CSR-based model for HRM
in tourism and hospitality
Faculty of Tourism Studies, University of Primorska,
Portorozˇ, Slovenia, and
Faculty of Economics and Business, IRDO Institute,
University of Maribor, Maribor, Slovenia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish a new model of managing human resources in the
service industry. The authors aim to raise awareness of the failing effects of human resource
management (HRM) so far and indicate possible solutions to long-lasting labour issues.
Design/methodology/approach – The authors aim to outgrow the current personnel management
concepts by approaching the employment management problem requisitely holistically. By combining
the concepts of systems thinking, requisite well-being and social responsibility, the authors aim to
introduce a new model for managing human resources. An analysis of the relevant HRM models and a
perusal of identified issues concerning labour enabled the development of the new HRM model.
Findings – Under-investment in human capital in service industries has resulted in high staff
turnover and negative attitudes towards service occupations. Recognition of the need for an improved
approach to human resources management brings about substantial changes in the strategic
management both on the industry- and the organizational levels.
Research limitations/implications – Research is theoretical with indirect empirical impact. The
proposed model will meet the requirements of systems thinking principles as well as socially
responsible corporate behaviour.
Practical implications – Improved understanding that human talent and their well-being should be
in the centre of business strategies.
Originality/value – The value of the paper is in the raised awareness of the need for more
innovative and flexible labour market policies. The proposed model is in accordance with the formal
corporate pledge to act socially responsible and can be applied in tourism and hospitality
Keywords Well-being, Human resource management, Social responsibility, Holism, Model,
Tourism and hospitality industry, Systems thinking
Paper type Research paper
Across the OECD countries a pattern has emerged in which service jobs now provide
between two-thirds and three quarters of all jobs (SCER, 2004). Hence, providing
high-quality service to customers requires competent, motivated and devoted
employees. Human resources are an essential cornerstone of the successful operation,
development and long-term sustainability of organizations. Yet, the frequent rhetoric on
people as an organization’s greatest asset does not meet the reality: it seems that
managers consider employees predominantly to be liabilities and their main goal is the
reduction of salary costs.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received 6 February 2014
Revised 7 February 2014
Accepted 8 February 2014
Vol. 43 No. 3/4, 2014
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This paper addresses the issue of human resource management (HRM) in the field of
tourism and hospitality where the rapid growth of visitors, overnight stays and
capacities has not been met by the adequate skill supply. Consequently, several
concomitant problems pose both limitations and challenges for decision-makers on all
levels in this field of economy.
2. Backgrounds for human resource practices in the tourism and
2.1 The tourism and hospitality industry today
The tourism and hospitality industry (THI) is indisputably an important part of the
global economy and a significant generator of jobs. According to WTTC (2013) THI’s
total economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced impacts) in 2012 was 9 per cent
of total economy in GDP, 5 per cent of total economy investment and 5 per cent of world
exports. In 2012 the number of international tourist arrivals exceeded for the first time in
history a record of one billion tourists globally – 1.035 billion overnight visitors
(UNWTO, 2014). The UNWTO experts forecast that international arrivals would
increase by 3.8 per cent a year on average between 2012 and 2020. These figures
highlight the economic importance of THI, its capacity to confront the challenges of the
economic crisis in some parts of the world and to contribute to the growth of the economy
The growth of the industry is constantly accompanied by the demand for the
qualified workforce. In 2012 THI supported 260 million jobs, which is projected to
increase over 323 million by 2021 (WTTC, 2013). As a highly labour intensive industry
THI depends on the good quality personnel in order to perform good quality service.
Therefore, for the THI’s competitiveness HRM issues are essential:
The story of successful tourism enterprises is one that is largely about people – how they are
recruited, how they are managed, how they are trained and educated, how they are valued
and rewarded and how they are supported through a process of continuous learning (Fa´ilte
Ireland, 2005, p. 8).
