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Enhancing internal communication to build social capital amongst hospitality employees – the role of social media

Ceridwyn King (School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Hyemi Lee (School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 12 December 2016

4247

Abstract

Purpose

Adopting a social capital theoretical (SCT) lens, this study aims to propose a conceptual framework of effective internal communication (IC) for the hospitality industry. The study explores how to enhance current practices and the suitability of social media as an augmentation to traditional IC channels.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative research methodology, consisting of 20 semi-structured interviews with hospitality employees, was adopted. Following a “reduction” and “interpretation” process, 16 themes related to effective IC were identified which informed a conceptual framework.

Findings

Characteristics of effective IC were identified in addition to IC benefits at both employee and organizational levels. Considering the limitations of current practices, the applicability of social media was explored. Requirements of effective IC suggest that new channels (e.g. social media) should be adopted to build social capital.

Research limitations/implications

The study informs SCT from a meso-level (process) perspective. The articulation of an IC framework informs how social capital can be built through effective IC, providing a foundation for further empirical examination as to the impact of various channels on the IC process. Adoption of a case study design suggests that results and implications can only be generalized to similar environments.

Practical implications

The study details the characteristics of effective IC and its subsequent benefits, highlighting how social media can augment current IC practices in a hospitality organization.

Originality/value

Being a 24/7 labor-intensive operation makes employee communication to ensure service excellence challenging in the hospitality industry. Through the application of SCT and the exploration of social media in a workplace setting to enhance IC, significant theoretical and practical insights are realized.

Keywords

Citation

King, C. and Lee, H. (2016), "Enhancing internal communication to build social capital amongst hospitality employees – the role of social media", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 28 No. 12, pp. 2675-2695. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2015-0321

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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