The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of employees’ different disability types on lodging guests’ perceptions of service quality delivery and stereotyping. The study also explores the influence of consumer characteristics (i.e. gender, education, religiosity, generational identity and relationship to a person with a disability) on service delivery quality perceptions and stereotyping.
Using different types of disabilities, the study uses a controlled experiment, followed by a survey, to evaluate consumers’ perception of service quality delivery of a hotel front office staff member.
The results suggest that there are no significant differences in the perceptions of service quality delivery and stereotyping for service employees with disabilities with the exception of employees with a visual impairment. The study found that participants, who had a close friend or family member with a disability, expressed less stereotyping than those who did not have a close friend or family member with a disability.
Real service encounters can be used where participants might be more involved in the service process than in a controlled experiment setting.
The findings provide support to human resource management in strategically placing people with disabilities into front-line positions because they satisfactorily represent the image of the company and guests consider their service professional and reliable.
The study’s findings support that employers should tap into the under-utilized workforce of people with disabilities and avoid pre-existing stereotyping.
A major concern of hospitality companies making employment decisions about hiring people with disabilities is guests’ attitude. This is the first study in hospitality that examines service quality delivery of employees with different types of disability serve guests.
The authors would like to thank the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of New Hampshire for assisting in filming the video clips for the purpose of their experiment, Michael Brown from NH Vocational Rehabilitation and Paul Bailey, David Scott and Lefteris Deliyannis for their valuable disability expertise.
Kalargyrou, V., Barber, N. and Kuo, P. (2018), "The impact of disability on guests’ perceptions of service quality delivery in the hospitality industry", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 30 No. 12, pp. 3632-3655. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2017-0362Download as .RIS
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