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HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment
School of Hospitality & Food Manufacture, Thomas Danby College, Leeds, UK, and School of Tourism & Hospitality Management, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK
Keywords Human resource management, Commitment, Recruitment, Selection, Training, Development Abstract Explores human resource management (HRM) and the established relationships between HRM, the management of ``commitment cultures'', the recruitment and selection procedures, and the training and development practices considered necessary to develop employee commitment. The literature suggests that organizations adopting an HRM approach desire employee commitment, have in place sophisticated, objective recruitment and selection methods in order to achieve this, and have structured training and development systems to encourage commitment to the organization. Shows, however, that while there is a clear desire for commitment, little evidence is found of contemporary recruitment and selection methods commensurate with this aim. In contrast, there is strong evidence of relatively sophisticated training and development systems congruent with an HRM approach. Concludes that currently there is little to suggest a shift towards HRM in UK hotels

HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 403
Received January 2000 Revised/Accepted May 2000

Peter J. McGunnigle

Stephanie M. Jameson

The HRM concept The concept of human resource management (HRM), as a more effective and productive approach to managing organizations' key assets, its people, has attracted enormous attention and stimulated significant debate among academics and practitioners (Storey, 1992). It has generated a huge volume and diversity of literature over the past decade and has even created a new vocabulary (Blyton and Turnbull, 1992). The concept has caused considerable controversy (Guest, 1987, 1989; Storey, 1989, 1992, 1995a, 1995b). Much of the debate has been about the meaning and status of HRM, for example, is it a ``map'', ``model'' or ``full blown theory?'' (Noon, 1992), or even whether it exists at all as a concept (Armstrong, 1987). The literature (Guest, 1989; Legge, 1989; Storey, 1992, 1995b) suggests a range of definitions from loose interchangeability with personnel management (PM) or industrial relations (IR) to a distinct approach, aimed at integrating the management of people into overall business strategy and organizational goals (Poole, 1990; Salamon, 1987; Storey, 1995b). There is, as yet, no universally accepted definition and Torrington (1989), for example, suggests:
Like most innovations [HRM] tends to be whatever the person speaking at the time wants it to be (p. 60).
Employee Relations, Vol. 22 No. 4, 2000, pp. 403-422. # MCB University Press, 0142-5455

While Keenoy and Anthony (1992) have noted:

Employee Relations 22,4 404

Most commentaries on the [HRM] literature start with bewilderment and end in frustration (pp. 237-8).

Some writers, however, have tried to define HRM more tightly in order to carry out empirical research. Storey (1992), for example, proposes three ``models'' of HRM referred to as ``normative'' (prescriptive of an ideal approach); ``descriptive'' (identifying developments and practice in the field); and ``conceptual'' (a model for classification). At normative level, he suggests few differences between HRM, PM and IR, except that HRM appears more ``team development'' oriented, has a significant role for line managers, and seeks to manage ``organizational culture''. At the conceptual level, however, he identifies 27 points of difference from PM/IR (Storey, 1989, 1992, 1995a, 1995b). He suggests that these can form the basis for a classificatory approach to research as, within these ``dimensions'' and ``key levers'', there are practical actions or behaviour indicative of differences between an HRM or IR/PM approach. Notwithstanding these conflicts of definition, there appear to be some common themes of HRM within the literature, one of which, employee commitment, is regarded by many as the most dominant (Armstrong, 1987, 1993; Legge, 1989; Noon, 1992; Poole, 1990; Storey, 1995b; Watson, 1996). Indeed, Guest (1995) has argued that it is the central distinguishing feature of HRM from IR/PM. This theme will be revisited later in more detail. HRM research in hotels Although there have been many studies on personnel practices and human resource issues in the UK hotel sector (Guerrier, 1987; Guerrier and Lockwood, 1989; Price, 1994; Watson, 1996; Worsfold, 1989), the extent to which HRM, using the tighter definition, has been adopted in the sector does not appear to have been extensively explored. There have been several studies suggesting that the management of human resources in hotels is underdeveloped and lacking in sophistication. Two of these (Kelliher and Johnson, 1987; Croney, 1988) were conducted over ten years ago, but one, however, has recently been revisited and updated (Kelliher and Johnson, 1997). Most research in this sector proposes that there is little evidence of HRM implementation in hotels. Kelliher and Johnson (1997), for example, have concluded that: ``. . . there is scant evidence of any real shift towards a model of HRM'' (p. 330). Watson (1996) maintained that: ``. . . few hospitality organizations are taking a strategic approach to management of human resources'' (p. 104). Price (1994) has similar views, stating that the research suggests for hotels: ``a dearth of sophisticated human resource management practices'' (p. 57). More recently, however, Hoque (1999) has conducted quantitative research into HRM in the UK hotel industry. Using data from a sample of large hotels he discovered that the reported usage of practices associated with an HRM approach was higher in the sample than within a comparable sample of manufacturing establishments. Based on this research, Hoque argues that there

complex area of study. to attempt to cover all of these . 1990. This study attempts to go some way towards addressing this. It can be argued that these studies. rendered much of it inappropriate for use within a hotel context. however. 1996). 1995). While it is appreciated that organisational culture itself is a large. however. Watson and D'Annunzio Green.. is typified by collectivist IR procedures in a pluralistic setting. therefore. but rather the underlying intention and philosophy which is important.is evidence of an increased level of interest in HRM within the hotel industry and suggests that this may possibly be the case within the hospitality industry as a whole. warn: . . involved several researchers and multiple evidence sources. Guest. 1994. 63). Storey's (1995b) conceptual model was examined for its suitability. training and development. Storey. Even with such detailed studies. The first difficulty is that this model was developed largely from research in mainstream UK industry which. 1995b). (1996). for example. The literature suggests that commitment and culture change are encouraged through the application of specific practices within the areas of recruitment and selection. it is not possible to be precise in stating whether an organization has adopted HRM or not. Focus of the study In order to establish comparators between HRM and IR/PM for this study. Atkinson. HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 405 Reflecting that it is not necessarily how many practices make an HRM organization. 1995. The second difficulty in using this model in its entirety was the size and complexity of the interrelated ``dimensions'' and ``key levers''. Ezzamel et al. with more closely regulated labour relationships than are typical of the UK hotel sector. notwithstanding reported changes (Guest. it is not possible to consider HRM and employee commitment without some reference to it. not available within the scope of this project. some problems were identified in terms of size. complexity and appropriateness of the ``dimensions'' and ``key levers''. Snape et al. 1990. within the scope of this research. there is a danger of defining the content and boundaries of HRM too tightly and/or in assuming that its meaning is exhausted by those who prescribe it and describe it (p. Sisson. while valuable. The original research was carried out over a prolonged period. It would have been inappropriate. did not address HRM practices using the tighter ``Storey'' definition. reward systems and employee participation/involvement/empowerment (Guest. This. 1995a. . beyond the scope of this research. 1995. HRM and commitment Many authors have identified that one of the defining characteristics of HRM is that of managing organisational culture to achieve employee commitment (Anthony. 1995.

Williams et al. while Watson and D'Annunzio Green (1996) suggest that the development of training programmes is necessary for achievement of culture change. It was necessary. complex concepts that do not appear to figure as prominently in the hotel-specific literature. It can be seen. therefore. . because of the high levels of labour turnover experienced by the hotel industry. considerable emphasis continues to be placed on the recruitment and training functions. Training and development are also closely associated with culture change and employee commitment in much of the HRM literature. they have not been addressed within this study. therefore. and Snape et al.4 406 issues in depth. . Within the hotel-specific research into HRM and personnel practices. they argue that selective recruitment of people with the desired attitudes is one of the main methods commonly used by management to effect culture change. 1997) have suggested that it is in fact the central function of hotel HRM: At least in part. Guest (1987). 321). (1993) identify training as necessary in changing organizational cultures. 45). while Williams et al. has defined it as one of the policy areas necessary to achieve a new culture. hotel industry personnel could almost be said to be just about recruitment and training (p. . 129-30). 105). Within the general HRM literature recruitment and selection is frequently identified as essential in achieving culture change and employee commitment. . recruitment was found to be a dominant activity (1997. p. for example. p. Kelliher and Johnson (1987.Employee Relations 22. . recruitment and selection and training and development are identified as the primary functions of the personnel or human resource manager. (1993) have identified that: if recruitment is carried out thoughtfully and systematically it is possible to exert a strong influence on the ``incoming culture'' and this can be a powerful influence on those already working in the organisation (pp. in themselves. Furthermore. (1995) also argue that the development of appropriate cultures must begin with recruitment and selection of: ``employees with the required attitudinal and behavioural characteristics . 1987): .'' (p. As the areas of reward systems and employee participation/ involvement/empowerment are. to narrow the focus towards areas identified most prominently within the general HRM literature and those areas of greatest relevance within the specific context of UK hotels. that the areas chosen for this study have both prominence within the general HRM literature and relevance to the hotel industry. Guest (1987) cites this as one of the key policy areas necessary to achieve a new culture. It was decided on this basis that the most appropriate areas for examination were recruitment and selection and training and development. and in their earlier work (Kelliher and Johnson. the areas which dominated a decade ago (1997. 330).

