Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research

http://jht.sagepub.com/ Career Decision Making and Intention: a Study of Hospitality Undergraduate Students
Ning-Kuang Chuang and Mary Dellmann-Jenkins Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research 2010 34: 512 originally published online 19 May 2010 DOI: 10.1177/1096348010370867 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jht.sagepub.com/content/34/4/512

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CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION: A STUDY OF HOSPITALITY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
Ning-Kuang Chuang Mary Dellmann-Jenkins Kent State University
This study determined factors influencing undergraduate hospitality students’ career intentions in the hospitality industry. A total of 360 hospitality students completed a survey that assessed career decision making, expected outcomes, and items focused on academicrelated decisions and demographic background. Logistic regression analysis revealed that career intentions in hospitality were significantly associated with students’ gender, work experience, transfer status, and outcome expectations in the industry. Rewards most frequently reported by students focused on intrinsic outcomes of the industry (opportunities for career accomplishment and self-fulfillment). Implications are discussed for education and industry along with suggestions for future research. Keywords: career intentions; decision making; intrinsic motivators; hospitality students

Retention of young professionals in the hospitality industry is an important concern (La Lopa & Ghiselli, 2003; Stalcup & Pearson, 2001; Walsh & Taylor, 2007). In response, researchers have sought to identify factors that could lead to greater retention of hospitality graduates in the industry. Walsh and Taylor (2007) surveyed 718 hospitality alumni (401 responded) from Cornell University and found that career commitment can be promoted with the presence of specific job features. These included competent leadership, challenging jobs that offer growth opportunity, and fair compensation. After surveying hospitality graduates from Michigan State University from 1982 to 1987, Knutson (1989) maintained that “understanding expectations, perceptions of reality, and resulting satisfaction are a major key in the retention effort” (p. 463), and “faculty and industry recruiters share the responsibility of helping students set realistic expectations of the industry” (p. 467). Similarly, Riegel (1985) asserted that faculty “play an important role in enhancing and developing a sense of commitment to a career in hospitality management” (p. 2). Boles, Ross, and Johnson (1995) speculated that identifying employees’ intentions to quit is useful to reduce turnover rates in the hospitality industry. These researchers examined applicants’ preemployment demographics and found education, overall work experience, and income were significant
Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, Vol. 34, No. 4, November 2010, 512-530 DOI: 10.1177/1096348010370867 © 2010 International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education

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Erdem. 2006. 2010 . Lent et al.. contextual. and intention) and their relationships with selected personal. 1994). This theory has been used to explain factors that affect students’ academic major selections. Knowing the values and expectations of young people allows hospitality programs and faculty “to guide them into right employment settings and this will ensure person-organizational fit” (O’Reilly & Chatman. These five tasks were measured in our undergraduate sample by having students complete the Career Decision Self-Efficacy (CDSE) scale. 13). and other career-related variables. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 513 predictors of turnover intention. Current studies on hospitality students’ careerrelated behavior and intention while still in school are less common. goal development. STUDY OBJECTIVES AND CONCEPTUAL UNDERPINNINGS This study focused on a sample of hospitality undergraduate students and had three main objectives: First. 2007) and factors associated with retention (Boles et al. 1995. vocational information gathering. Self-efficacy is about individuals’ belief in their ability to carry out the following five tasks: self-appraisal. Cho. In this study. and third. plans for the future. to examine whether the probability of hospitality students’ career intentions can be predicted by selected variables.. second. 142). 83).Chuang. Kusluvan & Kusluvan. 1989). Further understanding of hospitality students’ career decision-making process and career intentions has important implications for educators. Pavesic & Brymer. This scale has been used to evaluate the level of confidence a person possesses when making career decisions (Lokan. and Hackett (1994) provided a conceptual frame for our study. 1961). and career persistence behaviors (Lent et al. problem solving. Self-efficacy serves as a mediator to motivate people to achieve a special goal (Feltz & Payment. 2005). to explore motivations for pursuing a hospitality career. Self-Efficacy This concept dominates career development theories and may be best described as “Can I do this?” (Lent et al. and goal selection (Crites. 2005. Self-efficacy affects choice goal behavior either directly or indirectly (via outcome expectations. we focus on three central components of the SCCT (self-efficacy. career interest exploration. as cited in Aycan & Fikret-Pasa. The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) developed by Lent. Jenkins (2001) noted that “relatively little research has been undertaken to establish hospitality students’ perception of the industry” (p.sagepub. Brown. 2003. 1984). 1994. 2003. outcome expectations.. to determine factors that affect their career-related decisions. 1995. Performing these five tasks is essential to achieve career maturity. The SCCT highlights three social cognitive variables and how they interrelate with personal and contextual variables during the career development process (Lent et al. p.. p.. O’Leary & Deegan. such as pursuing a career in the hospitality industry. Walsh & Taylor. & Johanson. experiential. researchers have focused on hospitality graduates and alumni’s career expectations (Altman & Brothers. 1986.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. 1994). In general. 1994) and is a predictor of career choice and Downloaded from jht.

