staff turnover. To achieve these, a nation-wide e-mail survey targeting Greek tourism enterprises was conducted and 63 usable questionnaires were collected. Literature review Previous studies exploring staff turnover in tourism have focused on the causes, consequences and ways to manage staff turnover. The rest of this section discusses the current research on all three areas of focus. Causes of staff turnover Studies have identiﬁed a plethora of reasons leading to staff turnover. These reasons have been categorised into three major groups: causes related to the enterprise, to the individual and to the industry (e.g. Birdir, 2002; Gustafson, 2002; TTF, 2006). For example, low job satisfaction, low ﬁnancial returns, no career development, emotional labour, working hours, unsociable working conditions, seasonality, unsatisfactory working relations (Hom and Griffeth, 1995; Meier, 1991; TTF, 2006; Woods and Macaulay, 1989; Woods et al., 1998). Documented causes of staff turnover generally conform to the major theories of migration (Lee, 1966). Push factors operate to reduce dissatisfaction with existing circumstances, and pull factors operate to suggest increased satisfaction arising from a change of circumstances. Factors may be, among other things, economic or social. Economic drivers include the guarantee of improved conditions and the perception that the opportunity for improved conditions will exist. Social causes of staff turnover have been documented as including a desire to get a job and move geographically closer to family and friends, the desire for lifestyle changes throughout an individual’s life cycle, and the desire to avoid risk or unpleasant circumstances (Vaugeois and Rollins, 2007). In hospitality, commonly cited causes of staff turnover include the low specialisation of skills and limited opportunities for career progression (Deery and Shaw, 1997; Hartman and Yrle, 1996; Ladkin and Juwaheer, 2000; McCabe and Savery, 2007), seasonal changes in work availability, and staff mainly getting tourism jobs (which are often part-time, casual and/or seasonal) for having an (additional) source of income, while actively pursuing alternative job careers (through education), or for taking a career break (Vaugeois and Rollins, 2007). Other causes are related to an enterprise’s social context (e.g. peer relationships, family relationships or labour) (Birdir, 2002; Carbery and Garavan, 2003; Krackhardt and Porter, 1986), the job
Dalton et al. relational and knowledge implications that staff turnover might have. In other words. which in turn affected their motivation at work and their attitude towards the company. research outside the tourism sector has further contributed to the understanding of the non-ﬁnancial implications and intangible costs of staff turnover. In other words. Other studies have also provided further insight into these non-economic impacts of staff turnover. as Krackhardt and Porter (1985) Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 337 . train and employ different staff every season (Sigala. They found that staff turnover triggered higher turnover not in a random way but within the communication network of the exiting employees.g. as they have to recruit. and the negative impacts on the working climate and organisational culture. the detrimental impacts of training costs. Krackhardt and Porter (1985. Mowday (1981) concluded that the remaining staff developed distorted explanations about the reasons that led their peers to exit the company. the negative impacts on service quality and so on proﬁtability). Krackhardt and Porter (1985) also provided evidence that the employees working closer to the person who left were more satisﬁed and committed once that individual left. because they stopped receiving the latter’s negativity and bad feelings about the job. structural. the time and cost for staff recruitment. relationships with supervisors) (Griffeth et al. the functional and dysfunctional impacts of staff turnover on the ﬁrm performance. By conducting a pioneering longitudinal study examining the effect of staff turnover on the behaviour and attitudes of the remaining staff. replacement and training costs as well as low productivity performance levels (Hinkin and Tracey. they recognised and advocated the non-economic impacts of staff turnover on ﬁrm performance such as: the beneﬁcial impacts of knowledge circulation and revitalisation amongst ﬁrms that can in turn lead to innovation generation opportunities.g. Such costs are more heavily felt by ﬁrms operating seasonally. 2004. 2000). ignoring the intangible. For example. (1983) argued that staff turnover causes some form of disruption and so. working conditions. the psychological impacts of staff turnover on the attitude of the remaining employees. However. On the other hand. they urged future research to be directed towards a more qualitative evaluation which would mainly focus on who has left as opposed to how many actually left. research (e. 2006). This study inspired and directed a number of other investigations that revealed interesting topics and areas of potential research with regards to the implications of staff turnover. Dalton et al. 1986) studied the snowball effect of employee turnover on the remaining employees who were closely connected to the exiting employee. Similarly. In investigating the attitudes and the behaviours of the staff remaining at the ﬁrms. 2003) and an overall dissatisfaction with the type of the tourism job and its employment terms (e. Consequences of staff turnover The ﬁnancial consequences of staff turnover are summarized as separation. induction and training. Although staff turnover has been traditionally considered as voluntary and involuntary. Milman. (1982) extended the staff turnover taxonomies by adding two more dimensions namely. the impact of staff turnover on the remaining employees may vary.. 2000). 2006) has paid more attention to the monetary implications of staff turnover (e. Their work suggested that depending on who leaves the company. TTF.g. monotonous job content.motivations of the labour force (Martin. low ﬁnancial rewards.
Similar impacts may be observed within the tourism industry when speciﬁc networks and teams of employees are created to collaboratively address a task.e. The Greek tourism industry Tourism is one of the most important industries contributing to the Greek economy.000 in 2005. Management strategies for addressing staff turnover Such strategies are no other than human resource management centred strategies including people retention practices and provision of organizational support to staff (Deery and Shaw. 1997). the knowledge created amongst the network members is lost forever.’s (2006) study is the only study conducted within the hospitality sector so far that has looked into such impacts of staff turnover. emphasis has been given to the design of professional development programs that consider staff’s career progression and team building activities in order to light up the intra-organisational atmosphere and working climate (e.000 in tourism expenditures it comes to no surprise that tourism accounts for e181.g. that “. . the majority of which originate from Denmark. Deery and Shaw. so that the ﬁrms beneﬁt even when staff leave the company. while the way by which the latter are affected depends on how they relate to an exiting peer (e. Greece is one of the most popular and long-standing holiday destinations with tourist inﬂows reaching 40. the UK and Germany. Susskind et al. 2006). this stream of research showed that staff turnover does also affect the employees remaining at the company.798. 2000).088. which aim to create procedures for externalising and recording information residing within employees (e. e. a team involved with new product development. Kaak et al.IJCHM 22. Their ﬁndings showed that staff turnover contributed to an employee’s emotional instability in their employment.g.g. 2006). Cho et al. especially the islands Greece is characterised by geographically dispersed and differing concentration levels of tourism enterprises. Overall. In most of these cases.446. 2006. as opposed to randomly throughout a work group” (p. The authors addressed the challenges that ﬁrms face when innovation networks complete their projects and their staff members are required to return to their standard job status and activities. . . unless it is documented for future use and/or transferred to another department or project.000 of Greece’s gross domestic product (GNTO. Te Yang and Wan. This loss of knowledge makes the network members feel redundant and without any social status. Evanschitzky et al. For example. 54). power and recognition within the ﬁrm. .g. Cho et al. visiting the country on average for ﬁve days (GNTO. the job content or any other reason). turnover is concentrated in patterns that can be delineated in a network . friends) and on how they interpret their peer’s exit (e. . i.3 338 suggested one has to look at the topology of the staff turnover’s consequences.268 tourists (including both Greek and foreign tourists) in 2005 ¨ coupled with e2. Staff turnover management approaches have now advanced to also include knowledge retention strategies. 1997. peer’s dissatisfaction with the company.g. 2004). a crisis and/or a technology adoption issue.. In terms of tourism supply and taking into consideration the tourism development of regional Greek areas. (2007) provided evidence of the negative implications of staff turnover by analysing the unpredictable or uncertain behaviours of knowledge intensive innovation networks that are caused by employee mobility. With a total of 12.734.. 1998.