within the literature. considered by some to be little better than chance (Makin and Robertson. A number of methods. To determine the converse. Williams et al. 1997. therefore. with many techniques being recommended for achieving this aim. behavioural event and episodic questioning techniques. forward-looking and based on training needs identified within the appraisal system. personnel specifications. biodata analysis. Such methods are used alongside what are considered by writers such as Price (1994) to be established good practice in objective recruitment and selection. are regarded as congruent with achieving better predictive ability than the traditional interview. are being used by employers to control the ``type'' of employee recruited. occupational personality questionnaires (OPQ). Given the broad agreement that commitment is a key indicator of an HRM approach. The literature further suggests that organizations operating within an HRM paradigm would have appraisal systems which were integral with performance measurement. Ogbonna (1992) suggests that selection is the most widely cited HRM ``policy'' for achieving commitment. then it is unlikely that the organization has adopted an HRM approach. such as testing. Storey and Sisson (1993) also identify that increased use of psychometric testing has been driven by the desire to get the ``right'' people on board. Training and development Storey (1992) describes the area of training and development as the ``litmus test'' of HRM. application forms and interviews.. stating that few in his study would pass. such as job analysis. 1995) have identified a link between recruitment and selection and the development of appropriate commitment cultures. nor of practices consistent with its achievement. to assess behavioural and attitudinal aspects. was to establish if there was evidence within a sample of corporately-owned UK hotels. The training and development policy and procedures would be expected to be structured. it is reasonable to suggest that if there is no evidence of commitment being sought. HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 407 an explicit desire for employee commitment. Storey (1992) suggests that systematic techniques. Legge. which contributes to the management of organisational culture. however. 1986).Recruitment and selection Many writers (Dale et al. would require a much more detailed and prolonged study. job descriptions. (1993) have discovered that many companies use psychological techniques to select staff who will conform with the existing or desired commitment culture. . These include psychometric testing and profiling. The purpose. They would also have a bearing on the nature and quantity of development training given. and that recruitment and selection and training and development are integral with this goal. of: .

4 408 . the use of systematic recruitment and selection methods which aim to predict ``fit'' with ``commitment cultures''. Indeed. 17). 17). likely to encourage further commitment. the extent to which quantitative study and measurement methods are useful in developing its understanding. they suggest: Tighter designs are a wise course. for researchers working within well-delineated constructs (p. This involved setting out question areas while allowing flexibility within interviews so respondents could expound their views in a relatively unconstrained way. understudied phenomena. such as Ingram (1997). Miles and Huberman (1994) have suggested that ``loose emergent'' and ``inductive'' structures may be appropriate for undefined concepts and where researchers are: . . Whereas. The concept of HRM would appear to be posited between these extremes and. some writers.Employee Relations 22. or very complex social phenomena (p. In the case of this research. is questionable. The sample The field research was carried out from April to June 1998 within a sample selected from hotels owned by the top 50 hotel groups ranked by ownership of bedroom stock. 94). in the context of UK hotels. Methodology As HRM is not a precisely-defined concept. and the use of formal appraisal systems linked to training and development activities. it was felt that qualitative methods would yield more valuable results. . Research supports a view that such companies represent a substantial section of the industry sector and that such hotels would be likely to influence developing practice in the industry. and for the interviewer to further explore and probe particular statements or lines of enquiry. it was decided to adopt a semi-structured interview approach. have suggested that qualitative methods are increasingly being recognised as appropriate for study in this sector: The academic community is beginning to come to terms with qualitative methodologies as valid techniques with which to map the inherent richness of hospitality and tourism activities (p. as some structure was already established in prior research for evidencing HRM type practices. we think. as Kelliher and Johnson (1997) have stated: . . exploring exotic cultures. where the focus is on attitudes and practices or behaviours that may be indicative of the adoption of a particular philosophy or approach to managing people.

568 bedrooms. The mean number of full-time employees was 85. which represents approximately 1 per cent of the total rooms held by the top 50 groups. have noted: Hotel number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Number of rooms 85 135 214 120 160 244 206 152 136 116 Full-time employees 30 80 70 50 75 120 96 160 71 93 Part-time employees 10 60 40 20 41 50 24 30 47 40 HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 409 Note: Full time is counted as contracted for 25+ hours per week Table I. 15 indicated willingness. Initial data on the size and ownership of corporately owned hotels and their contact details were obtained from published sources (HCIMA. Grouping and coding Using qualitative methods frequently requires data to be grouped and coded in order to draw useful conclusions or inferences from the study. The smallest number of full-time staff employed was 30 and the greatest was 160 (this hotel was operating in the luxury market where higher staff to guest ratios are common). four or five AA/RAC stars. Profile of the hotel sample . 1998). Miles and Huberman (1994). of these. with the majority being in the four-star category. with the mean being 36. All hotels were contacted directly and. All of the properties in the sample were classified as three. the literature suggests that to approach such research without some idea of how data will be grouped is inherently problematic. Part-time staff employed ranged from ten in the smallest unit in the sample up to 60.. . A sample of 10-15 hotel general managers (GM)/HR specialists was considered appropriate for the study. Twenty hotels were chosen from different companies on the basis of substantial size (over 80 rooms) and nearest geographical proximity. Company head offices were then contacted to obtain information on units located within an acceptable travelling distance from the research base. 321). for example. the literature suggests they are likely to be influential in determining the ways in which human resources (HR) are managed (p. While the essence of qualitative methods prescribes freedom from pre-conceptions to allow natural evidence to surface. but only ten were able to take part within the available timescale. . The sample profile in Table I shows the largest hotel in the sample with 244 rooms and the smallest 85. The mean size was 156 rooms and the sample had a total of 1.