p. In addition. p. Ellis. In this study. and alternative options) and involves activities such as (a) testing occupational preferences and interests. Career Intentions This factor is defined as “the degree to which a person has formulated conscious plans to perform or not perform some specified future behavior” (Warshaw & Davis. 1986). 1994. Prior research has identified relationships between vocational exploration and intention. Vocational exploration was measured in our undergraduate sample by having students complete the Vocational Exploration Commitment (VEC) scale. Outcome expectations affect choice goal behavior directly (Lent el al. p. expected outcomes toward a particular career option can be physical (e. we examine whether outcome expectations are predictive of hospitality students’ career intentions. school levels.g. 1989). we examine whether self-efficacy is predictive of hospitality students’ career intentions. Both self-efficacy and outcome expectations are predictors of “career intentions and persistence behavior” (Betz & Voyten. Blustein et al. including career performance accomplishments. 238) and may be best described as “If I do this.sagepub. Vocational Exploration This factor refers to a process that an individual engages when choosing a career (Blustein. 1994). 1994.. 214). In this study. 2010 . vicarious learning. Bandura...g. or self-evaluation (e.. self-efficacy.. 2000. work conditions). power). p. 1997..514 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH vocational behavior (Bandura. 1989). In this study.. self-evaluation plays “a particularly influential role” in career interests (Lent et al. and play a role in motivating human behavior (Locke & Latham.. 2002). p.. Perceptions and employment expectations in the hospitality industry were measured in our undergraduate sample by having students complete the Career Outcome Expectations (COE) scale. This process begins with exposure to various sources of information (about one’s self. & Devenis. 1989). Outcome Expectations This factor is an important determinant of “career interests and choice goals” (Gore & Leuwerke. 90). what will happen?” (Lent et al. Outcome expectations are both the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that career choices and goals are based on (Lent et al..g. Self-efficacy can be developed and modified through four sources.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. achievement. Previous research indicates that students’ intentions to choose an occupation associated with their majors can be predicted if their career beliefs and interests match Downloaded from jht. (b) evaluating suitability and obtaining feedback. social persuasion. 1997).g. 83). 1994). 179). (c) establishing career goals and overcoming barriers and obstacles. and emotional arousal (Bandura. and background factors (e. 1985. the vocational world. 1986). Among these three. and (d) engaging in and committing to a career choice (Blustein et al. social (e. are predictors of career exploration intentions (Betz & Voyten. 1986). we examine whether vocational exploration behaviors are predictive of hospitality students’ career intentions.

we examined whether the following variables predict the probability of hospitality students’ pursuing careers in the hospitality industry: gender and age (personal variables). 1994).. 2000). Therefore. Eimers & Mullen. & Brandt-Williams.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. The rationale for selecting these variables is literature based. vocational exploration. and career intention (Blustein et al. 1994. 1995. academic and transfer status (contextual variables)... 1989). Contextual. 1997. Vocational exploration commitment also fosters one’s progression in attaining career choices with the involvement of various activities (e. GPA.g. (2002) assert that personal and contextual variables help “constrain or enhance personal agency” in the career choice process (p. prior research indicates that industry experiences have positive influences on hospitality students’ career aspiration and expectations (Christou. this decision is part of the career development process (Blustein. Hypothesis Guiding This Study Both self-efficacy and outcome expectations promote one to engage in particular career activities and direction (Lent et al. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 515 their career goals (Gore. Personal. 1996. & Givon. Schultheiss. Current 4-year institutional data suggest that “approximately one-quarter of students seeking bachelor’s degrees transferred from their first institution and continued their education elsewhere” (National Center for Educational Statistics. Benin. freshmen students’ ideas about future careers are easily confirmed by information and training in their chosen majors. contextual factors. Osipow. The impact of academic status was explored on hospitality students’ career intentions by comparing the responses of freshmen and seniors. Townsend. Blustein et al. Finally. 1989). Lent et al.Chuang. and testing one’ vocational options.. In this study. 2003). for example. transfer status is becoming an increasingly important issue in higher education. 1991). it is not unreasonable to assume that hospitality Downloaded from jht. 1995). indicates relationships existing between other personal variables. These two groups were chosen because each is in a transitional stage and making major academicand career-related decisions. In this study. and learning experiences play important roles in influencing one’s career exploration and career development process. career intentions were measured by students’ response to one item measuring whether or not students plan to work in the hospitality industry after graduation. reflecting. and school levels. 62). Although freshmen students’ concerns often focus on declaring an academic major.. 1992). Lent et al. This study builds on prior research (e. and internships/work experience in the industry (experiential variables). personal characteristics. Prior research. Swanson & Tokar.. A single item was used to determine students’ transfer status. exploring.sagepub. however. According to Gore (2002). Furthermore. 2002. 1999. Okun. little attention has been directed toward whether this variable affects hospitality students’ career decision making. including age. 2010 ..g. and Experiential Variables According to the SCCT. although gender has been a main focus in the career development research (Gati. 1995) by exploring the impact of transfer status on hospitality students’ career intentions. McMahon & Quinn.

