Sacking, staffing and supervision in commercial hospitality

Poulston, J
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Sociological Association of Aotearoa N.Z. (SAANZ)

Anecdotally, hospitality has a reputation for poor ethical standards, and preliminary results from this doctoral study indicate such a reputation is well founded. However, the expected crimes of sexual harassment, theft, the service of alcohol to minors, and poor food hygiene, do not appear to be the main concerns. Instead, staff complain of persistent unfair treatment by supervisors, and the struggle to provide service in an environment of poor training and critical under-staffing.

This paper investigates the incidence of constructive dismissals and harsh treatment by supervisors in the Auckland hospitality industry, and the under-staffing and high turnover rates currently being experienced. Initial quantitative and qualitative analyses from 453 questionnaires are presented, in an attempt to shed light on some disturbing trends in this industry.

Hospitality has a crucial role in tourism, which accounted for 14% of New Zealand’s export earnings in 2002 (Provisional Tourism Satellite Account 2000-2002, 2003). Understanding the cause and extent of unethical behaviour is a significant step towards protecting the New Zealand industry from the traditions of opportunism and moral insensitivity prevalent in the hospitality industry in some countries.

Sociological Association of Aotearoa N.Z. (SAANZ) Conference 2004, Victoria University of Wellington, pages 1 - 9
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