Brookes, M., Altinay, L. and Gannon, J. (2011), "Editorial", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 23 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijchm.2011.04123baa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Volume 23, Issue 2
Welcome to IJCHM’s special issue on “Internationalization of the hospitality industry”. I would like to pay special thanks to our guest editors Maureen Brookes, Levent Altinay and Judie Gannon for their time and effort in putting together this strong special issue. If you would like to edit a special issue on an interesting topic, please feel free to contact me.
The hospitality industry has long been characterised as international, encompassing some of the original “born global” firms as well as some of the most international firms today. Cross border expansion continues at a phenomenal rate, by firms from westernised economies as well as by firms from newer economic developing regions. While market entry patterns have changed substantially over the years, hospitality managers are still faced with making tough modal choice decisions in dynamic and highly competitive business environments. In addition, international business and domestic travel continues to grow, providing hospitality firms with a range of investment opportunities as well as challenging them to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base. Human migration patterns, reflected in the multi cultural make up of employee populations create further challenges in managing this diversity and reaping the potential benefits it offers. Within the hospitality industry, internationalisation is therefore a multi-faceted construct giving rise to many different interpretations as well as research streams.
This special issue captures a number of these streams and reflects the continued efforts of researchers to address the complexities of internationalisation within the hospitality industry across a range of countries and the implications of this for hospitality management education. A number of the papers were selected from the 4th International Conference on Services Management hosted by Oxford Brookes University in the May of 2009, demonstrating the relevance of hospitality research to the broader service sector. Together, the six papers and one Research in brief paper in this issue provide a diverse and stimulating set of insights into the contemporary nature of international hospitality management research.
Many of the early research studies on hospitality internationalisation focussed on modal choice decisions. The paper by Mary Quek explores the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deployed by UK hotel groups between 1979 and 2004. Using comparative historical analysis combined with a multiple case study approach, this paper explores the objectives for M&A, and the concomitant environments of four UK hotel companies. By using this research approach, the paper provides clear evidence of the pervasive use of M&A in the hotel industry to achieve expansion and the perceived value of buying a brand in this industry sector.
Nan Hua and Arun Upneja examine value in cross border expansion in their study of international restaurants based in the USA. The researchers empirically test how the degree of internationalisation relates to the stock market value across the quick service, midscale and fine dining restaurants in their study. Although there is extant literature which suggests a positive correlation between degree of internationalisation and financial performance, the authors provide an in-depth examination of the more nuanced evidence that complicates this seemingly simplistic relationship. Using data from the Compustat Industrial Annual of publicly-traded restaurant firms, the research demonstrated a positive relationship between internationalisation and market value, highlighting the financial potential of international expansion to restaurant firms operating in saturated domestic markets, despite the risks and challenges internationalisation presents.
The paper by Carolyn L. McMillan, Kevin D. O’Gorman and Andrew C. MacLaren provides a powerful exploration of how commercial hospitality offers sustainable empowerment to Nepalese women. Amidst the complex social, political and cultural structures in place in Nepal, the authors evaluate the opportunities for women to gain access to “power” over their own lives (and those of their families) through the management of Tea Houses. Through participant observation and interviews with female Tea House operators and government officials a picture emerges of women transferring their domestic service skills to roles in commercial hospitality and becoming empowered in economic, social and political terms. The deployment of these “female” skills in a country where women’s roles are typically “private” and marginalised suggests that the opportunities yielded by hospitality internationalisation are far greater than the economic ones that usually spring to mind.
The paper by Richard Nicholls offers a useful contribution to the literature by attempting to capture a more holistic view of customer experiences and satisfaction. The author explores the myriad of customer-to-customer interactions, positive and negative, and the associated cultural backgrounds of customers in a range of service settings. This paper highlights the value of a fresh research agenda for cross-cultural customer-to-customer interactions and suggests research designs and concepts which may unlock this fascinating dimension of hospitality management. The paper further emphasises the value such research and understanding would offer hospitality and tourism operators, and provides the implications for hospitality and tourism educators in their curriculum development.
The paper by Stefan Gröschl addresses internationalisation from a different perspective and considers the extent of employee diversity within the industry. Drawing on evidence from other business sectors, the author identifies that diversity management can derive financial benefits as well as play a critical role in contributing to corporate social responsibility agendas. As such he presents a case for communicating coherent diversity management strategies in the hospitality industry, which typically rely upon marginalised labour. Using corporate websites as the foundation for his data set, the author undertakes a content analysis of 25 hotel organisations to examine corporate diversity statements used to communicate their values to stakeholders. The study identifies that many hotel firms are missing opportunities for deriving benefits in terms of CSR, talent attraction and retention and partner relationships.
Recognising these opportunities and challenges faced by managers, Maureen Brookes and Nina Becket examine the extent to which hospitality management degree programmes are internationalised in order to develop suitably qualified graduates. The researchers used the extant literature in order to develop a framework of internationalisation within higher education comprising both internationalisation at home and internationalisation abroad dimensions. Through a multiple case study of UK undergraduate degree programmes, the authors identify the range of current approaches undertaken to internationalise hospitality degrees, where there is scope for further improvement and the challenges currently faced. The paper makes a further contribution through the development of the internationalisation framework which can be used by educators and employers across the globe to assess the internationalisation of hospitality management degrees.
Finally, in their Research in brief paper, Michael J. Gross and Songshan Huang provide a valuable empirical examination of the pre-internationalisation phase of China’s Jin Jiang domestic hotel group. Using semi-structured interviews with the company’s senior executives, the authors identify and explore the capabilities perceived to be critical for successful international expansion of this state-owned enterprise (SOE). This paper emphasises the role of serendipity in internationalisation where external and internal inhibiting and facilitating factors are highlighted by the executives as they consider their organisation’s international prospects. This study further reinforces the role of managerial mindset in internationalisation and the specific problems SOEs face in overcoming their traditional and bureaucratic approaches to decision making.
The papers within this special issue therefore highlight the range of opportunities and challenges of internationalisation within the hospitality industry. However, one key theme running through all papers is the importance of understanding cross-cultural differences between markets, organisations, customers and employees. This heightens the importance of adopting and implementing an organisation-wide global mindset, being part of international networks and putting different learning mechanisms and processes into place.
While recognising the nature of the hospitality industry and its products and services, this special issue should provide insights to hospitality industry managers and executives about some of the mechanisms and processes which facilitate cross-border integration. There are great opportunities for further research in this area and it is hoped that this issue stimulates further discussions and research studies on the interface between internationalisation and modal choice, financial performance, HRM and diversity management, customer behaviour and education in the hospitality industry management.
Finally, the guest editors would like to thank all of the authors and reviewers for making this special issue possible.
Maureen Brookes, Levent Altinay, Judie GannonDepartment of Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Management, Business School, Oxford Brookes University