Tourism exists in the form of organised “packages” coming from international tour operators. cruise line companies. thus revealing the huge opportunities and potential for the Greek market as well since Greece apart from neighbouring advantages can signiﬁcantly compete on the basis of tourism demand as well. low cost airlines) and accommodation (hotels. e. Seasonality of demand continually increases creating more extended “dead” periods.5 per cent) and the Cyclades (6 per cent). . The tourists originate mostly from European countries.2 per cent for 2005). . The Netherlands (5. Japan and the former USSR (markets representing tourists with higher expenditures per guest) remain at extremely low penetration levels. UK (21. The share of incoming tourists from the USA. Thus. Turkey. 2007): . As a result. . A high degree of geographical and time concentration of demand to particular zones and tourism prevails. 2006. The tourists represent mostly low/medium income levels with a tendency to stay shorter and spend less.3 per cent). Bulgaria. sand and sun” product. GNTO. Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 339 . etc.2 per cent) and the Scandinavian countries (7. . Germany (17. Analytically. approximately 50 per cent of tourists visit Greece between July and September. the tourism multiplier effects are reduced. Tsartas et al. who have a tremendous inﬂuence on the direction and number of tourism ﬂows. This offering is not anymore competitive as Greece needs to compete with new and signiﬁcantly emerging tourism destinations that can offer a similar product at a much lower price and better quality. tourism demand for the Greek tourism industry can be summarised in the following (Euro Bank EFG. The most popular countries of origin remain the same as previous years. 2006. The Greek tourism industry offering solely concentrates on the “sea. The tourism activity presents a high seasonality peaking in the month of August and concentrating only during the summer months. Croatia. On the other hand. while between the periods of May until September about 70 per cent of the Greek tourists visit Greece. . . The percentage of the Greek bed concentration is shared between Crete (21 per cent).. On the contrary.while in terms of commercial extent comprises of two polar enterprises (international chains and very small family run enterprises). Italy (8.5 per cent). Chalkidiki (6.g. . The average length of stay of tourists at Greek resorts is 15 days while their average length of stay at accommodation establishments is 6 days. The tourism markets at the originating countries of incoming tourists are mostly dominated by a few great multinational enterprises – tour operators. who have also expanded in the sectors of travel (charter airlines. while small and medium sized tourism enterprises are threatened to disappear. France (5. in Turkey tourists’ from the countries of the former USSR represent the second largest source of arrivals.5 per cent). There is a signiﬁcant decrease on the tourists’ expenditure (when focusing on all inclusive tourism the average expenditure per guest tends to be zero). Athens (9 per cent). even though tourists’ arrival numbers increase the same cannot be said for the tourism revenues.8 per cent).
similarly to other Greek industries. The provision of all inclusive packages at several destinations drive many times small businesses towards economic recession and eventually seizing of operations. the staff turnover issues explored by this study included the following: the occurrence. . There is a shortage of highly qualiﬁed. insular (islands) and peninsular (mainland) areas. the focus of this study was: to sketch out the current situation of staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry. while graduates of highest educational institutes (including holders of postgraduate and doctoral titles) reﬂects the 3. educated and specialised labour force. we know very little about the frequency.3 340 .IJCHM 22. a fact conﬁrming the dependency on tour operators as they are the ones controlling the majority of charter ﬂights to Greek destinations. (3) Practitioners can obtain information about the state of staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry. the inhibiting and/or facilitating factors and the consequences of staff turnover as well as the strategies deployed by Greek ﬁrms for managing staff turnover. there is a great delay in the adoption of new technologies in the Greek tourism sector.2 per cent) graduates. Research method and operationalisation of constructs A survey research instrument (questionnaire) was used for collecting primary data from Greek tourism enterprises. the labour force of “hotels and restaurants” in 2002 consists of: a majority of high school (37.e. Speciﬁcally. Over 80 per cent of incoming tourists reach Greece via air travel. Finally.5 per cent via sea. resort). graduates of higher technological education represent 8. In order to ensure content and construct validity.1 per cent of the labour force.8 per cent of the occupied labour force in 2002. and to explore any similarities and/or differences of staff turnover issues between ﬁrms located in two distinct areas of Greece. Indeed. the causes and the consequences of staff turnover as well as the strategies used by Greek businesses to manage staff turnover. i. the .1 per cent) and primary school (33. Due to the dependency of Greek tourism enterprises on mass tourism controlled by operators. 14 per cent via road and 4. which is partially due to the lack of ICT education and skills by ﬁrms’ owners and their labour workforce. Research methodology Research aims Despite the importance of tourism to the Greek economy. Air transportation remains the major means of travelling to Greece. For example. the issue of staff turnover in Greek tourism businesses remains surprisingly understudied. (2) Comparison data of staff turnover issues provided by ﬁrms located in insular and peninsular regions may offer new insights. . tour operators constantly pressure for price reductions and for more and better customer services. To address this gap. The oligopolistic power of these enterprises in Greek destinations was further ampliﬁed from the constant take-overs and mergers in the sector these last years. The ﬁndings of the study can contribute to the information of both researchers and practitioners in three ways: (1) Primary data collected from the Greek tourism industry add to and/or validate existing knowledge and research about staff turnover.
