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Developing effective communication strategies for the Spanish and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking workforce in hotel companies

Po‐Ju Chen (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Fevzi Okumus (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Nan Hua (C.N. Hilton College, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA)
Khaldoon (Khal) Nusair (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to explore effective communication strategies for Spanish‐speaking and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees in hotel companies.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study approach was employed. Three employee, focus group interviews and semi‐structured interviews with 12 managers were conducted in a resort hotel in Orlando to elicit critical factors related to effective communication strategies with Spanish‐speaking and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees.

Findings

It was found that the case study company mainly communicated with its employees through daily meetings, daily written information (e.g. hot sheets), wall postings, e‐mails, and periodic monthly/quarterly meetings. It was found that bilingual employees often worked as unpaid translators and assisted their colleagues. Spanish and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees felt that not being proficient in English hindered their promotion opportunities. Differences were observed among English, Spanish, and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees in terms of style of communication. Some native‐speaking employees seemed to refrain from communicating with non‐English‐speaking employees unless they communicated in English. Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees spoke to other employees about only work‐related issues.

Originality/value

This is one of the first studies looking into communication strategies and challenges for Spanish and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking employees in hotel companies.

Keywords

Citation

Chen, P., Okumus, F., Hua, N. and Nusair, K.(K). (2011), "Developing effective communication strategies for the Spanish and Haitian‐Creole‐speaking workforce in hotel companies", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 335-353. https://doi.org/10.1108/17554211111162453

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited