From self-employed hospitality entrepreneur to paid employee: the motivational factors behind the transition

Andringa, Siets
Poulston, Jill
Pernecky, Tomas
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

The New Zealand hospitality industry is characterised by a high rate of business start-ups and closures, especially in small and medium enterprises (Inland Revenue Department, 2011). One reason for this is that many businesses are not financially viable. There are, however, successful hospitality entrepreneurs who are leaving self-employment to return to paid employment, and this study sought to discover the motivational factors behind this transition.

Research findings are based on qualitative data gathering through in-depth interviews conducted with 16 participants through a period of four months. Participants were ex-entrepreneurs of small New Zealand hospitality businesses. The focus was on small business owners because the majority of the New Zealand hospitality industry is represented by small sized businesses (Restaurant Association of New Zealand, 2008; Statistics New Zealand, 2010) and these small businesses are vital to New Zealand’s economy (Hospitality Standards Institute, 2012). The participants stated a wide range of push and pull motivational factors as the reason for their decision to return to paid employment. Using an interpretive paradigm, ten themes on influences on leaving the hospitality entrepreneurship emerged during the analysis: family, work-life imbalance, health and stress, age, planned exit, security and stability of paid employment, education, expectations of others, lack of personal and professional development during the operation, and intuition.

This research provides evidence that some entrepreneurs leave self-employment in favour of paid employment from choice rather than being forced to take this step. As many motivational push and pull factors are identified, a diagram is designed to provide a broader overview. It shows entrepreneurs from a larger perspective, and that the exit process is influenced by a combination of factors such as their personal environment, personal goals and personal beliefs, social and economic factors, and the external environment. A table is designed in which the findings of this research are compared to Maslow’s hierarchy of motivational needs. Maslow’s pyramid of needs is placed within external environments that influence the needs of individuals.

Hospitality , Entrepreneurs , Exit , Motivation
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