Hospitality HRM: past, present and the future

Michael C.G. Davidson (Centre for Tourism, Sport and Service Innovation, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Ruth McPhail (Centre for Tourism, Sport and Service Innovation, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)
Shane Barry (Centre for Tourism, Sport and Service Innovation, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 31 May 2011



This paper aims to review the past, current and future trends in human resource management (HRM) in the hospitality industry, with a specific focus on large international hotels. The setting of this review is within the context of general HRM theory development.


This paper provides a detailed review of the literature, background, issues and trends in HRM. It moves from the generic HR review to examine the hospitality industry and specific identifiable trends and issues. Additionally, personal communication with senior industry executives is used to highlight specific areas.


Issues of training and skills development and of service quality are as important in the future as in the past. Technology is now set to revolutionise the way HRM is conducted. Generational change and how Generations X and Y view work require new approaches for HRM. Casualisation and outsourcing will become more dominant methods of employment. Strategic human resource management (SHRM) and its practices have the flexibility to add value to future hospitality firm performance. The future of HRM in the hospitality industry will need to take into account the various trends but will also be influenced by local circumstances.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual paper based on a review of literature that addresses a large area of both generic and hospitality HRM, and focuses on a specific section of the hospitality industry: large international hotels.

Practical implications

The paper provides a basis for understanding how the various HRM trends are developing, and addresses the steps required to meet future challenges in the industry.


The value of the paper is in its identification and analysis of the major trends in HRM and the implications these hold for the future of the hospitality industry.



C.G. Davidson, M., McPhail, R. and Barry, S. (2011), "Hospitality HRM: past, present and the future", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 498-516.

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