. so it's behavioural qualities . hotel 5). 65). . I'm looking for someone who's got the right personality. the same for management (HR manager. personal. rather. (GM. we know what the job descriptions require . Another was very specific in his most important quality for all staff: . . . Initial groups and data codes were developed and refined during and after the fieldwork. . however. directly not related to the hotel industry . in cases where there was disagreement the GM was the final arbiter. . initially involving the personnel or human resource ``specialist''. it was clear that what was considered ``the right attitude'' was a commitment to the guest. after carrying out a third interview. ``personality'' and/or ``commitment'' was the primary one sought in selecting employees. I want people to be committed to their most immediate superior . . the team. . . who then referred suitable candidates to the line manager. This qualitative research was never intended to be representative of the entire sector. . these behavioural qualities were seen as key requirements for new employees. In every case in the sample. with a smile in their basic body language.Employee Relations 22. . no . the criterion of the ``right attitude''. the line manager. . however. was to investigate current practice to determine if there is any evidence of adoption of HRM policies and practices within these companies that might indicate a move towards an HRM philosophy and to identify areas for further research. Without exception. .qualifications essentially just don't come into it now (GM Hotel 1). The final decision was usually joint. hotel 6). Responses when asked ``What do you look for most when selecting new staff?'' included: At the moment. one respondent admitted that procedures were less structured for operative staff: We don't use personnel ``specs''. if I was recruiting an HR officer I would have a much stricter person spec and job spec. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to analysis. . how they reacted to situations themselves in the past. from my point of view. placed higher in importance than technical skills or experience. . the aim. the hotel and/or the company. as natural groupings began to emerge. Evidence of recruitment and selection procedures In most of the sample the recruitment and selection procedures involved consideration of an application form against a job or person specification to screen applicants. we don't do it strictly against this . however. Results The extent to which employee commitment was sought Employee commitment was often referred to by respondents as ``attitude'' and ``personality''. In all cases there was a double interview.4 410 Creating a start list of codes prior to fieldwork is helpful: it forces the analyst to tie research questions or conceptual interests directly to the data (p.

A further three GMs (hotels 5.In only one case was the line manager permitted to override the advice of the HR specialist because the ``empowerment'' culture of the organization demanded this: We had an example a couple of weeks ago when a line manager wanted a staff member to work in a managerial role and we had a slightly different view to her however. having some of the episodic technique applied to them. Isn't it amazing . felt they had improved their selection procedures considerably. He actually said in the interview ``so I set fire to these curtains''. it was not too . HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 411 Evidence of more contemporary recruitment and selection procedures was found in only two hotels (2 and 7). or ``what did you do when you did that?''. in the end we allowed her to take who she wanted on because she felt strongly about it and in the end she is fully aware that if it doesn't work out she's the one that's made the decision (GM. It's far better than when you're talking to them in a theoretical question you know ``why do you wish this job?'' ± ``because I want to be the best chef in the world and I'm totally dedicated''. hotel 6). . but those who had used other contemporary methods. looked at their competencies and behaviour and from that mapped out an ideal profile for the successful post holder (GM. These involved the ``episodic questioning technique'' (hotel 10) and a ``personality inventory'' (hotel 6). when this did not happen. He also believed it revealed an individual's character: . . . however. . you will find out whether or not that person is ``bulling'' you and I think nine times out of ten it will be accurate. . While both used a two-interview approach. Successful candidates from this process were referred to the line manager for a second interview to assess compatibility with the team. from a hotel piloting the ``episodic questioning'' technique. hotel 7). we had one guy who actually told us he set fire to a set of curtains because he had felt aggrieved about what had happened to him. as there are less people around these days and we're trying to get them to be accountable and stand by their decisions. hotel 10). What we've done is take a sample of people who have been successful in a role or post. such as the episodic technique. believed it prevented candidates from misleading the interviewer: . it was clear from their responses that. or ``what happened when?'' . no evidence of psychometric testing or profiling for operative-level recruitment. the first interview was carried out by the HR specialist and involved either ``behavioural profiling'' (hotel 7) or ``behavioural event interviewing'' (hotel 2) to determine if desired behavioural indicators were present. and going through the whole questioning technique. because the guy was just reliving the situation? Although GMs obviously felt recruiting the ``right people'' was important. of giving examples of well ``how did you feel about that?''. The qualities are set out in a company package. . 6 and 10) indicated that such initiatives were being introduced in the near future or were currently being piloted. There was. . That's where they can ``bull'' us. . We're asking them to relate on the spot to experiences (GM. One GM.