and TDN e-mailed the questionnaire to their member lists by highlighting to recipients that the questionnaire aimed to gather feedback from tourism ﬁrms’ owners and/or management staff.e.A. 2006). recent studies investigating the knowledge management processes within Greek tourism enterprises (Chalkiti. it was not possible to carry out a qualitative study due to time and ﬁnancial restrictions. The instrument included a collection of questions asking respondents to either select from or rank the available answers based on their perceptions about the importance of these answers (e. a press release about the study was also published on the TDN website-portal which aimed to inform the Greek industry about the aims and importance of the study. a follow up e-mail was also sent to increase the study’s response rate.g. the questionnaire was send to the whole database. Two weeks after the initial post of the ﬁrst e-mail communication. Sample Data were collected from a convenience sample compiled from the member lists provided by the Greek National Research Network (GRNET S. in order to increase the number of potential responses even further. These research efforts eventually yielded a total of 63 usable questionnaires. The low response rate may be attributed to the time of the year during which the study was carried out (i. The GRNET S.) and the Travel Daily News-TDN (www. 2005). saving and processing organizational knowledge. Unfortunately. This response rate may seem low in relation to the total number of the questionnaire recipients as well as to the total number of tourism professionals reading the TDN portal each day. at the time when this study was conducted. Unfortunately. disseminate the research instrument and kindly ask tourism ﬁrms owners/managers to provide their feedback. Considering the lack of up to date and accurate ofﬁcial statistical data regarding labour turnover levels and other in labour issues the Greek tourism industry (Sigala.traveldailynews. conducts and funds several national and international research projects including studies in the Greek tourism industry and its database includes the contact details of the management staff and/or of the owners of more than 350 tourism ﬁrms that are highly interested and actively participate in its research projects.gr). Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 341 . public administrators. 2005.questionnaire incorporated a number of research variables that were operationalised according to metrics used and validated in previous studies (Table I). ﬁltering the TDN’s database was not feasible and so. owners of tourism ﬁrms. operating since 1999 and owning a database including thousands of members representing a wide variety of tourism related audience in Greece: students. March).A. a qualitative exploratory inquiry gathering in depth information from Greek tourism ﬁrms would have been more suitable. professionals. Moreover. 1 ¼ very important). consultants. TDN is currently the major and the most widely daily read online portal by the Greek Tourism industry. qualitative inquiries tend to require more time and resources for recruiting and interviewing participants as well as for analysing data.A. Due to data protection issues GRNET S. The ﬁndings of these questions are presented by calculating the average scores of importance of each answer. journalists. 2007b) have also shown that Greek tourism ﬁrms are still at infant steps when it comes to recording. Also. Sigala and Chalkiti. However. In this vein. a qualitative study aiming to explore the non-ﬁnancial or qualitative impacts as well as strategies to manage staff turnover would not render any substantial insights considering the limited adoption of knowledge management practices by Greek tourism enterprises (Chalkiti.
years of operation Work experience. (2007). social/working relationships. Deery and Shaw Staff retention strategies knowledge retention strategies (1997). (2006). (2005). Cillo (2005) seasonality. information/knowledge rejuvenation. other tourism enterprise. team/ staff cooperation. working hours. age Rare. tour operators). (2006) Management strategies used by ﬁrms for managing or dealing with staff turnover Table I.g. demand for tourism labour Same corporation. Deery and Shaw (1997) . Sintes et al. (1998). across a variety of organizational levels (e. all the time Across a variety of sectors (e.g. emotional labour. Cho et al. (2000). idea generation/enhance creativity Susskind et al. management. seasonality.342 IJCHM 22. Operationalisation of constructs Source Operationalisation of variables Scale Respondents indicated their feedback by selecting the appropriate answer Respondents were asked to rank the causes of staff turnover according to their perceptions about the importance of each cause (starting with 1 indicating the most important cause) Respondents were asked to indicate (based on their knowledge or perception) where staff leaving the company would pursue future employment Respondents were asked to rank the consequences of staff turnover according to their perceptions about the importance of each consequence (starting with 1 indicating the most important consequence) Respondents were asked to indicate whether they try to retain staff. unsociable working conditions. Evanschitzky et al. tour operators). no career development. hotels. other non tourism enterprise Cost and time for staff recruitment. front ofﬁce vs back ofﬁce) Causes triggering staff turnover TTF (2006). service/experience quality. ownership. hotels. (1998). triggers staff turnover. often. Woods and Macaulay (1989). Meier (1991).3 Variable Descriptive data of respondents Enterprises Sveiby and Simons (2002). and (b) a variety of organizational levels (e. Cho et al. front ofﬁce vs back ofﬁce) Respondent Staff turnover Frequency – level of staff turnover Homogeneity of staff turnover TTF (2006) (comparisons of the level of staff turnover across: (a) a variety of tourism sectors (e. low ﬁnancial returns.g. Christensen Size.g. externalise and record the knowledge of their staff or both as strategies to manage or deal with staff turnover Hartman and Yrle (1996) Low job satisfaction. Hom and Griffeth (1995) Destinations of departing employees (to determine the industry-company where an employee goes when he leaves a tourism ﬁrms for seeking future employment) Consequences of staff turnover to the tourism ﬁrms Hinkin and Tracey (2000). (2005). Woods et al. department of employment. Kaak et al. unsatisfactory working relations. education.
