Empowerment in the Hospitality Industry
In recent years it is difficult for any industry to safe their competitiveness. It would be impossible without skilled empowered human resources.
The first definition of empowerment was given in 1788. Empowerment has been described by Bowen & Lawler (1992) as a venue to enable employees to make decisions and as a personal experience where individuals can take responsibility for their own actions (Greenwell, Fink & Pastore, 1996, p. 129-142).
Empowerment research in hospitality and tourism is insufficient (Erstad, 1997, p. 325).
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Managerial interest in employee empowerment in the hospitality industry has been associated with gaining a competitive advantage through improvements in service quality (Hubrecht & Teare, 1993, p. 1-5). As was mentioned by Degago (2014), the purpose of empowerment is not only to ensure that right decisions are made by the right employees but also to provide a mechanism by which responsibility for those decisions invested on individuals and teams.
Empowerment is the act of authorizing employees to make discretionary decisions within their areas of responsibility (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2009, p. 14). In other words, empowerment means that managers give an opportunity for employees to take responsibility for their decisions regarding the different task. It gives benefits, especially for hotels’ workers, because employees produce different services and deal customer.
The hospitality industry is connected to people and very changeable. In order to avoid dissatisfaction of customers, employees of hotels should be able to make decisions fast and take responsibilities. Most organizations do not involve the lower-level employee in the decision-making process. However, low-level employees are able to see problems from the inside. There are more familiar with small details than managers (Robbins ; Coulter, 2013, p. 160).
The implementation and results of empowerment depend both from employees and leaders. To hire qualified employees are not enough due to changes in the behavior of customers and preferences hotels human resource managers should train them. For some Hotels empowerment means changes. For example decentralization or because of some strict rules employees are unable to behave differently in a similar situation, but we should remember that no two people are alike.
Employee empowerment is one of the essential tools used by the modern organization to achieve organizational performance. The study of empowerment would be useful in a modern world for businesses and corporate firms and will help them take advantage through the development of employee-employer relationship and involvement of employees into the decision-making process, making them more independent to increase organizational performance.
The hospitality industry is customer-service driven, which means that hospitality workers they represent hotels brands. Employees who feel that they are a part of a big team are pround to be associated with the company and feel that they have a voice and purpose in the organization, they are essential.Empowerment approaches GanjiNia, Gilaninia ; Sharami (2013) mentioned mechanical and organic approaches.
First, a mechanistic view approaches empowerment as a leader-driven activity. According to the mechanical approach, empowerment means delegating and the power from top to bottom with clear boundaries and limits and also strict accountability which increases managerial control. Moreover, empowerment in this approach means “clarity, delegation, control, and accountability.”
As was explained by Abdollahi ; Nave Ebrahim (2006) empowerment in this approach means a process during which management, has developed a clear vision, and specific tasks to achieve the goal in an organization. We can understand it as a process of providing information and resources, which are needed to perform duties for the employee and allows as needed to do practice change and processes improvement. In summary, this empowerment approach means a decision in a particular range. It implies that labor must clasified with capital […] as a factor of production to be procured as cheaply as possible and utilized to the fullest. The fact that human beings are involved in this is of little significance ( Roberts, 1976, p. 7).
From the point of organic approach, empowerment is about “risk, growth, trust, and teamwork.” Leaders start with the needs of the people involved; model integrity by taking risks and exposing difficult issues; encourage initiative; and foster teamwork. Spritzer (1995) mentioned that organic approach is a view from the bottom to up, and reduce control. Based on this approach, empowerment is defined in terms of personal beliefs. According to this view, capable individuals have common characteristics. Reflects to the experiences or beliefs of employees about their role in the organization.
I found that relationships are the most important thing for engaging nonlinear processes […] leaders today have the challenge of fostering an environment that encourages creativity and self-organization while maintaining a sense of efficiency […] progressive managers are beginning to break old habits of control and beginning to let more nonlinear interaction occur. Employees who are given the freedom to network and communicate independent of organizational structure develop more novel ideas ( Lewin ; Regine, 2000, p. 20-21).
No organization is completely mechanistic (bureaucratic) nor completely organic (professional). Most organizations fall somewhere between these two extremes (Lunenburg, 2012, p.4).
Empowered Human Recourses Strategies
There are three main empowerment strategies which were mentioned in the Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review (2013).
First is the strategy of increasing collective awareness through storytelling. If employees are responsible for solving problems, they want to improve their personal and organizational life. Storytelling approach is an essential factor of empowerment which leads to higher efforts based on cooperation. When people discover or creating their story cooperation or reflect, in fact, their life story express in an organization in positive ways (Rappaport, 1995, p.795).
The popularity and the importance of stories have led organizations to adopt them as a knowledge management tool. Since people enjoy reading and listening to stories, the storytelling practice is attractive for members of an institution, to construct organizational memory without increasing the workload (Kleiner ; Roth, 1997, p. 137-138).
Each participant performed a role in the project, for which the story will be “told”. Therefore, the stories written by a team will probably contain more valuable details because everybody has the opportunity to present their viewpoint of what happened during the project (Borges ; Vivacqua, 2010, p. 2).
