Job satisfaction and Quality of Work Life in Hospitality

The hospitality industry is known as an industry that requires permanent contact between employees and customers. Customers’ satisfaction is the basis for organizations to make profit and this depends on the service provided by the employees. This is why it is safe to say that the success of the organization relies on the professionalism and services provided by employees. Nevertheless nowadays the popularity of the employment in hotels has decreased since it has been demonstrated that it is a very stressful and demanding environment that produces mental and physical stress among employees. Pavesic and Brymer (1990 p. 95) have identified long working hours, low pay and stress from demanding duties as the main reasons for talented employees to quit their jobs. These factors are even worse in casual workers that suffer from irregular hours and low predictability and control on their work life (Bohle P. et al 2004) . The aim of this literature review is to identify secondary data that describes and explains the concept of job satisfaction and quality of work life and the factors that have an influence on the perception of employees. It also researches the characteristics that should be present on employees and the employment in order to increase job satisfaction. The secondary data used, has been found in journals related to the hospitality and tourism industry.

Current Situation : Turnover

As identified by Hoel and Einarsen (2003 p.4) and in agreement with other authors the hotel industry provides an unstable work place with low income, long working hours and lack of benefits, which in combination with insufficient training and poor management increases mental and physical stress. As a result of this there is a high percentage of turnover and it becomes increasingly difficult for managers to recruit employees that commit to the organization and feel satisfied with their job position. This turnover has as a consequence not only the lack of loyal employees in the organization but also high costs in recruitment and training due to the constant changing of personnel. Therefore it is important for the organization to reduce turnover and the first step to do this is it’s analysis. Bonn M. and Forbinger L. (1992 p. 48) describe two methods to analyze turnover: exit interviews and internal analysis. Exit interviews provide the company with useful information regarding the reasons why employees leave the company. Internal analysis recollects information of other variables internal to the company that could be affecting the satisfaction of employees. Although many authors describe different ways to analyze turnover none of them give a clear solution to be implemented in every hotel. This is why Bonn and Forbinger (1992 p. 54) sustain that the most effective way to reduce turnover is to use reliable employment selection.

Job satisfaction & Quality of Work Life

Job satisfaction implies that an employee feels safe in his position and that his efforts are acknowledged and the company is giving back as much as he is providing to the company. A research conducted by Nadiri H. and Tanova C in 2009 showed that job satisfaction not only increases the employees’ commitment but also increases the competitiveness and leads to a better performance. If the job satisfaction of employees is high, employees will become more committed to their organizations and provide a better service. This is to be achieved with the combination of five factors that have a high influence on it. These factors are work environment; work itself, supervision, compensation and personal status (Lee C. and Way K. 2009 p 3). Work environment refers to the location of the hotel, working department and work accomplishment. Work itself describes the working conditions, shifts, training etc. Supervision is related to the consistent personal contact with managers or customers that employees have and compensation refers to the pay and benefit package. The authors state that if all of these factors are taken into account it is more likely for the employees to feel satisfied in their job and to commit to the organization. Gonzalez J. and Garazo T. (2005 p. 7) explain that if the job satisfaction is high this increases the organizational citizenship behavior, which implies that an employee exceeds the requirements in his job position voluntarily. If an employee does not feel that his efforts are being recognized and suffers of constant stress, this will be reflected on the service he provides to the customers.

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Other researchers, such as Kandasamy I. & Ancheri S. describe a similar concept to job satisfaction: quality of work life. There have been many definitions for quality of work life; all of them suggest that there are certain aspects that are essential to achieve quality. The following dimensions are most commonly implied in quality of work life: an adequate and fair compensation, safe and healthy working conditions, opportunities for personal growth and development, satisfaction of social needs at work, protection of employee rights, compatibility between work and non work responsibilities and the social relevance of work life, Walton (1975). For the employee to be satisfied with his job position it is necessary that all these aspects are taken into account. Work must be a challenge and it has to allow the employee to act with independence. Indira Kandasamy and Sreekumar Ancheris (2009) analyze the quality of work life in hotels to define what are the employees expectations and what could managers do to accomplish these expectations and turn employees into loyal and committed employees.

There is a third way to define this concept that has been introduced by C-keung Wong, et al. (2009 p. 195), it is called balance of life. They established that if an employee feels that his work life is not balanced, it is highly probable for him to leave the job and seek quality of life. Work-life balance can be understood as when an individual has the possibility to fulfill his life inside and outside the work, having control of their life and over when, where and how they work. The most important aspects highlighted in their research is that most of the employees consulted agreed to the fact that they did not have enough time off from work and that the work was too demanding. Increasing free time would motivate employees and increase their quality of life, which would also imply that they feel that their life is balanced. Hotel industry work requires unusual work hours, that doesn’t allow people to carry a regular life, this is why it is so important for employees to find the balance.

