Management theories and practices in the hospitality industry

Hospitality management, as defined by the UK Review of Hospitality Management, is the term for handling food, beverages and accommodation in a service context. In the world of universal “strangerhood” (Bauman), hospitality management is concerned with creating unforgettable experience for people away from home. Major traditional management theories are now employed by managers in the hospitality industry to turn the “strangers” they host into lifetime guests. The theories were tuned to fit specific needs and features of the hospitality industry.

Classical approach

Classical approach, also called scientific management, focuses on line supervision as opposed to the overall organization. The theory strives to find one best way to perform a task. Managers employing classical approach work to find efficient methods of performing tasks and duties. Efficiency here is defined as doing things right. What this theory is not concerned with is effectiveness--defined as processes that improve quality or increase quantity of output, or, simply put, doing the right things.

Behavioural theory

The theory stresses the importance of human factor in increasing productivity. According to behavioural study, there is a positive correlation between improved workplace conditions and employee performance. A research conducted by Elton Mayo studied the effects of workplace lighting on productivity; the research revealed no correlation, as productivity increased by the same margin in bright and dim rooms. On the second stage of Mayo’s research, employees were left without direct supervision by researchers; as a result, employees better interacted with each other and performed better both individually and as a group. Behavioural studies kick started modern human resource management practices that resulted in much enhanced employee treatment.

Management science

Management science is different from scientific method; it employs the scientific method and mathematics to construct and test models to improve performance. The steps used in management science are observation, model development, hypothesis testing, and writing conclusions. Unlike the scientific method, management science focuses on effectiveness. Managers use action research: informally collect information, develop alternative solutions and intervention strategies, implement changes and evaluate effects on the organisation’s performance.

Contingency approach

The approach emphasises influence of situational circumstances on the performance and organisation. Management decisions are made based on current situational variables such as leaders, followers, and the environment.

Systems management

According to the systems management, an organisation is a microcosm within an interdependent macrocosm. A decision in an organisational setting should be made after considering its effects on the bigger picture.

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About the Author

Thomas Jones is a researcher specializing in international relations, law and economics. He graduated from American University for Humanities with a Bachelor of Science in politics and a Master of Arts in journalism.

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