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How will service robots redefine leadership in hotel management? A Delphi approach

Shi Xu (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Jason Stienmetz (Department of Tourism and Service Management, MODUL University Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
Mark Ashton (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 4 April 2020

Issue publication date: 4 April 2020

6013

Abstract

Purpose

Using the Delphi technique, this paper aims to investigate how human resource experts perceive service robots will impact leadership and human resource management in the hospitality industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A three-stage Delphi study with hotel industry human resource experts was conducted to identify the key trends and major challenges that will emerge in the next ten years and how leaders should deal with the challenges brought about by service robot technologies.

Findings

The results show that while service robots are anticipated to increase efficiency and productivity of hotel activities, they may also pose challenges such as high costs, skill deficits and significant changes to the organizational structure and culture of hotels. Therefore, the anticipated applications and integration of robotic technology will require leaders of the future to carefully consider the balance between the roles of service robots and human employees in the guest experience and to nurture a work environment that embraces open-mindedness and change.

Originality/value

This is the first type of study to examine hospitality leadership and human resource management in the context of robotized hotels. This study has taken an important step to understand the leadership role in robotized hotels from a human resource perspective and brings clarity as to how robotic technology can influence leadership in the future workplace.

Keywords

Citation

Xu, S., Stienmetz, J. and Ashton, M. (2020), "How will service robots redefine leadership in hotel management? A Delphi approach", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 2217-2237. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2019-0505

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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