Organisational Culture in the Hospitality Industry


Organizational culture is the study of attitudes, behaviours, values and belief system of employees in an organisation. It highlights our perception of the business entity and employees are expected to adapt to the work culture. Organisations emphasises on culture as it depends on it for growth and success. An organisation should therefore establish a good organisation culture that will make employees feel cherished, have a desire to work and grow and work as team members.

For this case will concentrate on hospitality industry which is characterised by the presence of large numbers of employees who do not work with the company for a long period of time due to the instability of its organisational culture. Therefore the organization’s seniority should play very crucial roles in ensuring job security is guaranteed. This essay therefore researches on impacts of organisational culture in hospitality industry that relates to organisational performances through employee attitudes and behaviours. The research proposes systematic framework that can effectively manage organisational culture in hospitality organisations sound organisational culture.

Assessment of hospitality organisational culture

Organisational culture in hospitality industry concentrates on how teams are formed, problem solving skills and how decisions are made to provide industry professionals with sound look at how teams function within the hospitality industry and a close look at team dynamics. Organisational culture in this sense defines the importance of team concepts and factors that affect group member interactions with each other. It emphasises more on customer care skills and applies service skills and techniques that are essential for success of the hospitality industry (Perdue 2008, p.1; Harrison 1987; Pettigrew 1979).

Hospitality industry needs an organisational culture that encourages working and growing together as a family since most of the employees work for a short period of time before quitting for better jobs. Managers in these industries are perceived as hard taskmasters and are expected to push their employees to adhere to strict deadlines. “All work and no play” is the theme of hospitality industry culture and interactions between employees are very limited.

This makes the work place unfriendly place. This hostility if brought about by stiff competition the industries are exposed that forces managers to constantly push employees to deliver their best, a vice that could possibly cause employees to burn out because of stress (Lyer 2009, online).

Organization should provide a culture that fosters a sense of unity and encourage interactions between managers and employees. Employees should conform to rules and regulations in any given organisation in order to realise organisational culture. A culture in an organisation can be created by;

  1. company founders and leaders,
  2. experience of the firm and members within the environment
  3. Contact among groups and individuals within the organisation.

Leaders and founder of the organisation have the power to influence the organisation culture since the company dwells on their strong values, influence and vision on what the organisation should do and operate. A culture in an organisation is socially constructed and socially reproduced over time. Employees are also involved in creation of organisational culture by participating in organisational rituals, inventing language metaphors, telling stories, participating in the organisations social processes and engaging in symbolic acts (Kusluvan 2003, p.473) (Jones 2000; Schein 1990, p.113).

It has been argues that hospitality industries are characterised by practices such as low pay, labour turnover, unstable and insecure employment, unsocial working hours, lack of training, existence of dual labour markets. Lack of empowerment and participation, lack of employee motivations such as career development and planning, improper promotion services, low employee satisfaction and autocratic management styles and they do not sustain a strong and uniform organisational culture which is aligned with organisational objectives and strategies. Managers are responsible for providing poor working conditions and employment characteristics in hospitality industry.

Managers often experience difficulties in managing organisational culture in hospitality industry due to the nature of the industry and employment characteristics. This research therefore provides a simple model that will maintain and support organisational culture in alignment with organisational missions, objectives and strategies.

As we have mentioned earlier, the current culture in hospitality industries are not consistence with organisational missions, objectives and strategies, we therefore provide new values, attitudes and behaviours which should be embedded in this organisation’s human resource practices, organisational symbols, leadership style, ceremonies and language and organisational structure and design to support new attitudes, values and behaviours (Kusluvan 2003, p.474 : Deery 1999, p. 389: Ogbonna & Harris 2002, p.23-53).

Assessing the current organisational culture

The first step to changing and influencing organisational culture is to begin with objective measurement and understanding of the current culture within the organisation. This is necessary because the existing culture may be far way from the principles and values framed by the management. Measuring and assessing existing organisation culture may be difficult because a culture revolves around perceptions, interpretations, unconscious elements, cognitions and assumptions which are qualitative and quantitative research approaches required to fully understand organisational culture (Marcoulides & Heck 1993, p. 200).

Strengthening the current organisational culture

Depending on the results of the audit, an organisation is supposed to embed new values, attitudes and behaviours in strengthening current organisational culture. This will be achieved by replacing dysfunctional values, behaviours and attitudes with new ones with the help of organisational members in the adoption t and implementation. The organisation needs to play its part by drawing written statements of organisational values and make it available to all employees so that they can understand and internalise (Kusluvan 2003).

Living, Supporting and encouraging desired values, behaviours and attitudes

Human resources practices that include training, selection, orientations and socialisation, performance evaluation, communication, rewards and promotion and career development should be used to reinforce desired current culture in the organisation. During selection process for instance, new recruits can be briefed on values and culture of the organisation as this helps them decide whether they fit into the organisation or not.

Also, new and old employees introduced to organisational culture through orientation and socialisation, training and communication, employees can be made aware of organisational history, symbols, folklore, values, norms and expectations. In performance evaluation, career development and reward and promotion, managers are required to input desired cultural elements to employees at this point.