That is then fed into a large training plan. It had even introduced a coding system which identifies when people are ready to move on within the year. for example one stated: This is something that is very close to my heart ± we are developing a sort of stepping stones approach to developmental training which shows all the levels and positions within the company and how one would make progressive moves up those levels .4 412 problematic. where a training needs analysis is done for individuals related to set criteria. Several references were made to ``procedures'' in place to address this during a probationary period. Considerable emphasis was placed on this by many GMs. hotel 10). this co-ordination into a ``master training plan'' was a weak area. This company. This involved. at the end of the day. . then there's a route to follow (GM. the process typically involved an annual or sixmonthly appraisal interview. In line with Kelliher and Johnson (1997). hotel 10). hotel 6). all hotels in this study had sophisticated appraisal systems for all employees and all GMs appeared knowledgeable of their operation. We'll go through this procedure again with you but we have to say if it ain't coming together we will part (GM. for example: For the individual we currently adopt a simple process. We also will be looking to the business plan for what skills we are going to need over the next year (GM. and if somebody's not performing. And: Yes so that at any stage along the way we can re-assess and say ``it doesn't look like it's coming together''. following completion of standard appraisal documents by employee and line manager. There was then agreement of future targets and identification of potential developmental training. the HR manager suggested that these fed into departmental ``succession plans'' held by line managers. move across to the same level or stay in current post ± to help encourage a more realistic view of progression for employees. there were less detailed documents for lower levels of employee. in many cases. and where you would need to come in at different levels and where you would start on that progress (GM. there's a disciplinary procedure. . In many cases it was left up to the line managers to make themselves aware of what developmental . .Employee Relations 22. In some hotels. however. They are assessed in an old-fashioned appraisal system. we will decide what courses to do then. Past performance was discussed and levels of achievement agreed. it has to be stated. . with little evidence of central collation or co-ordination. Typically. had probably the most sophisticated and strategic approach within the sample. For hotels in the sample. Evidence of training and development This is perhaps the strongest area of HRM-type practice identified in this study. GMs were able to explain in detail how ambitious operatives might move up the ladder to supervisory and management positions. hotel 8). for example: . GMs explicitly or implicitly indicating that staff not fitting would be dismissed. Within this hotel.

related to NVQ standards. statutory training. Within the sample. as one GM stated: There is then obviously things like health and safety. checklist-type competency measurement linked to training needs analysis and on-job NVQ training and assessment delivered in-house. And another that was moving over to such a scheme: . in the sample. and developmental training. There was a pattern. however. as in the case of one hotel offering NVQ qualifications in the workplace: we have NVQ assessors in the hotel and we do work with outside agencies as well (GM. well-structured procedures for appraisal. COSHH. fire training. The literature suggests that it is this last type which is most important in encouraging commitment. hotel 3). rather than developing budgets to meet long-term training needs. In some instances. fire. in all cases. training and development. which is the responsibility of the personnel department to make sure that is carried out (GM. All GMs referred to statutory/induction training which. of ensuring a level of competence in these skill areas within a specific probationary period. hotel 4). So all HODs are going to be going on courses to become assessors (Personnel and training manager. . the budget implications of training expenditure came over strongly in discussions and there appeared to be a common theme of making training provision fit budgets. appeared to be given a high priority.courses were planned and to get their people on them. with all hotels having at least annual appraisals and seven having them every six months. statutory/induction (health and safety. we are undergoing a big change at the moment where we are going to be offering NVQs to every member of staff employed with us. HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 413 The picture on skills training was also quite sophisticated with many GMs speaking of specific procedures for ``training needs analysis'' and ``checklists of competencies''. or about to be. . hotel 7). Overall there were detailed. by documented. The training evidence found in the sample also appeared to be predominantly job related with little focus on external development of staff or managers in non job-related transferable skills. these development training needs were transferred into a departmental or full hotel training plan collated by the personnel ``specialist''. with many managers identifying poor staff retention as hindering progress within the business: . In some cases standards were either currently. orientation). During the study it emerged that there were three distinct aspects to training. job related/skills training (linked to operational and/ or NVQ standards). Job-specific skills training appeared to be accommodated. usually within the first few weeks of employment. in most cases. hotel 4). The responsibility for statutory training rested largely with the personnel and training or HR departments. usually three months: I check the HOD training records every week ± they should have been completed within three months (Personnel and training manager.