March signals the beginning of the tourist season. the closed nature of the questionnaire’s questions did not afford the collection of deeper and more qualitative data regarding the soft. The majority (31) were independently managed whereas some were members of hotel chains (seven) or consortiums (one). Dodecanese islands (5). A total of 39 respondents located in the peninsular regions represented a variety of ﬁrms regarding their size (but with a small dominance of small ﬁrms). there was a good balance of respondents representing management staff and owners. Most of the ﬁrms (29) came from the accommodation sector. social and qualitative consequences of staff turnover on the remaining employees and on the implications on the ﬁrms’ intangible knowledge resources. Ionian islands (2). Most of the respondents (33) held managerial positions with only a few (six) respondents also owning the businesses. It is usually during that time of the year that many enterprises start their preparations for the upcoming season and therefore. they have limited time to get involved with other things such as participating in research studies.For many Greek tourism ﬁrms. while three ﬁrms represented tour operators and one ﬁrm was a museum organisation. It is recognized and suggested that the ﬁndings cannot be generalized mainly due to the small number of responses. Additionally. the majority of the business (34) operated throughout the whole year. As opposed to the insular regions. while the majority of them were well educated (13 respondents had received tertiary education) and had a small number of years (0-5) of experience with the ﬁrm. The numbers of responding ﬁrms coming from the four peninsular regions are as follows: Mainland Greece (24). the employment destinations of departing employees and the homogeneity of staff turnover across various tourism sectors and organisational levels Staff turnover appears to be a common phenomenon in the Greek tourism industry as illustrated in Table III. Central West Macedonia (10). A total of 24 respondents located in insular regions represented mainly independently owned and managed small-medium businesses (1-49 employees) with a wide spread of years of operations and a good balance relating to the length of their operating season. Indeed. Findings about the frequency of staff turnover. Cyclades (7). The number of ﬁrms coming from the ﬁve insular regions is given as follows: Northern Aegean islands (2). while the remaining ﬁrms (ten) were tour operators. the majority of these ﬁrms (20) came from the accommodation sector. All 39 businesses were independently owned. Similar to the insular regions. Epirus (1). Analysis of ﬁndings Enterprises’ and respondents’ proﬁle A total of 63 respondents represented 24 ﬁrms coming from nine peninsular regions and 39 ﬁrms coming from insular Greek regions (Table II). It is suggested that future studies should adopt a case study approach aiming to explore and analyse in depth the qualitative impacts of staff turnover related to the ﬁrm’s personnel and knowledge assets management. most of the respondents were well educated (42 respondents had received tertiary education) and had worked for the business for less than ﬁve years. whereas only ﬁve ﬁrms operated seasonally. With regards to the proﬁle of respondents from these ﬁrms. Peloponnese (4). 57 per cent of the total respondents indicated that staff Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 343 . Crete (8). However.
30 Total respondents Position Owner Management staff Total respondents Highest educational level Undergraduate Vocational training Postgraduate Doctoral Total respondents Age 21-30 31-40 41-50 51 þ Total respondents Insular n Peninsular n Total n 344 19 4 1 24 24 24 1 23 24 11 13 24 7 2 4 5 1 5 24 20 13 6 39 39 39 7 31 1 39 5 34 39 5 3 5 2 8 16 39 39 17 7 63 63 63 8 54 1 63 16 47 63 12 5 9 7 9 21 63 13 1 3 6 1 24 14 10 24 11 6 6 1 24 6 5 5 8 24 22 5 4 2 6 39 6 33 39 15 7 16 1 39 17 9 10 3 39 35 6 7 8 6 1 63 20 43 63 26 13 22 2 63 23 14 15 11 63 Table II.IJCHM 22. employees) 1-49 50-249 250 þ Total respondents Ownership of enterprise Independent Total respondents Management of enterprise Hotel chain Independent Consortium Total respondents Seasonality (no.3 Enterprises’ proﬁle Size of enterprise (no. of operating months) 0-6 7-12 Total respondents Years of operation 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26 þ Total respondents Respondents’ proﬁle Years of work experience 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-30 . Enterprise and respondents proﬁle (63 respondents) .
Within this context. the higher competitiveness of their tourism product: for example. the comparatively higher levels of occurrence of staff turnover in insular areas can be attributed to the high seasonality of this industry. sand and sun” concept amplify the seasonality of their tourism demand and decrease the competitiveness of the destinations. Frequency of staff turnover. Considering that other non tourism sectors in those regions are experiencing the effects of the economic recession. employment destinations of departing employees and homogeneity of staff turnover levels across various tourism sectors and organizational levels turnover occurs often. tourism jobs in insular destinations offer limited job progression prospects and low job stability and security. it could be argued that the high unemployment rates in the peninsular regions discourage staff turnover in tourism. and as a result. Furthermore. In a similar vein. gastronomy tourism. wine tourism. Another factor explaining the lower levels of staff turnover in peninsular regions may also be the diversiﬁcation and therefore. tourism staff prefers to leave and change jobs. peninsular tourism regions have the additional advantage of their geographic proximity and easy accessibility from urban tourists’ generating regions. When comparing the staff turnover statistics reported by ﬁrms located in insular and peninsular regions. their limited accessibility) and their non-diversiﬁed tourism product that is based solely on the “sea. cultural routes and sports tourism) are currently booming in peninsular regions. 2006). The geographical isolation of these areas (and so. This can be attributed to the high unemployment rates in the Greek peninsular regions. many forms of alternative tourism (e.Insular n Frequency of staff turnover Rare Often All the time Total respondents Employment destinations Same corporation Other tourism enterprise Other non tourism enterprise Total respondents 6 15 3 24 11 19 16 24 % 25 63 12 100 46 79 67 100 Peninsular n % 16 21 2 39 17 34 24 39 41 54 5 100 44 87 62 100 Total n 22 36 5 63 28 53 40 63 % 35 57 8 100 44 84 64 100 Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 345 Do you believe that levels of staff turnover are similar across different sectors of the tourism industry? Yes 20 83 35 90 55 87 No 4 17 4 10 8 13 Total respondents 24 100 39 100 63 100 Do you believe that staff turnover levels are similar across tourism jobs at different organizational levels? Yes 8 33 9 23 17 27 No 16 67 30 77 46 73 Total respondents 24 100 39 100 63 100 Table III. . These ﬁndings validate previous research suggesting that staff turnover is and will continue to be an unavoidable feature of the tourism industry (TTF. it becomes obvious that businesses located in the peninsular regions are subject to lower levels of staff turnover.g.
