Sustainable Workforce Research Cluster for Hospitality and Tourism, AUT

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The aim of the research collective is to carry out studies that further the creation of a sustainable hospitality and tourism (H&T) workforce in Aotearoa and beyond. By sustainable workforce, we mean a workforce composed of individuals available or engaged in work that provides dignity, recognition, and fair reward (of at least a living wage) in a fiscally responsible enterprise. It is our aspiration to contribute to government policy and industry practice to achieve a hospitality & tourism sector that provides sustainable employment to all its employees, at all levels. A bridge between academics and our industry partners is promoted by open access journal Hospitality Insights-for a sustainable industry, which provides short, accessible summaries of contemporary academic research for the hospitality industry and community.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that this research contributes to:

Goal 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

The collective’s priorities are:
  • To provide data on the current situation of our H&T workforce through relevant, and timely empirical studies.
  • To collect data on the H&T career paths for employees in the sector in Aotearoa.
  • To carry out commissioned studies on behalf of state organisations and industry partners that further our collective’s aims.
  • To understand the influence of gender, ethnicity, and age on employment in the sector.
  • To establish meaningful research collaborations with international and local sustainable workforce researchers and networks to provide a power voice that advocates for sustainable workforce interests in H&T, for example, The Global Hospitality research Alliance.
  • To collaborate with human rights organisations and state agencies that investigate human trafficking and exploitative labour in the hospitality industry in Aotearoa.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 9
  • Item
    The Career Constructions of Hospitality Students: A Rocky Road
    (Intellect, 2018-02-27) Mooney, S; Jameson, S
    This article presents the first set of data from an ongoing three-year longitudinal study, which explores how hospitality undergraduates develop a career identity during the course of their studies. Previous, generally quantitative, studies have discovered that many hospitality students choose not to follow a hospitality career after they graduate, however, these studies do not attempt to discover when their career intentions change, nor explain why. The New Zealand study on which the article is based, employed an interpretative, social-constructionist approach informed by intersectional theorizing, using data collected from semi-structured interviews with first-year hospitality and culinary arts degree students. Career construction theory is used to interpret positive or negative career adaptive behaviours and effects are analysed at macro, meso and micro levels. A fusion of global and societal factors and personal characteristics influenced the construction of participants’ professional hospitality identities. Age, gender and ethnicity-based intersections were evident in the ways students developed career adaptive behaviours. A significant contribution of this article is that negative workplace experiences appear to change students’ motivation to follow a hospitality career because they reduce the individual’s belief of being suited to the industry under current prevailing conditions. This finding can shed light on the type of student who is likely to eventually pursue a career in hospitality, the potential role of the internship in the development of career identity and the responsibility of employers. Employers should be aware and validate the idea of ‘the hospitality career as a calling’ by recruiting and developing highly motivated employees and facilitating the development of a professional hospitality identity in their younger workers.
  • Item
    Long Hospitality Careers - a Contradiction in Terms?
    (Emerald, 2016) Mooney, SK; Harris, C; Ryan, I
    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore why workers remain in long hospitality careers and to challenge the frequent portrayal of careers in the sector as temporary and unsatisfactory. Design/methodology/approach The study took an interpretative social constructionist approach. Methods used were memory-work, semi-structured interviews and intersectional analysis. Findings A key finding in this study is that career longevity in hospitality is not solely dependent on career progression. Strong social connection, a professional self-identity and complex interesting work contribute to long careers. Research limitations/implications The study contributes detailed empirical knowledge about hospitality career paths in New Zealand. Conclusions should be generalised outside the specific context with caution. Practical implications The findings that hospitality jobs can be complex and satisfying at all hierarchical ranks hold practical implications for Human Resource Managers in the service sector. To increase career longevity, hospitality employers should improve induction and socialisation processes and recognise their employees’ professional identity. Social implications This paper significantly extends the notion of belonging and social connection in service work. “Social connection” is distinctly different from social and networking career competencies. Strong social connection is created by a fusion of complex social relationships with managers, co-workers and guests, ultimately creating the sense of a respected professional identity and satisfying career. Originality/value The contemporary concept of a successful hospitality career is associated with an upwards career trajectory; however, this paper suggests that at the lower hierarchical levels of service work, many individuals enjoy complex satisfying careers with no desire for further advancement.
  • Item
    Onboarding for New Managers? Yeah, nah
    (School of Hospitality & Tourism, Auckland University of Technology, ) Watkins, C; Mooney, SK
    This article explores the onboarding process for new managers joining food and beverage organisations, and the role of Organisational Socialisation. Our study identified a heavy reliance on informal training practices, most frequently through on-the-job learning, meaning that newcomers were found to depended on their subordinates’ support to gain vital institutional information. To mitigate the disconnect between hiring and becoming an accepted leader, Human Resource Managers have an opportunity to adjust their managerial onboarding. 
  • Item
    POTS and PANdemic: Chef wellbeing amidst COVID-19
    (School of Hospitality & Tourism, Auckland University of Technology, ) Robinson, RNS; Mooney, SK; Brenner, ML; Doan, T
    As most developed nations emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic period, amid exceptionally high hospitality labour shortages, it is timely and important to understand the state of chefs and cooks’ mental health and wellbeing (MH&W) and individual and organisational outcomes of the pandemic. A survey (pending publication) by this article’s authors, of Australasian chefs in Australia and New Zealand during late-2021, aimed to give insights into these two interlinked factors.
  • Item
    Rethinking Tourism’s Definition, Scope and Future of Sustainable Work and Employment: Editorial for the Journal of Sustainable Tourism Special Issue on “Locating Workforce at the Heart of Sustainable Tourism Discourse”
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022-05-24) Mooney, S; Robinson, R; Solnet, D; Baum, T
    This special issue of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism showcases research that addresses an identified gap that is the relative neglect of the sustainability concept in a workforce context. The special issue presents 10 papers, each making a unique and distinct contribution to knowledge. This extended review/editorial presents a critique of current definitions of sustainability in an employment, and specifically in a tourism employment context, acknowledging and critiquing extant literature. The review then moves on to summarising all the submissions to this special issue, uniquely recognising the themes from both submissions as well as accepted papers. These exercises culminate in the presentation of a refreshed conceptualisation of sustainable employment, before we introduce the final selected papers. The submissions are mapped onto a proposed conceptual framework, which recognises the multi-dimensional influences of the evolving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recent Sustainable Human Resource Management (SHRM) and tourism literature, and the hot-off-the-press contributions to theory of this special issue. Finally, the paper offers concluding remarks that we hope will influence and guide future research endeavours.
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