g. work experiences) are identified in prior research and emphasized in Lent et al. which are shaped or influenced by the personal. These factors help organize and guide one’s behaviors (e. persistence) but rather to determine if career-related and background variables predict the probability of hospitality students’ career intentions. this study focuses mainly on the latter stages of choice behaviors and examining the effects of these selected career-related variables on students’ career intention behaviors. persistence). The pilot test was conducted to solicit students’ comments on the wording and understanding of the questions.. Lent et al. Participants A convenience sampling method was used in this research. and how these variables affect the quality of performance behaviors (e. and active in career exploration will have stronger career intentions.69 to .. contextual. (1994) examined the formulation of career goals.. (1994) suggests that people act on their beliefs. Less is known about vocational exploration—review of Lent et al.516 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH students with high levels of self-efficacy.’s (1994) work suggests that this variable was not empirically tested in their model. to developing career interests.. we hypothesize that hospitality students’ career intentions can be predicted by self-efficacy. 1994). school status. to structuring career goals. Because most students in our sample had declared their major. Using different analytical approaches. positive career expectations.’s SCCT model. to engaging in a particular career. Additionally. outcome expectations. and judgment. ranging from . experiential variables. The choices goals identified in the SCCT model range from choosing an academic major. the interaction of social cognitive factors with personal. outcome expectations) and selected background variables (age.. it seems reasonable to include this variable when predicting the probability of hospitality students’ career intentions because exploration behaviors are one of the activities that lead one to establish career goals or initiate intended behaviors (Lent et al. 2010 . Guided by Lent et al.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. However.91. Lent et al. These variables (self-efficacy. Prior to the distribution of the questionnaire. Item–total correlations for all the measurements were acceptable. and experiential factors. METHOD Pilot Test A pilot test was carried out with 64 students enrolled in undergraduate hospitalityrelated courses at a Southwestern university. contextual (academic and transfer status).sagepub. gender. and selected personal (gender and age). Lent et al. and surveys were administered to 400 undergraduate students enrolled in a hospitality program at Downloaded from jht. vocational exploration. A confirmatory reliability analysis was performed during the pilot test. students were notified that their participation in the study was strictly voluntary. 1994). and experiential variables (work experiences). expectations. contextual.g.g. It is not the intention of the present study to examine the process of career goal formulation or quality of intended behaviors (e. career intentions.’s (1994) research.

Luzzo. 7 = Always true about me).. goal selection. 2010 .” “I worry about my ability to make effective educational and career decisions. includes 19 items on a 7-point scale (1 = Never true about me. Forty of the surveys were not used because the participants did not return the survey. developed by Blustein et al. . and Vocational Exploration Commitment (VEC) scale. 1995). career planning. The additional items are based on Bandura’s outcome expectations theory (1986). Johns & McKechnie. The original scale was modeled after an outcome measure designed by Hackett.” and example items include “allow me to succeed in a well-paying job” and “allow me to succeed in a job I like doing. Measures Students who volunteered to participate completed a self-report survey that included three measures: Career Decision Self-Efficacy–Short Form (CDSE-SF) scale. Casas.” and “make me worry about my interpersonal/people skills (reversed item). expert interviews. and “Persistently work at your major or career goal even when you get frustrated” (problem solving). developed by Taylor and Betz (1983). Gilmore & Hsu. . 1997.” In this study. This scale has been used to evaluate the level of confidence a person possesses when making career decisions. “Talk with a person already employed in a field you are interested in” (occupational information). Consequently. 1995. Betz. were not hospitality majors. Altman & Brothers. Career decision self-efficacy is associated with levels of career decidedness (Betz & Luzzo.sagepub. The CDSE-SF. Example items are “Decide what you value most in an occupation” (self-appraisal). . “Make a career decision and not worry whether it was right or wrong” (goal selection). The measure used in this study begins with a statement about “A career in the hospitality industry would. includes 25 items with five subscales: self-appraisal. Knutson. Students used a 5-point response scale (1 = No confidence at all.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. and Rocha-Singh (1992) consisting of 12 items that assessed engineering students’ expectations. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 517 the same university. career intentions were measured by one yes/no format item assessing whether or not students plan to work in the Downloaded from jht.” and “I am not very certain about the kind of work I would like to do. The COE assessed students’ expectations of pursuing a career in the hospitality industry. or not all of the questions were completed. 1994. the measure was expanded to 22 items by the first author on a 7-point scale (1 = Strongly disagree. our analysis was based on 360 surveys.” The VEC scale.Chuang. 2001. Jenkins. and prior research on students’ perceptions and employment expectations in the hospitality industry (e.” Examples of additional items were “allow me to achieve a balance in my personal and professional life. and problem solving.” “I find myself changing academic majors often because I cannot focus on one specific career goal.. (1989). “Get involved in a work experience relevant to your future goals” (career planning). In this study. 1989). 1996) and a good predictor of career decision making (Betz & Voyten.g. 5 = Complete confidence). COE scale. 1995. 7 = Strongly agree). occupational information.” “provide me with good opportunities for ownership/entrepreneurship. Example items include “I have a good deal of information about the occupational fields that are most interesting to me.