IJCHM 22. and the family owned and managed status representing the majority of the Greek tourism businesses. 2006) also report similar ﬁndings showing that staff turnover levels vary between tourism jobs at operational and managerial levels. This is also true irrespective of the location of the respondents. However. the working hours. In other cases. respondents from peninsular regions experience working environments with larger organizational hierarchies. The length of interaction between the service provider and the customer can amplify emotional labour. For example. since the latter also get business from a larger local population. restaurants. although fewer respondents from insular regions (67 per cent) agreed with the previous than respondents from the peninsular regions (77 per cent). hotel employees tend to be exposed to customer demand for lengthier periods of time than restaurant employees. Additionally. in cases where family members have invested their livelihoods in their tourism business. Other reasons that could explain the existence of differences at the level of staff turnover across sectors may also be the variations customer service intensity in tourism ﬁrms. employees also consider tourism as a career break and/or a job to keep them busy until they ﬁnd another better job (Hjalager and Andersen. 1996). Previous studies (e. 13 per cent of the total respondents argued that the levels of staff turnover may be quite varied across tourism sectors for two main reasons: the different demand seasonality faced by ﬁrms across sectors. staff turnover is minor and deﬁnitely not a popular choice to make. This could be because employees working at operational positions (e. the level of education and skills’ specialization could also account for variations of staff turnover levels across tourism sectors. this has been attributed to employees’ perceptions about tourism employment.g.g. Based on the international literature. because of its low educational and non specialized skill requirements. seeking employment in another tourism enterprise (84 per cent) or exiting the tourism industry (64 per cent) are the most popular employment destinations (Table III). employees who initially wanted a career in tourism were disappointed with the industry’s limited career progression opportunities and unsociable working hours (Hartman and Yrle. in insular regions. For example. Moreover. For example. the ﬁnancial rewards. Indeed. The high percentage of respondents (64 per cent) claiming that employees exit the tourism industry should not be overlooked. With regards to the organizational levels. 2001). front ofﬁce) are at the forefront of delivering services and tend to have direct contact with customers making them more susceptible to emotional labour and burnout (Ashforth and . The majority of respondents (87 per cent) reported that staff turnover appears to affect a number of tourism sectors. and so. irrespective of the location of the respondents (either in insular or peninsular regions) (Table III). tourism has been described as a refuge or easy employer. since many ﬁrms from the former types exist and operate when there is tourism demand. the majority (73 per cent) of the total respondents reported that staff turnover levels differ across tourism jobs at various organizational levels (Table III). restaurants located at insular regions tend to be more seasonal than restaurants located at peninsular regions. This small difference may be due to the fact that respondents in peninsular regions represent larger ﬁrms than in insular regions. TTF. travel agents and museums may be more seasonal than hotels. Similarly. demand seasonality varies based on the region and the sector.3 346 For departing tourism employees from both regions.
Surprisingly. As a result. social/work relations and the unsociable working conditions as having a neutral effect on staff turnover.16) causing staff turnover than respondents from peninsular regions (whereby the majority of the businesses operate throughout the whole year). Quality levels as well as cost and time to recruit new employees were ranked as the most important consequences of staff turnover by respondents located in both insular and peninsular regions.g. agriculture. This is not surprising when considering that due to the diversiﬁcation and limited job specialisation of tourism jobs. Respondents from both insular and peninsular regions also considered job satisfaction. the higher levels of staff turnover found in operational jobs are not surprising. tourism professionals cannot have any independent or aggregated impact on labour issues. Respondents from peninsular regions reported that this factor has a neutral effect (4. 1993). Employees in a work environment relate in a multitude Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 347 . Respondents’ feedback also conﬁrmed the differential impact of the variable demand ﬂuctuations found between insular and peninsular regions on staff turnover.39). it would be interesting if future studies also explore the perceptions of tourism professionals about this issue. 2006). Finally. employees have the choice to pursue employment in other industries as well (e. In other words. while respondents from insular regions advocated that this factor has an insigniﬁcant impact (5. career development. Findings about the causes and consequences of staff turnover The low ﬁnancial returns of tourism jobs were reported as an important contributor to staff turnover by respondents located in both types of regions (Table IV). This difference could be explained by the fact that the majority of respondents coming from insular tourism businesses represent mainly small ﬁrms that are also family owned and managed. Respondents from insular regions reported seasonality to be a signiﬁcant factor (2. emotional labour.71) than respondents from the insular regions (3. This difference could be explained by the fact that tourism is the only available source of income (and maybe the major industry) for the majority of the ﬁrms located in insular regions.30). who considered seasonality as a factor with a neutral impact on staff turnover (4. are limited and conﬁned within the small business boundaries and entrepreneurial aspirations of these ﬁrms. Relative to managerial level jobs.87). However. In juxtaposition. However.Humphrey. The ﬁndings on the consequences of staff turnover validated the conclusions of previous research (TTF. respondents from both regions argued that the demand for tourism labour has an insigniﬁcant impact on staff turnover. the power of trade unions on labour issues is very low in Greece and so. retail etc. respondents from insular and peninsular regions advocated different perceptions about the staff turnover inﬂuence of the factor related to career development opportunities. However.83).). respondents did not perceive that the level of demand for tourism labour can have any signiﬁcant inﬂuence on the levels of staff turnover. job career development opportunities in those ﬁrms. as this has also been explained earlier. respondents from the peninsular regions viewed the low ﬁnancial returns as more of a signiﬁcant factor (2. operational levels jobs also demand lower job specialization skills and offer limited job progression opportunities. As a result. in peninsular regions. working hours. respondents considered that staff turnover has a neutral impact on the social/work relationships and the team/staff cooperation.
83) Insular (24 respondents) Consequences Cost and time to recruit (1.30) Job satisfaction (4.75) Service/experience quality (2.08) Social/work relations (4.12) Job satisfaction (4.48) Information/knowledge renewal (3.02) Low levels of signiﬁcance Triggers staff turnover Causes/consequences ranked with low labour (7.41) Working conditions (4.38) (5.52) Working conditions (4.13) Demand for tourism Idea generation (5.41) Career development (5. total responses ¼ 63 Table IV.66) .97) Social/work relations (4.3 Ranking Service/experience quality (2.60) Working relations (6.79) Emotional labour (5.08) Demand for tourism Triggers staff turnover labour (6. Causes and consequences of staff turnover (average scores of total responses) Causes Peninsular (39 respondents) Consequences Causes Seasonality (2.52) levels of signiﬁcance (average scores) Notes: Scale of importance for ranking causes: 1 ¼ very signiﬁcant.39) Financial returns (2.34) Career development (4.39) Working hours (4.58) Working hours (4.78) Working relations (6.58) Idea generation (5.30) Cost and time to recruit (2.87) Information/knowledge renewal (4.16) Financial returns (3.16) Team/staff cooperation (4.71) Team/staff cooperation (3.69) Emotional labour (5.83) (5.348 IJCHM 22. 9 ¼ not signiﬁcant.71) High levels of signiﬁcance Causes/consequences ranked with high levels of signiﬁcance (average score) Neutral levels of signiﬁcance Causes/consequences ranked with neutral levels of signiﬁcance (average scores) Seasonality (4.