Yet THI constantly suffers from a shortage of skilled labour force and a poor image of
employment in THI. The labour shortage has been evident since the 1980s (WTO,
1983) but THI still keeps facing the same challenges. Baum (2006) refers to this chronic
labour deficit as an unbroken circle where those people that THI would like to employ
will not work in THI, but those not suitable for THI are willing to work.
THI worldwide confronts a vast range of negative characteristics that cause
challenges for THI (and HRM) in attracting higher-education graduates and a skilled
workforce. These challenges have been widely surveyed by authors (Baum, 2006, 2007;
Nickson, 2007; Lebe et al., 2009; Harkison et al., 2011; Rok, 2012). It seems that THI faces
some common labour problems worldwide, especially the hospitality sector. Hence,
high turnover rates, due to unsocial and long working hours, hard work, low pay,
few opportunities for career advancement, high levels of stress at work, low benefits and
dissatisfaction with the employer or THI in general, emphasize the importance of
effective, sustainable and responsible HRM in THI.
Furthermore, owing to demographic trends, the pool of school leavers coming into
the workforce started to decrease over past decades. Besides, THI recruiters now have
to deal with recruits, members of the Y generation with significantly different lifestyle,
values and working habits. Hence, several studies of tourism graduates (Riley et al.,
2002; Richardson, 2009) revealed a significant drop-out rate from THI. This is a further
reason for concern among THI managers.
Destinations and businesses are often marked with seasonality and peak demands,
which pose particular problems for HR departments concerning increased temporary
demands for staff and casual or part-time employment. Sources of seasonal labour may be
young people, mostly students. Additionally, employers often recruit immigrants thus
experiencing acculturation and assimilation problems of international workers, usually
under-trained and under-experienced. Training and education are also of the major THI’s
concerns, bearing in mind that they like to complain that the educational sphere does not
meet satisfactorily the demands of THI. While employers expect ready-made students
trained right to their demands, schools try to satisfy various expectations, fulfilling their
curricula with general and broad knowledge, special skills and professional knowledge. In
this highly competitive global environment THI is well-aware that greater investments in
training and skills upgrading are crucial for their competitiveness.
Summarizing all these features of THI we conclude that a more sophisticated approach
to HRM is necessary. People are the critical dimension to maintain high service standards.
So the key themes of the contemporary HRM in THI include (Page and Connell, 2009):
. creating the reputation of the work in THI;
. education and training of employees;
. consideration of influences of globalization;
. ability to maintain the number of employees irrespective of their fluctuation;
. flexible employment forms;
. providing the necessary skills for employees;
. offering adequate wages along with remuneration and facilities;
. gaining balance between work and non-work;
. consideration of legislation and government measures; and
. ensuring competitiveness.
As a starting point we also considered the necessity of a permanent and socially
responsible HRM (Baum, 2006) as a part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR).
This micro aspect of sustainable development integrates environmental, societal and
economic concerns into the core business strategy and further into the main business
operations. While the environmental part gets most of the focus, societal and economic
aspects are important as well. The function of HR plays a central role in building
organization’s reputation as an ethically or socially responsible organization relating to
a manner in which people are managed and the impact on society (Torrington et al.,
2009). Though organizations are socially responsible in a voluntary manner, it is clear
that this is good for their business. Nevertheless, a well-developed and implemented HR
policy that includes social responsibility (SR) can create trust and strong relationship
between employers and employees.
2.2 Systems theory, requisite holism of managing employees and employee well-being
The principle of requisite holism derives from the (dialectical) system theory
(Mulej, 1979). In times of the enormous quantity and variety of knowledge the narrow
specialization prevails and is unavoidable. But several parallel existing specializations
are insufficient to successfully cope with contemporary complex situations. This fact
gave birth to systems theory and cybernetics after Second World War to provide
methods for more holism by interdisciplinary creative cooperation (Mulej et al., 2013).