Third. χ2/df = 2.001. showed all measurements had an adequate fit to the data: CDSE (χ2 = 700. COE.65. the comparative fit index (CFI). RMSEA = . academic and transfer status. p < . (b) use of career-related facilities. NFI = .96.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26.52. gender. Prominent themes were then used to guide categorize and quantify (i.097.7.. frequency) students’ career motivations. the normed fit index (NFI). ethnicity. Results of the goodness-of-fit indices. The high coefficient alpha indicated that the measurement used in this study was highly reliable.76. respectively.98. χ2/df = 4.92.92. the minimum standard for basic research (Nunnally. 1996. grade point average. COE. activities. Gore & Leuwerke.sagepub.963). The values of coefficient alpha for each scale were . p < . root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA] = . TLI = . Items focused on four general areas: (a) age.001. and VEC (χ2 = 668.97. CFI = . including the Tucker–Lewis index (TLI). Data Analysis Three methods of data analysis were performed in this study. .97.94. no = not planning to enter the industry).39. However. RMSEA = . 2000. 1978). Cronbach’s coefficient alpha was computed to assess the internal consistency reliability for the CDSE-SF.956). NFI = . a series of bivariate correlation analyses was conducted to test the relationships among career-related variables. TLI = . logistic regression analysis was performed to test the hypothesis and identify background and career-related variables that significantly predicted the probability of students’ intention to work in the hospitality industry after graduation.94.e. 2000). and (d) current and past work experiences in the hospitality industry.97. Second. (c) person’s influence when choosing a college major and future career. NFI = . 2010 . This question encouraged students to express their own views and opinions about pursuing careers in the hospitality industry.43. Students were also asked to complete a 12-item semistructured survey assessing demographic and career-related background information. and VEC scales have been confirmed in earlier studies (Betz.986. Students were also encouraged to respond to one open-ended question regarding career motivations: “Please indicate the major reason(s) why you are considering a career in the hospitality industry after graduation?” Students took an average of 15 minutes to complete the entire self-report survey. χ2/df = 4. Betz & Luzzo. Each respondent’s comments were read several times by the first author to identify prominent themes.09. COE (χ2 = 1217. and other indices. TLI = .068. CFI = . p < .518 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH hospitality industry after graduation (yes = planning to enter the industry.978). The alpha coefficients for the data exceed reliability of . and VECS. a maximum likelihood confirmatory factor analysis was employed in this study to assess the validity of the combined instrument by using structural model. students’ responses to one open-ended question were thematically analyzed. and .001. First. and services. Measurement Quality The reliability and validity for CDSE-SF. Associates read students’ Downloaded from jht. CFI = .

The mean age of students was 20.sagepub. and 54% transferred from other majors within the same university.2% senior levels. Asian (2.1%. the largest proportion of students reported food and beverage-related segment preferences (29. followed by Hispanic (7. and high school counselor or teacher (1. n = 36).7% junior. 17% transferred from other 4-year universities. Black/African American (3. and 12 themes (reasons) emerged from the analysis. Consensus was achieved after discussion. Regarding specific career choices.3%. n = 5).82 years).2 %) were transfer students and about half (52. more seniors indicated they were not planning to enter the industry than freshmen (7.7%.51). Factors That Affect Students’ Career Decisions Career decisions can be reinforced or refined through role models and persuasion from important others. and their mean GPA was 2. Almost half (46. others (10%.9% freshmen. n = 4). followed by hotel and other accommodations (17.2%. general studies (6%). A frequency was computed for each theme and ranked from most reported to least.1%. n = 11). followed by the deciding influence being friends (16. 2010 . n = 29).4%. and (b) one third had transferred from business administration (30%). The majority of students (91.1%. n = 310). agricultural sciences/natural sciences (4%). 4%). architecture (2%). n = 60).3% were completing a minor in hospitality management. The largest proportion was White/Caucasian (86.5%. FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION Sample Description The sample was almost gender balanced (178 females and 182 males) and included 13.7%) were hospitality management majors.7%). and 8.Chuang. The qualitative method allowed us to explore specific reasons that motivate students to the hospitality industry and complement information that may not be found in quantitative data. n = 9).5%) were currently working in hospitality-related establishments.1%.93 years (SD = 2. Downloaded from jht. mass communication (5%). engineering (13%).8%). n = 166) reported that they decided on their own. 22. Therefore. The prominent themes were then compared with Mayo’s (1997) findings to assess whether students had realistic sense of the industry. more than one third (37.2% sophomore. The majority (83%) of students intended to pursue careers in the hospitality industry after graduation. an average of 13 work hours per week. n = 48). and 29.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. A total of 394 responses were provided.1%. followed by art/sciences (28%). 34. Among the 360 participants. employer (8. human sciences (4%). premed/nursing (6%). Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 519 responses independently and discussed the emergent themes with the primary researcher. Breakdown of transfer students revealed that (a) 30% students were from community colleges. n = 26). participants were asked who had the most influence on their decision of an academic major. Although almost equal proportions of freshmen and senior students reported that they would pursue careers in hospitality. and education (1%). and American Indian/Alaskan Native (1.96 (SD = . parents/siblings/relative (13.7% vs.