when the supply of cheap operative labour is perceived as ample. In line with the findings of Kelliher and Johnson (1997). however. . however. the means by which such commitment was determined in recruitment and selection were largely incoherent or absent entirely. or allowing staff to leave. given the relative expense involved in accreditation and certification. we're always having to take a step back to re-address the training issue. there are weaknesses in the transfer of needs identified at appraisal into a ``master plan''. Training and development appear to be comprehensive. It may also be affected by the perpetually weak internal. despite its relatively poor predictive ability. Discussion While there was strong evidence of a desire for selecting committed staff. Perhaps the most significant finding was the number of implicit and explicit references to a ``safety net'' of ``procedures'' to follow. especially for line managers. . there were signs that more contemporary methods were being tried. . the breadth of training must also be addressed. hotel 1). It is going to be difficult to achieve commitment through training and development while there is such significant turnover of staff. if the selection was incorrect. yet these are a major part of their everyday responsibilities. which appears to be gaining momentum.4 414 . and dominant external. References to always having to catch up by ``Hotel GM 1''. with support from GMs. would suggest that there is a . or develop skills or develop the team as much as they could (GM. the extent to which this develops may be limited. may prove a barrier to widespread adoption of more sophisticated. The way in which getting recruitment and selection wrong is seen as being easily rectified through dismissal. or re-address the basics. objective recruitment and selection methods.Employee Relations 22. labour markets. and the willingness to use them to dismiss employees who are ``not working out''. motivation and the ``welfare'' role. If management development is to be effective. It is difficult to see what incentive there is for managers to use these relatively more expensive methods. instead of moving forward . and they're not taking the department as far forward as they could do. . there was widespread use of documents associated with objective recruitment such as job descriptions. they're having to go right back down the line and start re-training. and Price's (1994) evidence of reluctance to invest. The interview was still the dominant selection tool. The study shows there to be little emphasis on non job-specific development or ``soft'' competencies such as leadership. there was little evidence of more sophisticated predictive recruitment and selection methods. every single time the member of staff leaves. personnel specifications and application forms. however. is promising but. The link to NVQs. Recruitment and selection procedures in hotels in the sample were characterised by practices unlikely to be congruent with achieving predictive ``fit'' with a culture of commitment to the organization's goals.

provide little incentive for companies to develop strategies for strengthening their internal labour markets. quantity and efficacy of training may prove useful in developing such programmes to meet strategic business and employees' needs. despite apparent weaknesses in the strategic integration of developmental training. it would be inappropriate to directly compare his results with ours. This particular research does not come to the same ``bleak conclusions'' as Lucas (1995. Conclusion It would be expected that organizations adopting an HRM approach would exhibit the desire to recruit individuals displaying the ``right'' attitude and behaviour. are markedly in contrast to the approach of this research. however. the recruitment and selection methods used to achieve this fall some way short of those considered appropriate within an HRM paradigm. we cannot support his conclusion that. therefore. The extent to which the skills and developmental training offered meets the needs and aspirations of employees is of significant importance in retaining staff and increasing competitiveness and profitability. brought about by the ``churn'' of statutory and skillsrelated training. that while hotels in this sample consistently had an explicit desire to recruit committed people. This research supports Sisson's (1993) findings that only ``fragments'' of HRM can be found. 1996) and Price (1994). In addition.vicious circle whereby a disproportionate amount of training expenditure services the turnover and reduces. In contrast. It is possible that consumer and external labour market conditions. rather than replacing them. It also concurs with Storey's (1992) notion that HRM exists ``alongside'' traditional structures. 65). the picture on training and development appears somewhat brighter. appraisal. and the apparent willingness of management to dismiss employees. or allow them to leave when they have been selected inappropriately. the sum available for developmental training. This study suggests that there is little evidence of adoption of an HRM philosophy in corporately owned UK hotels in the sample. to fit with existing or desired cultures and to have in place recruitment and selection methods congruent with achieving this goal. and consequently. training and development practices would be expected to be sophisticated and comprehensive so as to further develop this commitment. Further research into levels. nor does it support Lucas' view that there is little evidence of any kind of HR approach in hotels. his sample size. despite evidence of some congruent practices. due to the ever-increasing importance of service quality (p. needed to service staff turnover. in relation to HR within UK hotels: This has increased dramatically in recent times. HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 415 . however. This study shows. As Hoque's (1999) methods of investigation.