International documents, such as ISO 26000 on SR, supported by European Union
documents (ISO, 2010; EU, 2011), provide an opportunity to informally attain requisite
Systems theory and cybernetics are, sadly, often treated by professionals, such as
economists, as complex and unusable concepts or solely as means of purely formal
description of anything, whichmatches a (too) simple and generalmathematical definition
of “system”, presenting any entity without content (Mulej et al., 2000). However, we claim
that managers and owners in THI are more likely to cope with tough competition if they
are system oriented. As Testa and Sipe (2008) emphasize, they have to understand and
create the “big picture”, balance their short-term requirements with long-range plans,
solicit input from a variety of sources and identify and improve processes important to the
business. Leiper (1990) takes this approach further to the area of tourism presenting it
as amethod to rationalize and simplify the real-world complexity of tourism into a number
of constructs and components that highlight the interrelated nature of tourism.
Notwithstanding all arguments in favour of systems approach, it has had limited
application in the area of tourism. Authors applied it on the tourism phenomena
interpretation (Leiper, 1990), marketing area (Morrison and Roberts, in Mayaka and
Akama, 2007), tour business (Laws, 1997), education and training (Mayaka and Akama,
2007), while Lebe and Vrecˇko (2014) applied it to the eco-sustainability schemes in
There is clearly room for further applications in a number of issues concerning THI.
We posit innovative approaches are of paramount importance because long-lasting
labour shortages and deficiencies in the system of HRM have caused widespread
damage and endangered development potentials of THI.
We define the personal requisite holism of employees as individuals as: physical
(physical balance), mental (sentiment, perception, mind and will-power), social (quality
communication with others and social integration), spiritual (self-actualization and the
sense-making life) and economic entities (material needs) (Sˇarotar Zˇ izˇek and Mulej,
2013). By increasing requisite personal holism (RPH) the behaviour of individuals, who
are willing (in their values) and able (in their knowledge) to practice interdisciplinary
co-operation, SR of employees, managers, organizations and societies expands; this
leads toward creativity and innovation (Cˇ ancˇer, 2012) and toward employees’
well-being. Figure 1 illustrates the relations between personal well-being, HRM and
the organization’s performance.
Despite the recognition of employee wellbeing importance (D’Annunzio-Green et al.,
2004), the factor of employee well-being seems to remain more rhetoric than
action-based. However, due to the increasing competition in THI, employers who wish to
drive the highest levels of service just have to implement this factor in their plans. The
equation is well-known: satisfied employees induce satisfied guests. Competition within
the sector has made a more employee-sensitive policy based on treating the personnel as
valuable assets an imperative for tourism firms. By hiring and developing talented staff
and “synergising” their contribution within the resource bundle of the firm, HRM may
lay the basis for sustained competitive advantage (Boxall, 1996).
3. HRM for tourism and hospitality
While HRM is important in all sectors, its importance in service organizations is
particularly emphasized. According to Armstrong (2006) HRM is a strategic, integrated
and coherent approach to the employment, development and well-being of the people
working in organizations. People are vital for a successful operation, development and
long-term sustainability of organizations. However, HRM has traditionally been a weak
link in the THI (Go et al., 1996; Cooper et al., 2008). Hence, Page and Connell (2009) claim
that HRM is far from a simple employment management and should adopt a holistic
approach; in a “people” business such as THI there is a need to derive quality from the
staff and their interaction with customers.
The importance of HRM in tourism organizations has been widely recognized (Baum,
2006; Cooper et al., 2008; D’Annunzio-Green et al., 2004; Drummond, 1990; Go et al., 1996;
Nickson, 2007; Page and Connell, 2009; Weaver and Lawton, 2006). HRM significantly
affects the company’s ability to meet and adequately respond to challenges from the
environment and that, with its activities (remuneration, recruitment, training and
development of employees, etc.), it also contributes to organizational economic success.
According to Baum (2007), larger organizations in THI have become more professional
in their application of key HR principles within the workplace, but such professionalism
remains absent in smaller businesses. Hence, THI is a private-sector-dominated industry
and owners are primarily interested in investments oriented on profit maximization.