better service quality in services’ ﬁrms. experiences. the type and interdependency of these relationships tend to inﬂuence both individual and group behaviours such as cooperation (Robins and Pattison. skills). Speciﬁcally. In other words.08 and 5. team cohesion and cooperation and so. The ﬁndings about respondents’ perceptions regarding the somewhat neutral impact of staff turnover on information/knowledge retrieval are also interesting.of ways.). Indeed. To some extent. Clearly. Departing employees tend to be replaced by others who bring with them diverse and new knowledge. 1986) who argued that once an employee left others. this may be due to the fact that the largest proportion of Greek tourism enterprises represent family owned and operated ﬁrms. as respondents reported that staff turnover has a very insigniﬁcant impact (5. based on the researchers’ speculations. both formally and informally. (skills and experience). respondents from insular regions reported a less favourably (4.08) impact of staff turnover on information/knowledge renewal than respondents from the peninsular regions (3. n. Although this ﬁnding is optimistic. Finally. Unfortunately. whereby the type and interdependency of social/work relationships may be unimportant.71).d. but of course they are not beneﬁcial when considering their importance for achieving better work collaboration. while help them also to create a competitive advantage (Burt. it might not be so positive. the ﬁnding that staff turnover is not believed to trigger further turnover is not consistent with the previous ﬁndings provided by Krackhardt and Porter (1985. For example. However. they socialize but they are also tied in with the organizational roles. Such new knowledge stocks have the potential to challenge and inform the current practices of tourism ﬁrms. This alludes to the fact that the ﬂow of employees caused by staff turnover is bound to change or affect the type and interdependency of employees. it is disappointing that respondents have not recognized and/or even exploited yet the fact that the employee inﬂow/outﬂow caused by staff turnover can also contribute to the renewal of knowledge. This is because departing employees are replaced by new ones who carry new knowledge (e. This ingoing ﬂow and renewal of knowledge has the tendency to increase the innovative potential of a ﬁrm.g. 1992). Findings about the strategies to manage staff turnover Retaining staff appears to be the most frequently stated strategy to be used for managing staff turnover (49 per cent) (Table V). the quantitative nature of the study does not give any indication as to why this may be the case. job titles and tasks. as it may exist because ﬁndings also showed that the possibility for social/work relationships to cause staff turnover was reported to be neutral. who were friends of the departing employee. Although this ﬁnding is consistent with previous literature arguing that businesses have been trying to manage turnover Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 349 . the weak social / work relationships in tourism ﬁrms may have a positive impact in terms of not creating additional staff turnover.02 for insular and peninsular respondents) on idea generation and the possibility for staff turnover to trigger further turnover. the majority of the Greek tourism enterprises appear not to have grasped these positive aspects of staff turnover. they trust each other. This is not surprising since ﬁrms and respondents in peninsular regions represent businesses usually operated by a hotel chain and are therefore subject to more systematic or professional management practices as it was found by Chalkiti (2005). followed.
since retaining staff knowledge has been reported as a popular strategy to manage staff turnover (Hjalager and Andersen. this ﬁnding should be treated with caution as previous research investigating the knowledge management processes of Greek tourism ﬁrms showed that the latter do not have a good understanding of the notion. The competitive importance of this management philosophy has also been realized in the tourism industry. This ﬁnding is disappointing.IJCHM 22. Tourism is a conducive environment to do so. Although it is still encouraging that even few Greek tourism enterprises retain knowledge.. 2001). Rowley and Purcell. 2006). casual employment) for better aligning labour supply with unpredictable demand levels while also controlling for labour costs (Burgess. 2001. Indeed. It has been argued that employees pursue tourism employment to satisfy their ego-social motivations such as pursuing travel. Despite these limitations of staff retention strategies. shift work.3 350 through personal development programs. 2001). ﬁnancial rewards. retaining staff may not be feasible and business practices aiming to achieve it may represent wasted efforts and resources. Focus on knowledge retention strategies is rooted and has evolved from researchers who argued that businesses that want to remain competitive ought to differentiate. one can suggest that in light of the inevitable labour dynamism of tourism. because human resources are a critical source of change (Riley and Lockwood. Wildes. Strategies to manage staff turnover (respondents were allowed to give more than one answer) Insular Strategies to manage staff turnover Staff retention Knowledge retention Both Total respondents n 12 1 11 24 % 50 4 46 100 Peninsular n % 19 5 15 39 49 13 38 100 Total n 31 6 26 63 % 49 10 41 100 . store and manage knowledge. as employees are constantly exposed to new experiences. tourism ﬁrms frequently engage in ﬂexible labour strategies (e. Sigala. the practice and the implications of Table V. Tourism businesses can be referred to as labour dynamic environments. training. 1997. 2003). since more and more tourism ﬁrms are currently adopting and using electronic databases and knowledge management systems for enhancing their knowledge retention strategies (Bonn and Forbringer. new people and new cultures. 2002. McCabe and Savery. unfortunately. Therefore. the effectiveness of staff retention strategies remains still questionable (Woods et al. and improved recruitment processes (Cho et al. This can be attributed to the way tourism businesses are structured to deal with irregular and unpredictable demand and seasonality create and explain this labour dynamism (Knox. 1997). lock-in customers and streamline processes through knowledge management strategies. 1992.g. 1998). Knox. 2006). Chapman and Lovell. lifestyle and working experiences (Mohsin. Moreover. 2002). The scepticism about the effectiveness of staff retention strategies could be attributed to the labour dynamism of tourism.. 2007. 2006. only 10 per cent of the respondents claimed to use knowledge retention strategies for managing staff turnover. respondents were not asked to elaborate further on the process and/or technologies they use to externalise. Today’s ultramobile tourism labour could also explain this dynamism (Hjalager and Andersen. 2007).