in Blyton. . Dale. as Hoque suggests prior to his research: Considerable debate over the extent to which HRM has taken hold within the UK hotel industry (Hoque. November 1998. Our view supports Hoque's earlier notion that: Unanswered questions remain over whether there is any genuine substance behind the apparently widely adopted language and discourse of HRM in the hotel industry (p. Leeds Polytechnic. P. 66). Blackwell. Y. References Anthony. Creating Culture Change: The Key to Successful Total Quality Management. and Wilkinson. whom he (and many other authors) quote extensively. 63-80. Ezzamel. Armstrong. 121-30. Our research illustrates that it may still be the case that the willingness to adopt HR may be no more than ``an empty shell''. and Willmott. P. August. Managing Quality and Human Resources. (1997). Guerrier. Personnel Management. (1990). International Journal of Hospitality Management. Blyton. M. We propose that an industry which still exhibits (and accepts) exceptionally high levels of labour turnover and spends an inordinate amount of time on continual recruitment is an industry which has a long way to go before it can claim that it is encouraging a ``culture of commitment''. (1988). Atkinson. (1996). 6 No. HRM Strategy and Action. 3. Cooper. (1992). 1. P. We contend that many questions still remain unanswered. S. conducted their research in early to mid 1990s. or at least piecemeal and fragmented.. Human Resource Management Journal. Sage. Oxford. (1987). M. 72). IFS Publications. Vol.. P. we conclude that. Managing Culture. (1994). dilemmas and contradictions''. 1999. 6 No. (1993). P. and Turnbull. M. H. P. As such. p. ``An analysis of human resource management in the UK hotel industry''. Workshop paper for the International Association of Hotel Management Schools Autumn Symposium. Reassessing Human Resource Management. Bedford.D.E. Croney. and Turnbull. New York. NY.. (1987). (Eds).4 416 We would also take issue with Hoque's claim that the hotel industry has undergone change in recent years and that this change has included new ways of employing staff.Employee Relations 22. Lucas and Price. Leeds. A. We reject Hoque's proposal that much of the evidence portraying the hotel industry as backward and unstrategic dates back to the 1980s. ``Human resource management: a case of the Emperor's new clothes?''. Vol. B. P. pp. Buckingham. Armstrong. Wilkinson. pp. London. the UK hotels in our sample do not operate within an HRM paradigm. ``Hotel managers' careers and their impact on hotels in Britain''. ``Practices and practicalities in human resource management''. A. We suggest that they are the exception. at present. We accept that there are some hotel companies (mainly internationally owned groups) who have sophisticated and highly developed HRM policies and procedures. We predict that there will still be. Lilley. C. ``HRM: debates. Kogan Page. Open University Press.

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UK BD8 9BY. among the hotels than among the manufacturing companies. Human Resource Management Journal (UK). 64 (13 pages) Analyses the use of human resource management within the UK hotel industry. HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 419 The full text of any article may be ordered from the Anbar Library. Points out that this interest is as great. Concludes that there is considerable experimentation and innovation in terms of human resource management within the hotel sector. Compares the results with an existing survey of greenfield manufacturing sites. Telephone: (44) 1274 785277. 1999 Vol. Fax: (44) 1274 785204. Compares this with the extent that human resource management has been adopted in the manufacturing sector. Contact Debbie Brannan. if not greater. E-mail: dbrannan@mcb. New approaches to HRM in the UK hotel industry Hoque.co. Bradford. Also finds that the occurrence of specialist personnel managers within the industry is becoming widespread. Survey/Theoretical with application in practice Research implications: ** Practice implications: ** Originality: ** Readability: *** Total number: ********* Reference: 28AN109 Cost: £18 (plus VAT) . Surveys a range of large hotels about the integration of their human resource management policy with business strategy and the actual human resource practices they use. Also assesses the extent of the development of the personnel function within the hotels. Anbar Library. Each abstract is awarded 0-3 stars for each of four features: (1) (2) (3) (4) Depth of research Value in practice Originality of thinking Readability for non-specialists. 60/62 Toller Lane.Abstracts from the wider literature ``HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment'' The following abstracts from the wider literature have been selected for their special relevance to the preceding article. looking at the extent to which it has been adopted.uk quoting the reference number shown at the end of the abstract. The abstracts extend the themes and discussions of the main article and act as a guide to further reading. Finds that interest in human resource managment is high among large hotels and that they attach a high degree of strategic importance to human resource issues. 2: p. 9 No. K.