Additionally, HRM strategies too often support organizations’ financial and business
short-term objectives instead of focusing on employees and their needs. We agree with
D’Annunzio-Green et al. (2004) who, summerizing such debates, noticed that HRM is
presented, within critical and prescriptive literature, as an important function but should be
substantiated with a strategic presence in tourism and hospitality organizations as well.
Therefore, strategic HRM is an ongoing challenge for THI managers. If the quality
service is the basis to THI success, managers have to be aware that they depend on
Five key dimensions
Source: Šarotar Žižek (2012)
effective, competent and committed staff. To attract, retain and develop them over the
long-term must be their long-term planning horizon.
3.1 Current HRM models
Three theoretical approaches to strategic HRM can be identified (Torrington et al.,
2009, p. 35):
. The first is founded on the concept that there is “one best way” of managing
human resources in order to improve business performance. This is the “best
practice” approach and it presupposes that certain best practices and policies will
always result in high performance. The company has to identify exactly what
these practices are.
. The second is the “contingency” or “fit approach” that focuses on the need to align
employment policies and practices with the requirements of business strategy so
that the goals are achieved and the business successful. This approach is based on
the assumption that different types of HR strategies suit for different types of
. The third is the “resource-based view” of the firm; it suggests that neither of the
first two approaches is sufficient as every company and its employees should be
considered as unique and that the set of HR policies and practices that will result in
high performance will also be unique to that firm.
Basically, models can be distinguished as “hard” or “soft”:
. Hard approaches perceive people as resources; they should be managed as any
resources of the company. Hard approaches are financially driven and primarily
concerned with the control over wage costs. Employees are to be obtained as
cheaply as possible and exploited with the ultimate objective to secure the
competitive advantage of the company. Hard approaches (considered utilitarian)
bring to the fore employee’s compliance, quantitative outputs, managers, tasks
and the development of the company. Actually, such perceptions of people
are frequently met and common in all sectors. As to THI, where quality service
depends on a high-quality, motivated, devoted and enthusiastic workforce,
we have to make clear that such approaches should be history.
. Soft HRM approaches are much more humanist (Page and Connell, 2009), they
treat employees as assets, centred on the principle of the development of the
employees. They emphasize indicators like flexibility, quality, performance,
negotiation, knowledge development, etc. Communication and motivation are
their primary concern. Employees are led rather than managed. They are involved
in determining and realizing strategic objectives. Inasmuch as people are the key
asset in THI, soft HRM approaches are highly relevant for the purpose of
developing our model. Moreover, soft approaches are in line with the concept of
CSR underlining the interests of all stakeholders, not just the owners’.
Based on the presented starting-points we compared some established models of HRM:
(1) The Harvard HRM model. The Harvard model is the most typical example of soft
HRM models and the most influential one. It treats employees as resources but
fundamentally different from other resources, they are significant stakeholders.
It embraces humans’ relationship with the external environment and internal
organizational factors. It represents the SR approach as well: long-term impacts
are reflected in the welfare of employees, performance of the organization and
social well-being of people (Beer et al., 1984). In accordance to this model
organizations include their employees into the processes of strategic
decision-making and allow a high level of participation on all the company’s
levels in order to achieve the organization’s success presented in a long-term
impact on the HRM performance but simultaneously in personal and
professional well-being of employees. As distinct from traditional management
that focuses on internal environment solely, the Harvard model focuses on both
internal and external environment. We included both in our model as well as the
soft dimensions of this model.
(2) Model management and human resources based on business. Businesses depend
on several core resources. These factors stimulated Boxall (1996) to create a
model based on company’s resources. The model focuses on the relationship
between enterprises’ internal resources, strategies and performance. Apart from
behaviour, the model also emphasizes skills, knowledge and human capabilities
(Boxall, 1996). When creating our model we have relied on the very core of the
model itself: organizations generate long-term competitive advantages through
the development of human potential which is recognized as the company’s
assets in order to achieve the strategic goals which are unique and therefore
hard to imitate by the competition. Thus, in our model, a strong emphasis is
being placed on the holistic development of employees.