8) (4.3%). with the influence Downloaded from jht.4%). n = 145) reported that they held the most influence in making their career decisions.sagepub.1) (2.6) (13.2) (0.2) (9.8) (4.8) (1. Influences on students’ career decisions were then reviewed based on the personal (gender) and contextual variables (academic status. followed by the deciding influence being faculty (16.0) (23.9%) followed and then parents (12. Other deciding influences for male students included friends (11%) followed by faculty (10. n =18).2) Ranking 1 7 2 4 3 5 8 6 9 Participants were then asked who had the most influence with regard to their decision on a future career in the hospitality industry. parents/siblings/relative (11.3) (1. 20 years later.5) (19. n =25). and others (5%.9%.1) (3.5) (7. friends (6. Again. Knutson’s (1987) survey of college students showed that seniors’ perception of faculty’s influence on their employment decision was lower than that of freshmen.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26.7) (10.1) (3. faculty (21. Gender comparisons revealed that large proportions of both male (45. n =41). the largest proportion (40.4) (8.8) (0) (0) (0) (0) Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 6 6 6 Senior (N = 97) n (%) 35 14 8 9 18 4 3 2 2 (36.520 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH Table 1 Students’ Career Decision by Academic Status Freshmen (N = 42) n (%) Myself Faculty Friend Parents/guardian Employer Others Coworker Brother/sister Relatives 25 8 4 3 2 0 0 0 0 (59.3) (18.8%) students reported they decided on their own. Employers were ranked fourth by both male and female groups (9.3%. n =58).6%) and female (34. employers/coworkers (11.5) (6.6%.1%. 2010 .3) (11.9%).1) (4.0) (9. The same result was found in this study.8) (4. 9.2) (12.2) (1. n =42).1) Ranking 1 3 5 4 2 6 7 8 8 Table 2 Students’ Career Decision by Gender Male (N = 162) n (%) Myself Friend Faculty Employer Parents/guardian Others Brother/sister Coworker Relatives 83 20 19 17 11 7 2 1 1 (51.4) (9.4%.6) Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 Female (N = 167) n (%) 62 5 39 16 23 8 3 7 2 (37. see Tables 1 and 2).1) (14.6) (4.1) (2.0% vs. for female students.6) (0.

com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. n = 306) responded to an open-ended question regarding their motivations to pursue careers in the hospitality industry. As shown in Table 4.2% 3. career fair.” and “Love the industry and this is what I enjoy doing. the most frequently reported reason for pursing a career in the hospitality industry focused on “people interactions” (n = 82). Furthermore.4% 8. and so on.4% 4.” and “the reward is great when helping people. 2010 . the department career service center (21%) and class instructors (21%) were equally helpful.1% 19. Awareness and use of career resources have been found to reflect maturity in career decision making (Lokan.4% 21.4% Note: Others = students organizations.8% 0.0% Senior (n = 56) 41. the influence of faculty members on students’ decision to work in the hospitality industry was relatively high compared with other influences.1% 21.” The nature of the work. employment opportunity.” “I love to serve people. for senior students.” The second and third commonly reported motivations for pursuing a hospitality career focused on “personal interests and fits” and “passion for the industry.Chuang.4%) were twice as likely as males (10.sagepub. Approximately one third of the students (37%) reported they used on-campus career services. students in this study were asked if they used any career-related services and which services did they find the most helpful in their career decision making.5% 14.5% 2. fifth. As shown in Table 3.5% 9. 1984).” “This is what I always wanted to do. the college advising and recruitment office was reported most useful (57% of freshmen and 41% of seniors). Also. Regardless of the decline. respectively.5% 4. Students’ comments reflected that they (a) valued the variety of job choices and alternative options in the hospitality industry and Downloaded from jht. Career Intentions and Motivations A large number of student (85%. and sixth motivations. Therefore. Twelve themes emerged regarding their expected outcomes as well as the rewards they anticipated in a hospitality career.4% 7. Our descriptive findings suggest that students’ use of career-related services was associated with academic status and gender.” Examples of students’ comments reflecting these themes include “It fits my personality. for pursing a hospitality career.3% 10.8% 5.9% 1. Examples of students’ statements illustrating this theme include “I love to interact with people.2% Female (n = 178) 49.4% 10.4% Male (n = 182) 57.4% 8. of faculty members decreasing for seniors when compared with freshmen.4%) to seek career assistance from faculty. females (22. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 521 Table 3 Usefulness of Career-Related Services Indicated by Students Facilities College advising/recruitment office Department career services Class instructors Others University career service center Use two or more services Freshmen (n = 21) 57.3% 10.0% 9.1% 22. and work environment were reported as the fourth.