Second is the strategy of training problem-solving skills. Employees are faced with complaints and empowerment give responsibilities to an employee to act independent and solve those problems. It’s mean that workers should develop their problem-solving skills. In this strategy, must be allowed employees to identify and solve problems in a changeable environment. These aims include: identifying the problem, choose one of the important issues, selecting of purpose for solving or bigger problem, creative thinking in order to solve any problem, achieve aims and resources which can help to achieve these objectives (Honald, 1997, p. 202).
Problem construction or problem definition represents one of a number of a cognitive processes that play a role in creative thought […] whenever people generate a new idea that proves useful in addressing certain social needs, they have constructed and implemented a course of action – one out of many alternatives – which has brought about the attainment of a certain goal state (Runco, 1994, p. 4).
Third is a strategy of skills training and support resource mobilization. In contrast to traditional social-psychological interpretations, resource mobilization theory emphasizes the importance of structural factors, such as the availability of resources to a collectivity (Klandermans, 1984, p. 583).
Managers can spread collective support in organizations through writing, speaking, training and lectures by legislators or political individuals. If employees know that in organizations resources for their personal development is available and support needed are in this way empowerment is accomplished with high speed and acceleration (Wilkinson, 1998, p. 46).
Four Advantages of Employee Empowerment in Hotels
- Winning Customers’ Satisfaction in Tourist Environments
Understanding what drives satisfaction for a tourist is one of the most relevant areas of research for the tourism industry (Ramchurjee, 2013, p. 1758).
In order to reach customers’ satisfaction, good services must be provided. This will attract more tourists and be the reason of increasing incomes and revenues.
In most of the successful chain hotels all over the world, one of the hotel’s crew will ask the guests about their opinions about the services which are available to them, and are their requirements meet fully with provided service.
In fact, these empowered crew are responsible not only for requirements of their quests but also for complaints. Public and private organizations that deal with tourists know that providing qualitative services play an important role in attracting tourists to hotels. Managers in tourism strive to improve the quality of their services and the level of customer satisfaction in the belief that this effort will create loyal visitors. Loyal visitors will return to the destination and recommend it to others (Tian-Cole ; Cromption, 2003).
A few studies uncovered that customer loyalty is the main reason as to why some brands of hotels prosper while other lag behind. One key factor in customer retention is to guarantee quality services. In hotel industry customer loyalty is an element that shows the effectiveness of the management and all the stakeholders. A management approach focused on customer loyalty can improve the competitiveness of the hotel (Tsiotsou ; Goldsmith, 2012, p 147).
Empowered employee feel more confident and try to give their best to their employers, as a result, service quality improves.
- Enhancing Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction refers to the degree of feeling and positive attitudes which individuals have towards their jobs (Navidian et al., 2014).
In general, there is a link between job satisfaction and empowerment, also most empowerment elements had a significant connction with the overall measure of job satisfaction.
According to Luck (1969), job satisfaction consisted of four factors: reward means salary and conditions of promotion, professional context means employment conditions and benefits, factors and human relations with colleagues and supervisors, and job features.
By providing efficient services and gaining satisfaction of customers, empowered employees add their own satisfaction as well. In fact those who are good in their job and can be more responsive toward their customers are more relaxed and less stressful and enjoy their work and the working environment better in comparison to any other employees. Having happy and empowered employees is a bid advantage for an organization and they will bring success to it. In any position and organization, if the employee can’t fulfill expectations he or she will become bored and eventually will cause dissatisfaction of customers and will perform low quality service.
- Innovation and Creativity at Work
Among the factors that promote employees’ creativity, leadership has been found as being one of the most important factors (Jung, 2001, p. 526). Employee empowerment not only has a positive impact on employees’ efficiency, work satisfaction, quality, and customer satisfaction, but also helps to increase the demand and efforts to create innovation by authorizing employees and increasing their competence (Bolat, 2008: 113-115). It involves an ability to come up with new and different viewpoints on a subject. It involves breaking down and restructuring our knowledge about the subject in order to gain new insights into its nature.
One of the economic sectors to which innovation brought a particularly significant contribution is hospirality industry. As the mass tourism developed and promoted in the recent years made unable to ensure the long-term competitiveness of tourist destinations. For example in order to make customers return to the same destinations, hotels have to improve quality of servise, destination itself and etc. That’s why innoative and creative thiking are important. Empowerment help to employees think freely and cause creative thinking from inside.
One of the important result of empowerment is personnel authorization. Authorization will bring advantages for organizations and employees, because they will be able to increase output and make the organization grow faster.
By giving authorization fistful employees will feel free to think independently, track down the difficulties for themselves and therefore increase output and the quality of their work. Moreover, they will know what to do within the range of their authority and no one will be confused. Also employees who are given authorization are less prone to run into difficulties.? Inefficient personnel can be identified and sorted out.
In addition employees usually do teamwork and can improve their knowledge and gain more insights into what they are doing. ?The budget that is allocated to giving extra benefits and facilities can be invested in training groups of employees to maintain an increase in output and efficiency of the organization. ?Intelligent and empowered management and giving authorization to personnel may lead to constant progress in tourist organizations (Nabilou, 2012, p.37). ?