(3) Contextual and dynamic framework for strategic HRM (Jackson and Schuler,
2003). This model comprises the most complete group of influencing factors,
including global environment (local, national and multinational conditions) and
organizational environment (leadership, strategy, organization structure and
organizational culture). Satisfaction of different stakeholders’ interests is
embraced within the model: outcomes for owners and investors (financial return,
corporate reputation), for customers (quality, speed, responsiveness, low cost,
innovation and convenience), society (legal compliance, SR and ethical practices),
organization members (fairness, quality of work life, long-term employability)
and other organizations (reliability, trustworthiness). Therefore, CSR plays an
important role in this model. Similarly, stakeholders from the external
environment and CSR are considered in our proposed model.
(4) The human resources management model (Anthony et al., 1993). According to
this HRM model, opportunities and threats that the given organisation perceives
in its environment, affect its global strategy to determine the orientation of
individual functional strategies. It should also take into account the
organisational HRM strategy and skills of employees to assess how effectively
a global strategy would be executed (Anthony et al., 1993). The awareness that
functional strategies (also for the field of HRM) and business strategies must be
integrated within the global strategy was the basis for creating the model’s
(5) The European model of HRM. The European model was developed by Brewster
and Bournois (1991), who studied the impact of environment on HRM’s functioning.
Organizations and HRM are not only related to the environment, but also its
parts. The model creates human resources policy based on various influences
from the environment (national culture, industry, etc.). This model successfully
includes stakeholders like government, trade unions and employees. The policy
of human resources is thus based on different impacts from the environment
(national culture, branch, etc.). When designing HRM it is necessary to take into
account social partners as well.
(6) The linear model of HRM. The linear HRM model is based on the assumption
that pursuing a strategy is a rational and linear process. HRM strategy results
from the business strategy and represents a set of interlinked specific strategies
in key HRM areas. The process takes place under the influence of external and
internal organization environments, which define financial, organizational and
HRM issues that must be considered. For our model the key element is the
development of special HR strategies for all significant areas of employment
(7) And others such as:
. the human resource cycle;
. strategic management and environment pressures; and
. the Michigan model (a typical example of hard models), etc.
Employees are the organization’s key resource and organizational performance largely
depends on them. Therefore, an appropriate range of effective HRP ensures that HRM
will make a substantial impact on the firm’s performance. The relationship between
HRM and performance is shown in Figure 2.
According to Armstrong (2006) areas covered by HRP or strategies that impact
. attracting, developing and retaining high-quality people;
. talent management;
. working environment – core values, leadership, work-life balance, managing
diversity, secure employment;
. job and work design;
. learning and development;
. managing knowledge and intellectual capital;
. increasing motivation, commitment and role engagement;
. high-performance management; and
. reward management.
However, Cooper et al. (2008) agree that HRM practices and policies in THI have been
outmoded and lacked sophistication in the past. The authors assert that practices that
are commonplace in other service industries – comprehensive induction, regular
appraisal, effective employee communication – are underdeveloped in many tourism
businesses. We comment that THI will have to recognize the shifting priorities and
perspectives about competition and develop their HR function to the level of being their
highly competitive advantage.
HRP presented in our model must be integrated in high-commitment or best practice
HRM and must serve individual and organizational needs. As Wilton (2011) comments:
Organizations can take a number of different approaches to HR strategy formation reflecting
the different extents to which an internal or external focus is adopted and the significance
given to particular environmental factors and organizational stakeholders.
HR strategy must support organizational performance based on a range of indicators
(profitability, productivity, organizational survival and staff turnover) because strategic
HRM may bring a number of benefits to the organization (C¸alis¸kan, 2010, p. 104):
. Contributing to the goal accomplishment and the survival of the company.
. Supporting and successfully implementing business strategies of the company.
The relationship between
HRM and Performance
Source: Armstrong (2006, p. 75)
. Creating and maintaining a competitive advantage for the company.
. Improving the responsiveness and innovation potential of the company.
. Increasing the number of feasible strategic options available to the company.