. passions. The correlations among the social cognitive variables were consistent with those of Hackett et al. To identify which outcomes the students valued the most. a descriptive analysis was run on the COE scale. their comments revealed that they were pleased with their career choice in hospitality and placed more value on intrinsic outcomes than extrinsic. fit my personality/career goal) The industry (e. The results revealed that hospitality students in this study valued self-evaluation outcomes (mean score 5.534. p < .g. fun. Examples of physical outcomes include monetary incentives and pleasant working environment.’s (1992) study. this is what I able to do.g. love the industry. and self-evaluation.g. Relationships among career self-efficacy. p < . and vocational exploration). Relationships Among Career Variables A series of bivariate correlation analyses was computed to test relationships among each pair of career-related variables (self-efficacy.01) and vocational exploration commitment (r = ..79). Career decision self-efficacy (CDSE) was found to be positively related to career outcome expectation (r = .52) and physical outcome (M = 4.sagepub. social.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26.522 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH Table 4 Summary of Students’ Reasons for Pursuing a Career in the Hospitality Industry Reasons to Pursue a Hospitality Career People interaction (e.g.. Examples of self-evaluation include fulfillment and job satisfaction (Bandura. outcome expectations. Downloaded from jht. love travel. and the fun environment. the field. 1997). a variety of job options.. ownership) Environment (e.547. enjoy it) Nature of the work (e.. indicating that selfefficacy was moderately related to outcome expectations and interests among engineering students. Whether it is the nature of the work or personal interests that attracted students to this industry.01). 2010 .. changeable) Monetary reward (e. The summary is presented in Table 5. decent pay in this industry) The degree or the major Personal capability (e. fast pace. 1986. love serving/helping people) Personal interests and fit (e. entertaining.g..g. outcome expectations. jobs are easy) Past/current work experience Family business Job security/stability Frequency 87 52 48 47 47 45 23 17 10 8 7 3 Rankings 1 2 3 4 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 (b) appreciated the unique ownership opportunity. always new.g. Both social and self-evaluation are intrinsic outcomes.g. the changeable and hands-on work nature. followed by social outcome (M = 5. whereas social outcomes include social approval and power.6 out of 7) the most.. The COE scale includes three subcategories: physical. love cooking) Employment opportunities (e.

VEC 1 — 2 . CDSE 2. The results also showed that 96.547** . Odds ratios are the probability of students with career intentions in the hospitality industry over students without such intentions.g.524** — Note: N = 360.4% of the students with hospitality career intentions and 41.. 1992). from career-related variables and students’ background variables. Β (Beta) refers to “the regression coefficients or weight for each variable that is included in the equation” (Mertler & Vannatta. COE = career outcome expectation.. and indecision were also reported among university students (n = 350) enrolled in introductory psychology courses at a Midwestern university in Betz and Voyten’s research in 1997. Wald statistics. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 523 Table 5 Summary of Correlations Among All Career-Related Variables Variables 1. 315). Hackett et al. COE 3. these results confirmed that this model was highly accurate (86.534** — 3 . Wald statistics indicate the significant value of predictor variables on students’ career intentions. 1997. Logistic regression analysis was performed. Vocational exploration was also found to be correlated to self-efficacy and outcome expectations. 2002. p.001. intentions. **p < . that can significantly predict the probability of students’ intentions to work in the hospitality industry after graduation. This data analysis decision was made because the number of subjects in these two groups was relatively small when compared with the number of junior (n = 125) and senior students (n = 104). 314). 1989. Career Variables That Predict Students’ Career Intentions This study used logistic analysis to identify factors.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. p < . These findings are consistent with prior research (e.01.Chuang.’s (1994) assumption that self-efficacy and outcome expectations are correlated to each other. Thus.05. 2002.sagepub. Downloaded from jht. VEC= vocational exploration commitment. The resulting regression model did significantly predict student career intentions. The summary of Beta. our data support Lent et al. Blustein et al.5% of the students without intentions were correctly classified.2. CDSE = career decision self-efficacy. Logistic regression was used rather than discriminate analysis because logistic regression “requires no assumptions about the normal distribution of the predictor variables. Cox and Snell R2 indicated that 27% of variation in the dependent variables (career intentions) can be accounted for by all predictor variables (career-related variables and background variables) included in the equation. and odds ratios are all included and presented in Table 6. linearly related. Betz & Voyten.. 2010 . *p < . Together. with freshmen (n = 50) combined with sophomores (n = 81). or equal variances within each group” (Mertler & Vannatta.8%) in classifying subjects according to their career intention behavior. p. χ2(37) = 94.

