Accreditation As a Response to Employment Relations Challenges in New Zealand Hospitality SMEs
This dissertation examines professional body accreditation as a response to employment relations challenges in New Zealand hospitality small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Professional body accreditation occurs when groups like The Restaurant Association of New Zealand create a structured, self-regulating accreditation system for its members based on defined criteria and standards. This accreditation aims to help members be successful by facilitating training and support to raise overall standards of business practice.
The New Zealand restaurant sector forms a core part of the tourism industry, one of New Zealand’s largest export earning activities. While restaurants are important to New Zealand economically and as large employers, they suffer from long-standing and intense employment problems, including high labour turnover, low pay, precarious employment and dependence on migrant workers. Recent increases in the minimum wage rates and potential restrictions on migrant laborers are adding pressure to already marginal businesses. This research explores the role of accreditation as a response to these employment challenges.
This dissertation is undertaken in partnership with The Restaurant Association of New Zealand (RANZ) to provide research on comparative accreditation schemes used in the international hospitality sector, to present recommendations for a proposed RANZ accreditation system. Recommendations are based on a synthesis of the international accreditation best practice as well as the relevance of those accreditation systems to the New Zealand employment relations context. The dissertation is applied research, aimed at providing RANZ with useable, comparative data, to inform their decisions regarding creating an accreditation system for their members.
This dissertation applies an interpretive research approach using qualitative methods. The research uses text-based secondary sources which were thematically analyzed, with the results presented in a narrative form. This dissertation makes several contributions to the field of hospitality. This dissertation fills a considerable gap in the literature as there is no existing research which links accreditation and employment relations challenges in the hospitality sector. This dissertation also contributed to applied research in hospitality by gathering and comparing various accreditation systems to find best practices which could help RANZ design an effective New Zealand accreditation programme for their members.