. Participating in strategic planning and influencing the strategic direction of the
company as an equally entitled member of top management.
. Improving cooperation between the HRM department and line managers.
4. Results and discussion
Drawing on the unique features of THI, comparisons of existing HRM models and a
perusal of the relevant literature, we developed a new model for HRM in THI (Figure 3)
comprising more requisite holism by ethic of interdependence and principles of SR in
developing their human resource practices (in synergy or synergies) for:
. human resource planning;
. recruitment and selection of employees;
. education and training;
. performance management;
. motivation of employees including career planning;
. reward management and appraisal;
. talent management;
. stress management including health and safety of employees and conflict
. diversity management and equality of opportunity;
. (internal)communication system;
A HRM model for tourism
Gaps between THI
Poor image of
occupations in THI
Reduced pools of
Lack of training
|Organizational culture||Organization structure|
External environment: labour markets, legislation, trade unions, society
. empowerment of employees; and
. job-related attitudes.
Figure 3 illustrates how different components of HRM fit together and interact by
addressing a number of perceived HR problems deriving from internal and external
environment of the company.
We concentrated on the components concerning directly human resources (thus we did
not take into account factors included into the company strategy like management style,
corporate culture, etc.) and with potentials to contribute to employees’ well-being as well
as the companies’ success. Apart from traditional core of HRM (e.g. resource planning,
staffing, training, performance appraisal, compensation, safety and health) we included
components like talent management, diversity management, etc. deriving from the
continuous changes in the environment, global dimensions of THI, severe competition for
staff, etc. Around the circle of these 12 components we set a string of challenges (current
and long-lasting HR problems within THI) that address these components showing also
the complex interrelations between them. This HRM subsystem is a part of the larger
structure, i.e. the organizational strategy and leads toward organizational as well as social
performance; thus, CSR is embedded within the model as well.
The model comprises stakeholders from the external environment of the
organization that are of particular significance for the goals of the company (labour
markets, legislation, society, trade unions).
The implementation of this model leads towards competitive advantages in human
resource development, achieving higher motivation and better health of employees,
fostering better mutual relations, successful teamwork, affiliation to the organization,
enrichment of knowledge and experiences, etc. All these impacts positively contribute to
the organizational success, including the individual’s subjective and objective
well-being and welfare. By having a CSR policy within their HRM and business
strategies organizations make an impression not only on employees but also on potential
recruits, customers, communities and other stakeholders. Employers are well-aware that
socially-conscious tourists highly appreciate such practices in THI. To put this model
into realization, THI organizations need the shift towards integrative/integral
governance and management (Duh and Sˇtrukelj, 2011).
HR planning is comprised of forecasting the supply and demand of human resources
(with predictions of deficits and surpluses of human resources within the organization),
strategic HR planning, retirement programmes, hiring temporary workers, outsourcing,
predicting over-time work, etc. Demographic trends are studied as well connected with
diminishing sources of recruits and enrolments in vocational schools. Future challenges
have to be considered as well, like anticipating needs, prediction of job profiles in THI, etc.
Employee recruitment and selection – this function addresses issues of labour
turnover, recruitment sources, provisions of school programmes and graduates,
competition for labour with other businesses, retention policies, etc. Instead of often
prevailing so-called ad hoc, unplanned recruitment to meet immediate needs in THI.
Baum (2006) points out the need for planned HR strategies as an essential part of
sustainable HR paradigm.
Education and training – in order to create a learning environment in the company,
training and education is a top priority. Requisite skills, knowledge and attitudes for
the needs of THI can be gained through formal or informal programmes, on-the-job
training, etc. Tools like mentorship, coaching, etc. enable the transfer of knowledge
among employees and their mentors.
Talent management is an organizational mindset that seeks to assure that the
supply of talent is available to align the right people with the right jobs at the right
time, based on strategic business objectives (Baum, 2008). The author considers talent
as a range of skills and attributes from technical skills, emotional, aesthetic and
informational processing and analysis dimensions with a strong focus on the delivery
of service to diverse tourists/guests.
