Title

Expatriation in the hotel industry: An exploratory study of management skills and cultural training

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to investigate the following expatriate issues as related to the hospitality industry, from the perspective of practitioners: the most important management skills hotel expatriates should possess, whether these skills vary by the country of origin of the expatriate and parent company, and the most effective cross‐cultural training activities provided by hotel companies. Design/methodology/approach – Data for this exploratory study was obtained from a sample of 66 respondents from lodging organizations with membership in the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH & RA). Data was collected by means of self‐administered, web‐based surveys. Findings – Participants in this study indicate that expatriate management skills vary in importance for hotel expatriates. The results of the analysis of variance demonstrate that the importance placed on the different expatriate management skills varies based on country of origin of both the expatriate and the parent company. Respondents and companies originating in different countries place more importance on certain expatriate management skills than others. Analyses also indicate that seven of nine cross‐cultural training activities provided by the parent company are perceived to be effective for the success of an expatriate assignment. Practical implications – This study suggests that opportunities do exist for international hotel companies to better prepare hotel expatriates for foreign assignments by integrating more effectively issues of cultural awareness into their preparation programs. Additionally, although it may appear counter‐intuitive for a future expatriate to focus on the structure and processes of the home company before embarking on a foreign assignment, the results of this study suggest that such knowledge is very valuable.
Originality/value
– While studies investigating expatriation management in the mainstream literature have been growing recently, only a handful of published studies have explored the issue in the hotel industry. Answers to the research questions that guided this study add to our knowledge and enhance our understanding of the issues related to expatriation management within the context of the hotel industry. The present study generated fruitful avenues, especially with regard to the issues related to the variation of management skills according to the country of origin of participants and parent company.

Disciplines

Business | Food and Beverage Management | Hospitality Administration and Management