Digital Natives in the Hospitality Workforce: An Exploratory Study on Mobile Dependency

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Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management


This study aims to explore the construct of Mobile Dependency (MD) by distinguishing its sub-dimensions and to identify and verify hospitality employee clusters with respect to their MD. Investigation of the MD construct through the developed scale and the use of Media System Dependency theory not only shed light on this under-examined construct but also point out to potential paths for future research. The findings lay down the groundwork for workplace policy reforms that could be welcoming to digital natives as they enter the hospitality workforce. Five sub-dimensions (e.g., Emotional Attachment, Social Attachment) of the MD construct were distinguished. Moreover, the identified clusters significantly differed from each other regarding their attitudes toward MD sub-dimensions. The findings validate the utility and efficacy of MD as a segmentation tool in hospitality and tourism research. This study also adds potential implications for workplace policies on employee breaks, employee engagement, and the creation of a welcoming environment by hospitality organizations via taking the technological attachment of younger employees into consideration.


Digital natives; Mobile dependency; Mobile technology; Smartphones; Tech-based segmentation; Workplace policy


Hospitality Administration and Management



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