current employment status. COE = career outcome expectations. Therefore.088 Wald 0. 2010 . The greater career intentions found in female students is consistent with prior research.394 0. adjusting to new curriculum). Christian.655 0.062 4.48 −.g.40 0.724 1. even though transfer students may aware of possible challenges of the new environment (e. course-credit transfers.235 0.290 9.860 0. The social exchange theory characterizes people as rational thinkers who constantly make cost–reward evaluations.011 Odds Ratio 1.174 0. Specifically.973 8. In addition.008 −1. which may result in stronger career intention related to the new major.813** 0.12 0.181 1. they may be exposed to more career information.008 0.423 −.029 0. This persistence may result in higher levels of career maturity and intentions to the industry.265 2.916 −. Students who scored high on the career outcome expectations scale also reported stronger career intentions to work in the hospitality industry after they graduate.002 0.123 Note: GPA = grade point average.53 6.01.. VEC = vocational exploration commitment.030 1.sagepub.714** 0.273 7. students who currently worked in the industry showed stronger intentions than their peers who were not employed at present.378 3572.148 0. CDSE = career decision self-efficacy.336 4.010 16.524 2.520 0.303 5. **p < .69 2. their decisions to transfer may require stronger internal motivations. and Hoff (2003) found that college female students are more persistent in completing career exploration and preparation tasks.525* 9. whereas transfer students had stronger career intentions than nontransfer students.002 0.739 172.524 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH Table 6 Summary of Logistic Analysis Variables in the Equation Age GPA Gender Academic transfer status Persons’ influence in choosing a hospitality major Current employment status Not employed in the hospitality industry Hotel/lodging Food and beverage Attraction/entertainment CDSE COE VEC Academic status Freshmen/sophomore Junior Constant B 0. females had stronger career intentions than males. and career outcome expectations.com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26.115 −. The findings on transfer students suggest that as a result of choosing multiple majors.426 0. Table 6 shows that career intentions to work in the hospitality industry after graduation are associated with students’ gender. rebuilding social relationship.09 1. *p < . Downloaded from jht.364 1.05.602 0. transfer status. Wessel.050* 0.

According to Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (1986). these researchers also posit that self-efficacy and outcome expectations “uniquely affect behaviors depending on the nature of a particular activity” (Lent et al. Savicki. 1999).com at Oxford Brookes University on October 26. 1994. industry managers and coworkers). Thus. Career intentions. refer more to students’ motivated behavior than performance quality.Chuang. individuals’ confidence in their career-related capability can be enhanced through performance accomplishment or encouragement from significant others (e.” “advancement.sagepub. 164). This finding is consistent with Kusluvan and Kusluvan’s (2003) datajht. flexibility. p. female students were found to show stronger intentions to work in the hospitality industry than male students. they may be more likely to pursue a hospitality career that then leads to stronger career intentions to the industry. First of all.g. 179). Successful past or current internship experiences are examples of performance accomplishments and they have been found to be effective in strengthening or supporting students’ persistent behavior to their chosen career (Bandura. For example. Although self-efficacy was viewed by Lent et al.” and “one of the most important job features focuses on challenging job that offers growth opportunities” (p. enjoy serving people.84). Finally.” “autonomy.” and “sense of achievement” (Aycan & Fikret-Pasa. 1997). Second. IMPLICATIONS FOR HOSPITALITY EDUCATORS AND INDUSTRY Our results hold three main implications for both hospitality educators and industry. and commitment. enjoy what you do. if students perceived that the industry offers work values they desired. measured in the present study.” “opportunities for personal and professional development. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 525 The greater career intentions of students with work experiences suggest that these experiences may help them build realistic expectations of the industry. This result is inconsistent with Lent et al. 1986). Their responses matched with industry professionals’ views regarding qualifications for hospitality graduates in the 21st century (Mayo. hospitality educators may find our regression analysis on factors affecting undergraduate students’ career intentions worthwhile when planning curriculum... 2003. (1994) as the predominant causal factor associated with the quality of performance.’s (1994) findings in that self-efficacy is more influential than outcome expectations in determining career-related behaviors. These researchers concluded that “money alone does not motivate a young manager” (p. dedication. hospitality students in this study identified themselves as the most influential factor in making career decisions and also reported intrinsic rewards as more valuable outcomes or motivators for pursuing careers than extrinsic. students who scored higher in outcome expectations also showed higher levels of career intentions. Implications of this finding suggest that hospitality firms continue to create industry positions that promote “self-reliance. more so than males. and included service attitude. 2010 their personality Downloaded from that females. This recommendation is consistent with Walsh and Taylor’s (2007) data from hospitality alumni at their respective university. Industry may also find our qualitative data on students’ motivations for pursuing a hospitality career valuable. However. 84). outcome expectations may “make independent contribution to the motivation and behavior” (p. “see . “the strongest driver of commitment is the intrinsic nature of the job.