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There is an agreement on the factors that have an influence among the authors, even though one has to bear in mind that every person is different and the importance of factors may vary.

Employees Characteristics

Every person is different and someone else might not consider what for someone might result stressful this way. This is why the Human Resources Department should analyze the personal characteristics of the applicants at the moment of the recruitment. Sheldon P. (1989 p. 502) states the importance of formal education programs that develop professional and competent employees and raises the status of the employment along with the personal characteristics of employees. Kim.H.J ,et al. (2007 p. 424) has also analyzed these characteristics that have an influence on the job. They have distinguished five factors that if present in the employee are less likely to conduct to job burnout. Job burnout is defined in their journal as a combination of emotional stress, depersonalization and diminished accomplishment, which conduces employees to quit their job. The five characteristics that should be present in the employee are: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience. As a result of their research they found out that all dispositions affect the job burnout in some way. Another important variable introduced by then is autonomy. Autonomy empowers the employee and helps to avoid burnout by allowing employees to respond and decide more efficiently and see their positive results and feel good about their jobs (H.J. Kim 2007 p. 432). Even though it is demonstrated that all these variables described by the authors will have positive and/or negative effects on the job it is more likely that people with high agreeableness are going to interact more open with customers and feel satisfied with their job.

Motivational Aspects

Apart from the personal characteristics mentioned it is also important for companies to provide a motivational environment and aspects that motivate the employee to commit to the company.

Company image. Companies that are growing, performing good in the industry, adhere to safety standards and hygiene policies or are well known, motivate workers to complete their job and to feel related to the company. (Kandasamy I. et al. 2009 p 332). If the employee acknowledges that his work is a factor of the companies’ growth he will more likely feel proud of his achievements and identify himself with the company’s name.

Salary is nowadays an important factor for every employee since it is the monetary compensation for the work done and gives a social status. Salary is seen as big concern in the industry and an adequate compensation is highly important to keep employees motivated. The hotel industry is known for the low salaries and this is an aspect that has to be changed in order to recruit and keep the best employees. Employees like to be recognized for their effort that is why they should be rewarded not only with a proper salary but also with special rewards for special occasions such as employee of the month, special gestures, etc. These little benefits will act as motivational factors for employees. (Mac Namara et al. 2010)

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Training. Every person no matter what industry he/she is involved with has a natural ambition to grow and be recognized, this is why constant training and development is necessary to keep employees motivated. I Kandasamy and S. Ancheri (2009 p. 333) concluded in their research that when an organization takes effort to constantly upgrade employees’ skills these employees would be more committed to the company and with their personal career which would also help to reduce the mental fatigue and create a positive attitude towards their job.

Effective communication. Communication between managers and employees also affects the job satisfaction. M. Deery, L.K. Jago, (2001) conducted a research to explain these influences of different management styles used in the hotel industries on the employees’ perception of quality of work. It became clear in their research that hotel employees aspire to have a decisive management. Although managers should encourage the participation in different decisions they should provide the guidelines for the day-to-day work but enhance their staff to make their own decisions and be participative in the running of the department so that these can develop independently and feel successful in their job. In addition to this, another study by Faulkner and Patiar (1997 p. 103) demonstrates that autocratic management used in hospitality industry contributes to create stress among employees because of the lack of communication and consultation. Gonzalez J.V and Garazo T. (2005 p. 6) sustain that managers are responsible to improve the service and the employee job satisfaction, and the way to do this is through an effective communication between managers and employees. This will have as a result that the employees will feel more involved and satisfied, which will be reflected in their performance. There is a variety of opinions about this topic, the management style in the hotel industry has been changing and there isn’t an agreement among researchers about which is the best style.


The literature review conducted on job satisfaction and it’s causes has demonstrated an agreement regarding to the stressful and unsatisfactory characteristics of employment in the hotel industry. The research to find what measures are the most effective to reduce turnover did not come up with many results. Nevertheless more and more researches are conducted to find solutions and provide companies with advise to reduce turnover and recruit professional employees and transform them into loyal employees that achieve their balance of life. These researches showed that quality of work life and job satisfaction are important for employees in order to commit to the company and reduce the mental and physical stress at work and to the companies to achieve their profits.

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