Learning about managing the business in the hospitality industry

Li, L, Gray, D.E, John Lockwood, A and Buhalis, D (2013) 'Learning about managing the business in the hospitality industry.' Human Resource Development Quarterly, 24 (4). pp. 525-559. ISSN 1044-8004

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21171


This research examines the learning experiences of general managers (GMs) in the hospitality industry, a sector much neglected in terms of research into management learning and human resource development. Our research focused on four large hospitality organizations (two hotels and two contract catering companies) and adopted an approach that integrates multiple data collection strategies in supporting our qualitative case studies. Data were collected by using document analysis plus detailed, qualitative interviews with 21 general managers, of whom 7 were subsequently observed at work and observation notes generated. Data analysis revealed that the participants learned to manage the business primarily through experience, a process consisting of four key stages: Being Challenged, Information Searching, Information Transformation, and Testing. Reflective thinking plays a central role in their learning, taking the form of “actions” involving association, integration and validation, and of “products” involving content, process and context reflections. We argue that the way hospitality managers learn, while sharing the learning approaches taken by other professionals, differs in that these managers' learning is more highly contextualized.

Item Type: Article

A runner paper for the Richard A. Swanson Research Excellence Award for HRDQ articles in 2013.

Keywords: experiential learning; management learning and development; problem-solving; reflection
Divisions: Bath Business School
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.21171
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2016 10:25
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:44
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/8622
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