419 (25 pages) Studies the relationship between human resource management and organizational performance within the UK hotel industry. Surveys 660 large UK hotels (usable responses received from 209) about their human resource practices and business strategy (cost-cutting. staff flexibility and quality of work. British Journal of Industrial Relations (UK). if human resource management is effective in all hotels within the sector. and if implementation of human resource management is more effective if it is introduced as a coherent set of practices rather than piecemeal. and draws this together to analyse the relationship between human resource management. evaluates the relationship between human resource practices and organizational performance. human resource outcomes and business strategy.Employee Relations 22. Theoretical with application in practice/Survey Research implications: *** Practice implications: ** Originality: ** Readability: ** Total number: ********* Reference: 28AY959 Cost: £24 (plus VAT) HRM. Sep 1999 Vol. commitment and service quality in the hotel industry Worsfold. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (UK). performance. 37 No. 7: p. Calculates the relationship between human resource management and a number of human resource outcomes (commitment. coupled with a strategy that is focused on enhancing quality. quality-enhancing or neither). 11 No. 1999 Vol.4 420 Human resource management and performance in the UK hotel industry Hoque. 340 (9 pages) Examines the literature to identify the extent to which the concepts of human resource management (HRM) have been adopted by industry in general and the hotel industry in particular. 3: p. Concludes that high performance in the UK's larger hotels is related to the adoption of a coherent set of human resource practices. Concludes that there is poor uptake of HRM in the majority of hotels but that it is no worse than other manufacturing or service industries. K. among others). . P. Analyses if the effectiveness of human resource management in the hotel sector is reliant on the hotel's business strategy. Considers the extent to which the components of HRM have been integrated with business strategy and the links between HRM and performance and the relationship between HRM. commitment and service quality.

G.the use of personnel specialists. communication. 2: p. the strength of trade unions and the use of formal procedures. 4: p. 2000 Vol. recourse to grievance procedures. service quality and performance: a case study Hyams. finds that the hotel and catering sector is marked by 'individual' employee-led actions such as high quit rates. British Journal of Industrial Relations (UK). Case study Research implications: ** Practice implications: ** Originality: * Readability: *** Total number: ******** Reference: 29AN597 Cost: £12 (plus VAT) Industrial relations in hotels and catering: neglect and paradox? Lucas. Discusses other aspects of industrial relations in the sector . and Fryer. 12 No. performance appraisal. offers a case study of a luxury hotel in New Zealand which adopted a distinct set of HRM practices to support its strategic decision to enhance service quality. Using data from the Workplace Industrial Relations Survey 1990. 240 (9 pages) Reviews the literature on attempts to link human resource management policies and practices to organizational performance. 34 No. and management-led actions such as high rates of dismissal and disciplinary sanctions. R. which centred on training and career development. suggests areas for future research in order to formulate a model of the relationship between HRM practices and performance. observing very positive outcomes.Literature review Research implications: ** Practice implications: * Originality: ** Readability: ** Total number: ******* Reference: 29AA444 Cost: £12 (plus VAT) HRM in UK hotels: a focus on commitment 421 Human resources. especially in overall guest satisfaction and financial performance. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (UK). particularly in the hospitality industry and in terms of their impact on service quality. P. 267 (20 pages) Examines industrial relations within the UK hotel and catering industry. and job redesign and empowerment. . Details the new strategy and the changed HRM policy. Jun 1996 Vol. and reviews the results in terms of the hotel's key performance indicators. sickness absence.

and what views hotel workers have regarding gender segregation within their industry. 1996 Vol. 2: p. with men occupying roles of higher status than women. whether women adopt coping strategies to enable them to deal with these roles. 25 No. Ends by discussing the implications and consequences of sexual stereotyping from a human resource management perspective. and the role of sexuality in organizational life. Personnel Review (UK). which promotes sexual stereotyping. Goes on to present a case study of the Northern Hotel in the north of England in order to investigate the roles women in hotel work are expected to take on. and that both men and women have to adopt stereotypic gender behaviours in order to be successful in this industry.Employee Relations 22. and finds that a gender division of labour was clearly evident in the hotel. Uses interview techniques and observation to elicit the data. focusing on human resource strategies in the hotel industry. Points out that there is a contradiction between the pursual of equal opportunities by the organization and the overriding business strategy. C. R. Outlines the literature on gender and organizational culture. what career aspirations female hotel workers have. and Cassell. 19 (16 pages) Considers the sexual division of labour in the UK.4 422 Theoretical with application in practice/Survey Research implications: ** Practice implications: ** Originality: ** Readability: ** Total number: ******** Reference: 25AR023 Cost: £24 (plus VAT) Strategic HRM and the gendered division of labour in the hotel industry: a case study Biwas. also discovers that both groups had very fixed views as to what constitutes suitable employment for men and women. Case study Research implications: ** Practice implications: ** Originality: ** Readability: ** Total number: ******** Reference: 25AY877 Cost: £30 (plus VAT) .