which also explains the fact that Greek tourism ﬁrms are still at infant steps when it comes to knowledge management processes (Chalkiti. Nonetheless. For example. the externalised and recorded knowledge stored and managed by ICT applications is of much lesser value compared to the contextualised and people speciﬁc tacit knowledge (Peroune. Indeed. The same pattern of strategies for managing staff turnover is also found in respondents located in both regions. staff retention strategies are the most popular answer (50 per cent) by respondents located in insular regions. family managed ﬁrms operating mainly during the summer season during which period ﬁrms have to earn their annual income. 41 per cent of respondents reported that they use a combination of staff and knowledge retention strategies. The study of staff turnover is not new however the study of staff Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 351 . as this ignores the human. The focus on staff retention strategies is not surprising when considering that this sample represents mainly small. This is surprising. However. There is clearly a higher percentage of businesses in peninsular than insular regions that have adopted knowledge retention strategies. This is consistent with Chalkiti’s (2005) ﬁndings showing that large businesses owned and/or managed by hotel chains have a better understanding of knowledge management strategies. staff retention strategies still dominate the practice for addressing staff turnover. such businesses tend to adopt professional management practices and they also have the purchasing parity to adopt cutting edge ICT applications to implement knowledge management processes. ﬁrms are also more interesting in reducing their operating experiences having also in mind that availability of local labour supply is limited. Chalkiti and Carson. there is literature suggesting it should be adopted with caution (e. staff retention strategies have also been reported as the most frequently used strategy (49 per cent). Nevertheless. while the use of both strategies attracted 38 per cent of the responses and the use of knowledge retention strategies 13 per cent. which could be attributed to the different proﬁle of ﬁrms as it has been discussed above.g. Respondents from insular regions that have reported the use of knowledge retention strategies represent hotels managed by a hotel chain and of a large size (50-249 employees). although there is limited evidence in the literature favouring the adoption of a combination of staff and knowledge retention strategies to manage staff turnover.d. it can be concluded that they are less stressed to exhaust their resources to solely retaining their staff. despite the beneﬁts of retaining knowledge. Discussion of ﬁndings This research paper investigated the phenomenon of staff turnover in the Greek Tourism Industry. Indeed. social and personalised aspect of tourism enterprises. When looking at the ﬁndings provided by respondents in peninsular regions. In this vein. but again respondents were not asked to further elaborate on how they actually use a combination of knowledge and staff retention strategies to manage staff turnover. it is believed that tourism businesses should be better off by pursuing such a mix of strategies.knowledge management. literature suggests the detrimental effect towards a sole focus on managing tourism knowledge through information and communication technologies (ICT).). because when we consider that such ﬁrms face less seasonality and have better accessibility to a greater pool of tourism demand and labour supply. Analytically. 2005). Moreover. n. 2007).
staff turnover raises recruitment and training costs. In brief. through 63 usable questionnaires. p. 1982. 2007. ﬁndings demonstrated that: staff turnover is typical across a variety of tourism sectors and occurs mostly at operational or front ofﬁce departments. according to network theory.. According to the ﬁndings. . enterprises are unsophisticated when it comes to evaluating the consequences of staff turnover. incurs time delays from recruiting to training and to ultimately creating a proﬁcient member of staff. staff turnover was found to have an insigniﬁcant effect on idea generation.3 352 turnover in a tourist destination like Greece has been neglected. and a neutral effect on information/knowledge rejuvenation and social/work relationships. hotels. Stalcup and Pearson. These ﬁndings are surprising when one considers the arguments from the innovation or social network literature. Burt (1992) argued that movements of people create disparate knowledge stocks that can be connected to foster innovation. and . the variations of staff turnover across jobs at different organizational levels. seasonality and low ﬁnancial returns were considered to be the most important causes of staff turnover. which in turn contribute towards the quality of services delivered to customers. the existence of variations of staff turnover across a variety of tourism sectors. the causes of staff turnover. the strategies adopted to manage staff turnover. peer relationships affect individual staff. Similarities in regional ﬁndings have been reported regarding: . and inseparable) which not only makes employees important but it also makes their interaction. heterogeneous. . 1994)? It might just be that “. this paper provides useful insights regarding the reality of staff turnover issues in the Greek tourism industry. 2001). how viable can such strategies be when considering that: . In juxtaposition. . However. 2002). Evidently respondents also claimed that these staff turnover problems affect service quality. Therefore. A few similarities and differences in the ﬁndings have risen when comparing and contrasting the feedback obtained from respondents located in peninsular and insular regions. 2000. .. and . simultaneous. . the consequences of staff turnover. With regards to social/work relationships.g. . For example. . 190). resources committed to reduce turnover are often not well spent” (Dalton et al. their interrelationships and a team’s behaviour. staff cannot be eradicated (Pizam and Thornburg. Wildes. 2007). the employment destinations of departing employees. coordination and synchronization absolutely critical for the delivery of quality based service experiences. Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry is no different relative to what other countries or previous studies have shown (Birdir. Indeed. tourism and service sector ﬁrms deliver products in a distinct way (e. . ﬁrms do not possess the skill set and the funds to adopt the technological infrastructure to manage knowledge (Olsen et al.IJCHM 22. Greek tourism ﬁrms manage staff turnover by using staff and knowledge retention strategies (McCabe and Savery.
Furthermore. consequences and strategies to manage staff turnover are Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 353 . Also. but an insigniﬁcant impact for staff turnover in insular regions. Findings regarding the causes of staff turnover conﬁrm the previous argument. Indeed. and . the unsociable working conditions and the demand for tourism labour were reported to have a neutral or insigniﬁcant inﬂuence on staff turnover.The ﬁnding that high staff turnover exists in a variety of sectors (e. the frequency. Respondents from the peninsular regions viewed the low ﬁnancial returns as a more signiﬁcant factor than respondents from the insular regions. The ﬁndings suggest that the causes. accommodation. Respondents also reported that staff turnover varies across jobs at different organizational levels. Respondents in peninsular regions recognized more the positive impact of staff turnover on information/knowledge renewal. The very few respondents claiming the use of knowledge retention strategies represent considerably large hotel properties (50-249 employees) managed by hotel chains. consequences of staff turnover. career development. operational or front ofﬁce staff tends to leave their jobs more often than their peers in managerial or back ofﬁce positions. idea generation and the possibility for staff turnover to trigger further turnover were considered as insigniﬁcant consequences of staff turnover. emotional labour. in peninsular regions where the majority of the businesses operate throughout the whole year. job satisfaction. . Respondents from both regions claimed that the most popular employment choices for departing employees are other tourism enterprises or a complete exit from the industry. working hours. Staff turnover seems to occur more frequently at ﬁrms located in insular regions than in peninsular regions. Additionally.g. this paper adds to the existing literature regarding staff turnover by providing preliminary data from the Greek tourism industry. tour operators) suggests that the Greek tourism industry seems to be challenged by a certain and predictable level of staff turnover. The effect of staff turnover on social/work relationships. seasonality was considered as a factor having a neutral impact on staff turnover. staff retention strategies appear to be a popular strategy for addressing staff turnover by respondents located in both insular and peninsular regions despite the fact that the inherent labour dynamism of the tourism industry may render such strategies as inefﬁcient. alternative forms of tourism) of these two distinct tourism destinations. social/work relations. accessibility) and the competitiveness of the tourism product (non diversiﬁed vs. Differences in regional ﬁndings have been reported regarding: . Theoretical and practical implications From a theoretical perspective. the causes. career development was reported to have a neutral effect on staff turnover in peninsular regions. These differences of ﬁndings between the two regions have been mainly attributed to the different context and proﬁle of respondents – ﬁrms located in these two destinations. For example. Respondents from the insular regions also highlighted the negative impact of their tourism seasonality on the levels of staff turnover. which could be attributed to the different levels of seasonality found in these two regions that are caused by two factors: the geographical differences (proximity.