Reward management addresses one of the top problems in THI and reasons for the
poor reputation of many occupational categories, concerning pay levels, pay raises, pay
structure and benefits. Benefits include insurance, family-friendly policies, free meals,
etc. However, Go et al. (1996) agree that rewards and benefits show great disparities
within and between THI sectors (e.g. airline companies vs catering companies). The
hospitality sector in particular offers predominately unskilled and semi-skilled, menial
work opportunities. Hard work and minimum wages resulted in their image of
low-pay, low-prestige and low-dignity jobs.
Motivation and career planning – as Go et al. (1996) assert a vital managerial
function is to motivate employees. As authors suggest there are several techniques to
be applied at organizational level: reinforcement, job enrichment, job redesign and
incentive schemes. Career planning involves working with individuals, setting career
objectives and developing strategies to achieve them.
Empowerment – when managers give employees the authority, responsibility,
confidence and necessary resources to make independent decisions, they are said to be
empowering their employees (Go et al., 1996). This is actually a form of participative
management. Employees find it motivating; they become more self-reliant, skilled,
versatile, valuable and promotable. We find this component particularly motivating for
jobs in hospitality industry where a large number of work opportunities are unskilled
Performance management contains job analysis, job descriptions, job design,
standards, provisions of feedback through performance reviews and training. It includes
also performance appraisal recognized as the crucial part of the total HR system (Go et al.,
1996). Work performances in THI often embed notions of emotional labour connected
with positions in the front line and consequently emotional exhaustion. We comment
that research findings from the UK and the US report of employers requiring primarily
pride in appearance (i.e. aesthetic or self-presentation skills) and good attitude (i.e. social
and interpersonal skills) for front-line staff (SCER, 2004).
Stress management – once an employee feels unable to cope or control the pressure
then he/she will experience stress as distress, which will lead to declining performance
(Nickson, 2007).A question how organizations in THI overcome employee stress, is among
crucial factors for SWB. Research into causes of stress indicates several general stressors
like workplace violence, bullying, harassment, disease, but also role conflict, workloads,
work pressure, etc. Similar research within THI (Nickson, 2007), interestingly, showed
that poor management was the reason mentioned most often among front-line staff;
other stressors revolve around interactions with guests and colleagues, as well as the
nature of the job. Hence, individual techniques and organizational approaches have to
be implemented to overcome stress. Stressors have to be dealt with through special
programmes or eliminated (Sˇarotar Zˇizˇek, 2013). Conflict management is included as well.
Organization’s approach towards health and safety of employees leads towards more
commitment and loyalty among staff.
Diversity management refers to the management of highly heterogeneous workforce
in THI and takes into consideration their differences in terms of gender, race, ethnicity,
age, family status, national origin, sexual orientation, as well as handicapped employees.
Access to jobs and equal treatment have to be ensured to everybody. Actually, THI often
employs marginal workers and migrants (mostly as unskilled and semi-skilled
workforce). Hence, as a management concern, working effectively in diverse
environment is particularly important.
Communication system – Drummond (1990, p. 198) notices that poor communication
appears to be high on the list of problems within organizations of any type. The author
recommends to managers: “[. . .] to be sincere, knowledgeable, open-minded, tactful and
responsive. Show respect to employees and try to understand their needs”. Indeed,
effective communication and feedback, appropriate channels, mediums and listening
seem to be too often neglected.
Job-related attitudes as our last component include job satisfaction, job involvement
and commitment. This function contains also the management of change, thus
fostering innovative approaches to organization’s problems.
The speed of change in the global THI is accelerating. The development of THI
throughout the world includes complex factors and human resource issues that are
vital for a long-term sustainability of organizations. In order to maintain high service
standards staff deficits in labour supply have to be solved. A new model of HRM will
invite devoted, committed and enthusiastic candidates for these vacancies. Changes in
the organizational approach to HR can improve the image of employers. Being a caring
employer, investing in people, empowering staff and rewarding initiative and
excellence can persuade the staff that employers do care about well-being of their staff.