and the confidence to exhibit leadership skills. 92). 344). 1989. This recommendation is consistent with prior research demonstrating that these experiences strengthen students’ realistic expectations and perceptions of the hospitality industry (Christou. they must realize that along with “the fun and people-interaction environment” (as cited from students in this study) come serious responsibilities. hospitality educators are encouraged to continue to (a) build their female students’ confidence by exposure and mentoring by successful women leaders in the industry and (b) direct attention to barriers that confront females in their professional life. Pauling. & Faye.526 JOURNAL OF HOSPITALITY & TOURISM RESEARCH and identity as congruent with working in the tourism/hospitality industry” (p. DeMania. Therefore. 92). they comprised 37% of total sample). Therefore. those who have should be encouraged. Ensuring that students have realistic knowledge of the industry is not the sole responsibility of hospitality educators and may not be sufficient for students to succeed professionally. Our regression analysis also revealed that students who had experiences (work or internship) in the hospitality industry showed stronger career intentions than students who do not. Therefore. Thus.05). based on prior research. Mentoring and orientation programs tailored to this sometimes underestimated student population are also recommended (in this study. This finding is consistent with Lent et al.’s (1994) assertion that outcome expectations are a major contributor to “motivating career choices or goals” (p. educators are encouraged to continue to refine hospitality internship programs that promote students’ professional growth and leadership as well as realistic expectations of the industry.. 90). 1989. difficulty in making decisions. Knutson. An increase in the retention and graduation rates of transfer students may positively affect the industry. 1999. 1995). hospitality educators are encouraged to continue to assess whether their students’ motivations to pursue careers in the industry are realistic. These authors also found that female students “perceived promotion opportunities for women as more limited compared to males” (Kusluvan & Kusluvan. 2003. Although not all students have strong intentions/motivations in the hospitality career. p. Although students may have realistic knowledge about this industry. 1994). transfer students may progress through the remaining stages of the career planning process in a foreclose fashion (Bluestein. 2010 .com at important that on October 26. hospitality educators are encouraged to continue to provide advising assistance that further develops transfer students’ realistic expectations of their future in the industry. In addition. Female hospitality graduates who are better prepared to successfully tackle gender-related professional challenges are more likely to experience career longevity in the industry. Therefore. transfer students were found to show stronger career intentions to work in the industry after graduation than nontransfer students. p.sagepub. The third implication focuses on our logistic regression revealing that outcome expectations significantly predicted students’ career intentions (goals) in the hospitality industry (p < . However. it isOxford Brookes University industry friends and partners Downloaded from jht. McMahon & Quinn. The greater intention to commit to career choices found among transfer students may be because of having “a clear sense of one’s occupational preference” (Blustein et al. We believe that these are the keys to sustain recent graduates in the industry and promote them to next level of management positions.

First.Chuang. large-scale. and other learning experiences). this study’s results may be more meaningful to hospitality educators than to industry. 81). when examining hospitality students’ career decisions. This investigation also provides a foundation to build on for future research on hospitality students using social-cognitive variables and exploring their relationships with personal. Fourth. Both hospitality programs and industry can work together to help students not only build realistic knowledge of the field but also to (a) instill/enhance key hospitality attitudes while they are in school.g. 1994). Industry is also encouraged to extend its focus from training potential managerial trainees to cultivating future leaders. Limitations and Future Recommendations Four key limitations need to be acknowledged. Once hospitality students have a vision and have clear goals regarding their future career. and social-economic conditions that can influence individuals’ career choice (Lent et al. (1994). culture. the convenience sampling method used in this research limited the generalizability of our results. The full model involves a wide array of personal attributes. Third. Our data provided theoretical meanings or explanations to students’ career expectations and behavior toward their future jobs. barriers. In summary. and experiential variables. future researchers.g. they are likely to be more committed to their jobs.. and support from industry professionals. contextual. although our data revealed that transfer students have greater intention to pursue careers in the hospitality industry. Thus. (b) improve their transformable leadership skills. programs will fulfill their goals of preparing future hospitality managers and industry will have identified and attracted the right people (hospitality graduates) that may in turn reduce their turnover rates. once implemented. Second. Future studies with samples drawn from campuses across the country are recommended. Investigations are needed that examine the reasons influencing students to transfer among or between majors. are encouraged to include other personal and environmental variables (e. this study is limited in its scope to students’ future career performance. aptitudes. and intention behaviors from a social-cognitive perspective.sagepub. future research is needed to substantiate our findings. This sampling approach would include students from multiple hospitality cultures (e. Brookes University on October 26.com at Oxford . the present study contributes by providing a conceptual understanding of hospitality students’ career decisions. According to Lent et al. our investigation was limited to students enrolled in one hospitality management program. 2010 Downloaded from jht. career choices may be revised by a variety of additional factors which extend beyond the scope of the present framework” (p. Business and Family and Consumer Sciences) and would enable researchers to investigate the impact of program culture and professional emphasis on students’ career motivations. choice.. Therefore. Dellmann-Jenkins / CAREER DECISION MAKING AND INTENTION 527 are willing to offer opportunities to nurture and mentor hospitality students. Therefore. career expectations. Finally. it is important to acknowledge that this study tested selected aspects of the SCCT. nationwide studies are recommended to substantiate our findings. behavioral influences. and career goals. However. Thus. despite these limitations.. social support systems. and (c) be sensitive to the culture of industry. “socio-cognitive factors are important to career entry and also influence subsequent career choices and adjustment.

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