regular staff rotations amongst job positions and enhanced empowerment. these forms of ﬂexible working (e.3 354 similar to what has been reported in the literature (e. proximity to markets). job enrichment in the form of empowerment and multi-skilling) were also found to be appropriate and beneﬁcial to . First. The second stream of measures that can be developed for addressing staff turnover should focus on micro-level interventions that tourism ﬁrms can adopt and apply internally. three major types of strategies could be used to address staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry. First. Although staff turnover appears to be an important challenge for Greek tourism businesses. the diversiﬁcation of the tourism product and so. Gustafson. the extension of the operating season of the destinations.g. These measures could be clustered into three categories. Indeed. However. 2002). tourism ﬁrms should recognise that several changes can be realised by fostering inter-ﬁrm collaboration aiming to develop and promote diversiﬁed products of their tourism destination. Nevertheless. the provision of public subsidies for more frequent and reliable (air and see based) connections between the islands and tourists’ generating urban hubs. the consortia of tourism ﬁrms should create human resource management services that would be able to address the problems related to the characteristics of the ﬁrms.g. societal and geographical context whereby tourism ﬁrms are located and operate. in other words. and by inﬂuencing and guiding local policy decision procedures and makers.IJCHM 22. the tourism jobs and the local labour markets. because such practices can lead to the following positive outcomes: peer-to-peer relationship building that can in turn enhance staff emotional bonding with the enterprise and its management team.g. there are notable differences between ﬁndings collected in insular and peninsular regions. the nature and the competitiveness of the tourist product (that in turn affects causing seasonality levels) and management and ownership proﬁle of tourism ﬁrms. and to develop a common pool of specialised staff that can be used for recruitment and staff rotation practices amongst consortia member ﬁrms.g. staff rotation. Based on these ﬁndings and from a practitioner’s perspective. given the fact that the majority of the Greek tourism ﬁrms represent small size and family owned and managed ﬁrms’ style such strategies may sound unrealistic. ﬁrms can adopt staff retention and human-centred strategies aiming to motivate staff to remain at the ﬁrm. ﬁrms can still apply and purposively seek the adoption of more human centred practices such as shift work. however. and cooperation between diverse personalities and experts that in turn provide more opportunities and possibilities for organisational and individual learning and development that are lacking and cannot be afforded by small ﬁrms. there is a need of macroeconomic interventions and regional policy and development planning aiming to deal with issues related to the economic. the creation of consortia of tourism ﬁrms for overcoming the size and the lack of resources and economies of scale/scope of small tourism ﬁrms in order to be able to offer continuous professional development and training opportunities to tourism staff. wine routes). Individual tourism ﬁrms may have limited power to lead and affect such changes. The focus of such practices could include: the development of local tourism clusters that would support the creation of thematic tourism products (e. These differences are attributed to the different geographical characteristics of regions (e. accessibility.
managers could have some direction on how to organise and design jobs or construct teams for enhancing ﬂexible working strategies to avoid hindering knowledge management strategies (Chalkiti and Carson. b) found that knowledge management is an unknown or even a non understandable concept to Greek tourism ﬁrms.small Greek ﬁrms because they were responsible for enhancing service quality and ﬁrm performance (Sigala.g. 2005. 2006). but its effects on staff turnover have not been fully measured and understood yet. Future research Findings are gathered from a small sample and so. retaining them is not a panacea but a blessing. Being relationally ﬂexible can help employees work with and within inﬁnitely changing teams to ensure critical performance activities such as knowledge management are not inhibited. staff rotation should also (and it is easier) be used by operators having multiple-properties that may also be located in different geographies. Indeed. this relational knowledge can help employees become relationally ﬂexible to the indeﬁnite compositional changes of teams. 2004. Indeed. social network theory) in order to investigate the consequences of staff turnover from a more holistic perspective.). while an increased ﬂow of individuals makes enterprises even more dynamic with the spawn of peer relationships that can in turn contribute towards more new service development opportunities. as ﬁndings showed that a critical majority of employees leaving a tourism ﬁrm still seek and get a job within the tourism sector.g. Nevertheless. it is obvious that much more work is required for demonstrating to Greek ﬁrms the business value of knowledge assets and the importance to implement strategies aiming to manage and exploit knowledge. as the former can investigate the relational. Obviously. structural and topological implications of staff turnover on staff attitudes. Knowing how peers relate and collaborate in a dynamic work environment. The latter is crucially important to Greek tourism ﬁrms. However. A better understanding of such repercussions will enable business to take more informed and cost effective decisions on whether to manage or work with Staff turnover in the Greek tourism industry 355 . as there will always be staff leaving the organisation. Future studies could also adopt a more qualitative approach and different methodological stances (e. the social network analysis offers an innovative and promising methodological perspective for studying staff turnover impacts. n. tourism ﬁrms should also adopt strategies aiming to manage the employees’ social context. Thirdly. ﬁrms would also need to design strategies aiming to retain knowledge residing in their employees. future research should seek to validate and replicate the study by using a larger dataset. which in turn boosts the enterprises’ potential to generate new ideas. This suggestion is an alternative to staff and knowledge retention strategies alone as it considers important for businesses to exploit the tenure of employees in light of inevitable labour dynamism.d. The ﬂow of people enables the ﬂow and revitalization of information.d. knowledge sharing processes taking place within organisational and inter-organisational (cross. In cases where employees under-perform. as Sigala and Chalkiti (2007a. when considering the relational impacts of staff turnover on teams of employees (e. which in turn means that ﬁrms could suffer from knowledge leakages to competitors.or within-industry learning) relationships.). Chalkiti and Carson. n.
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