“The overwhelming judgement of commentators, both academic and practitioner is that
HRM’s position on the strategic agenda of senior management is lower than it ought to
be” (Boxall, 1996). Boxall concludes that the dominant emphasis has been on short-term
survival rather than long-term advantages. Advantages are possible by finding and
holding the better people and combining talents in better processes. The starting point
for us therefore represents the awareness that competitiveness of businesses in THI
depends first and foremost on the way they manage human resources: their skills,
attitudes, values, cultures and commitments are more important to success than ever.
The new contemporarymodel of HRM in the THI addresses and supports its accelerated
development and its need for qualified and motivated personnel. This model enables
long-term competitiveness of THI and its provision of high-quality service. The model is
based on the evolution of the business systems, their internal attributes, as well as on
challenges deriving from their environment combined with the increased awareness and
practice of the SR concerning all seven topics and all principles of SR in ISO 26000 involved
in the strategic management of companies in THI (human rights, labour practices, fair
operating practices, consumer issues, community involvement and development, the
environment and organizational governance). An overall strategy on the company level
defined by the top management on behalf of owners includes the human resource strategy
integrating a requisite holistic approach with SR and providing employee satisfaction.
System thinking involves predominately identifications of the root causes of current
and long-lasting problems related to labour. In the case of HRM in THI they lay in the
management approach to these issues and under-investments (not only financial) in
company’s human capital. This makes such businesses vulnerable to competitors.
The authors are aware of the fact that the implementation phase may run across a
series of problems relating to the nature of THI. THI is a highly fragmented and
multi-faceted industry, an amalgam of small to large businesses (e.g. from huge
multinational chain-hotel companies, big tour-operators to small family-owned hotels
or local travel agents), operating within the private, public or non-profit sector,
in developed and developing countries and, consequently, with a range of diverse
characteristics and problems, dealt by large HR departments or just one person as an
owner-manager. These are limitations of the proposed solutions. But it is clear that
managers/owners need to change their approach to HRM. The model presents avenues
for improving the continued series of HRM problems in THI.
However, the authors realize that the model gives a profound understanding, albeit
not all solutions to HR problems and challenges within THI. There is clearly a need for
further research on this topic into the effects of this innovative approach to HRM. The
model can guide future researchers to provide the necessary empirical data on the
impact of such HRM approach that should be of interest to THI executives, owners,
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About the authors
Marija Rok, MSc, Senior Lecturer, University of Primorska, Faculty of Tourism Studies Turistica,
Obala 11a Portorozˇ, SI 6320, Slovenia; [email protected], holds an MSc in management
awarded by the Faculty of Management Koper where she also completed a specialization in
management in education. She is Head of the Practical Training Department. Apart from
pedagogical and research work, she also takes part in project groups comprising tourism and HR.
Hermain points of interest in academic and applied research are: labour market, studies of tourism,
lifelong learning, recognition of non-formal and informal learning. She is also active in the system
of assessing and accrediting NVQ as a Researcher, Counsellor and Commission Member for
qualifications in the tourism and hospitality industry. Marija Rok is the corresponding author and
can be contacted at: [email protected]
Matjazˇ Mulej, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and
Business, Razlagova 14 Maribor, SI 2000, Slovenia, [email protected]; MA in development
economics, Doctorates in systems theory and in management. Retired as Professor Emeritus of
Systems and Innovation Theory. þ1,500 publications in þ40 countries (see: IZUM – Cobiss,
08082). Visiting Professor abroad for 15 semesters. Author of the Dialectical Systems Theory
(see: Franc¸ois, 2004, International Encyclopedia) and Innovative Business Paradigm for
catching-up countries. Member of New York Academy of Sciences (1996), European Academy of
Sciences and Arts, Salzburg (2004), European Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Paris (2004),
President of International Academy of Systems and Cybernetic Sciences, Vienna, (2010-2012),
now Vice-President. Many “Who is Who” entries, including Hall of Fame for Distinguished
Accomplishments, ABI, Raleigh, NC.
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