This can be done by recognising employees who show improvements by rewarding and promoting them. Manager should also internalise organisational culture and act on it by showing commitments to organisational objectives which helps build and sustain organisational culture. This helps guide employees on what they should do, how they do it, what responsibilities they should be engaged in and how they will interact and communicate within the organisation (Kusluvan 2003, p.447: Glickman, Baggett, et al 2007).

Organisational structure determined how jobs tasks get divided, grouped and coordinated (Tata, Prasad, and Thorn 1999, p.442). Hospitality industry managers when deciding on organisational structure, they need to consider six elements which constitute concrete organisational culture. The six elements include; hierarchy of authority, span of control, chain of command, division of labour, centralisation and decentralisation and formalisations (Robbins & Barnwell 1998).

To experience any change in hospitality industry, managers are required to design organisational structure by deciding and acting on the mentioned organisational elements since a sound organisation depends on the decisions and actions of managers with a combination of the six elements (Ivancevich and Matteson 2002, p.570). Values of management which are very important in structuring organisational culture should be embedded in the new design of organisational structure. Hospitality managers for this instance should centralise decision making, decrease employees’ discretion and design a strict control mechanism, strategy that would empower employees (O’Dell, Essaides, Ostro & Grayson, C. 1998).

Hospitality industry should also clearly define structures of relations, roles and tasks, hierarchy of authority, rules and procedures and cultural values, strategies important for influencing employee attitudes and behaviours. This helps reduce and control behaviour variability which may cause disparities in organisational culture (O’Neill, Beauvais & Scholl 1997). A clear organisational structure clarifies employees concerns as it clearly defines what they are supposed to do, how they are supposed to do it and whom to report to. This approach shapes employees attitudes and facilitates and motivates them to higher performance levels (Star 1995

Wasserman& Faust (1987) defines mechanism models which should be incorporated in hospitality organisations such as development of sense of history, sense of oneness, sense of membership and increasing exchange among members. Senge (1994) suggest methods for growing organisational culture to be elaborating the organisation history and clear channels of communication as this intervention technique helps employees develop a sense of history which is important to cohesive organisational culture. Secondly, leadership and role models should be emphasised and managers should communicate norms and values as it create a sense of unity.

Thirdly, the organisation should provide clear reward system, career management and job security, clear channels of recruiting and staffing, and socialising of new staff members as it promotes sense of membership, forth; the organisation should embrace a culture of member contact, participate in decision making, personal exchange and intergroup coordination as it increases exchange among members (Star 1995: Smith & Farquhar 2000).


In conclusion, human resources practices, languages, symbols, leadership and role models are very essential components in designing organisational structure and this can be used foster sound organisational culture which is in line with organisational missions and strategies. The research contacted in this essay fully presents empirical investigations needed to fully understand the impacts of organisational culture on employees attitudes and behaviour in hospitality industry organisations.

List of references

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Glickman, S. W., Baggett, K. A., Krubert, C. G., Peterson, E. D., Schulman., 2007, ‘Promoting quality in the Health-Care Organization: Culture, International’, Journal for quality in Health Care, 19, No.6, p. 341-348.

Harrison, M. I. 1987, Diagnosis organizations: Methods, models and processed. Sage.

Ivancevich, J.M.,& Matteson, M.T., 2002, Organizational behavior and management. 6th ed. Irwin McGrawHill Publishers: New York.

Jones, P. M. 2000, ‘Collaborating Knowledge Management, Social Networks, and Organizational Learning’, NASA Ames Research Center, p.1-4.

Kusluvan, S. 2003, ‘Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviours in the Tourism and Hospitality industry, Nova Publishers.

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O’Dell, C., Essaides, N., Ostro, N., & Grayson, C. 1998, If only we know what we know: The transfer of internal knowledge and best practice. Free Press: New York.

Ogbonna, E., & Harris, L. 2002, ‘Managing organisational culture: insights from the hospitality industry’, Human Resource Management journal, 12, No. 1, pp.22-53.

Perdue, J. 2008, ‘Organizational Behaviour for the Hospitality industry’, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, p. 1-2.

Pettigrew, A. 1979, ‘On studying organizational culture’, Administrative Science Quarterly, p. 570-581.

Robbins, S. P. & Barnwell, N. 3rd Ed. 1998, Organisation theory: concepts and cases, Prentice Hall: New York.

Star, S. L., (Ed.). 1995, Ecologies of knowledge: Work and politics in science and technology. Sunny Press: Buffalo NY.

Schein, E. 1990, ‘Organization culture’, American Psychologist, 45, No. 2, pp. 109-119.

Senge, P.M., 1994, The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning Organisation, Currency-Doubleday: New York.

Smith, R. G. & Farquhar, A. 2000, ‘The road ahead for knowledge management: an AI perspective’, Al Magazine, 21, No.4, p.17-40.

Tata, Jasmine, Prasad, Sameer., Thorn, Ron, 1999, ‘The influence of Organizational Structure on the Effectiveness of TQM Programs’, Questia, vol. 11, 440-450.

Wasserman, S., & Faust, F. 1987, Social network analysis: Methods and application. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge MA.

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