The qualitative results for this study were collected with the help of the part of the questionnaire that specifically targeted qualitative data. In particular, the questions were structured in an open-end manner so that the respondents could provide their ideas and understandings of the concepts assessed without being limited or controlled by the form of the questions. In total, there were eight qualitative questions (seven in general, but question six has two parts). They are listed below:
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- Q1: Name three words when mentioning about “effective communication?”
- Q2: What do you consider as ineffective communications?
- Q3: Name one or two scenarios of effective communication and ineffective communication in multicultural situations
The multicultural situation involves “substantial numbers of employees of more than one ethnicity or nationality, diversity in language and cultural values.” (Amason, Allen, & Holmes, 1999, p. 311).
- Q4: What precautions must be kept in mind when interacting with people from other cultures?
- Q5: Name three deviant or withdrawal behaviors that might arise due to management’s ineffective communication/feedback or communication barriers. (Examples of deviant behaviors such as low morale, absenteeism, lower productivity, not committed to the company, make fun of others ethnicity, religious, or race at work, low level of citizenship behavior, etc.)
- Q6-A: Please indicate the major reason(s) why you consider a career in the hospitality/tourism industry?
- Q6-B: Please indicate the reason(s) why you plan “not” to work in the hospitality/tourism industry in the future?
- Q7: Name three things that should be carried out by management to solve the communication barriers which you feel those methods would improve your satisfaction, engagement, motivation, performance, or overall wellbeing?
Because the questions were designed in an open-ended manner, the respondents were able to provide many different answers. This approach was chosen specifically to enable the participants to add diversity to their responses and introduce ideas and perspectives that were both common and rare. In that way, answering the same question, some of the respondents provided similar or identical answers, and some mentioned concepts and interpretations that were unique to their particular points of view. Below is the discussion of each question and the most common responses.
Question 1: Name three words when mentioning about “effective communication?”
This question had several common answers. The most popular response involved “clarity of the information” – eight people named it. Many respondents treated this question as a request to define effective communication, and that is why “clarity of the information” was named most frequently. The second most popular answer to the first question was “listening” this response shares its position with “respect” that was also named by several participants – both answers were given by six people. The third most commonly named definition of effective communication was “body language and eye contact” (five people named it).
Question 2: What do you consider as ineffective communications?
The most popular answer to this question (given by three people) was “loud”. The respondents said that: yelling at one another is ineffective. One more statement for this response was: when people scream the listening stops and the communication becomes ineffective. The next cluster of popular responses involved “ignoring the employees”, “lying”, “attitude”, and “not paying attention”.
Question 3: Name one or two scenarios of effective communication and ineffective communication in multicultural situations
The responses to this question mainly revolved around one’s understanding of cultural differences or lack thereof. Some of the common responses involved “speaking different languages”, “talking politely”, “not being open-minded”, and “when managers communicate with high ego”. The statements the respondents supported their answers as to knowing cultural differences included: it is important to keep an open mind when talking to different people, and not judge them according to your own life experience. Also, as to the managers’ communication with the staff, the participants said: often, managers can be ignorant and treat workers with disrespect, when the workers notice this, communication becomes less of teamwork and more of a conflict.
Question 4: What precautions must be kept in mind when interacting with people from other cultures?
The most common answer to this question was “respect others traditions and culture”. The respondents said: we meet many people at work, from all around the world, cultural differences should be respected and not rejected. Also, another common response was “not offending others”; the participants said that a hospitality worker should be educated and mindful as to potential differences to avoid doing or saying offensive things.
Question 5: Name three deviant or withdrawal behaviors that might arise due to management’s ineffective communication/feedback or communication barriers.
This question had responses of two different types – the behaviors that occur as a response to the ineffective communication and the ones that represent it. The former was reflected in such answers as “skipping work” and “low productivity”, and the latter – “stereotype”, “inappropriate behavior”, and “unprofessional work”. The participants noted that ineffective communication leads to stress at work and the desire not to go there. Also, some respondents stated that when feedback is only negative, it kills the desire to work and improve.
Question 6 (A): Please indicate the major reason(s) why you consider a career in the hospitality/tourism industry?
The most popular answer was “interacting with other cultures”, the other frequently mentioned reasons include “Job opportunities and growing industry” and
“I like traveling and tourism activities”. In particular, the respondents stated that hospitality is never going out of business it offers great growth opportunities; also, they associated it with traveling and meeting new people – I like new experiences, and hospitality is perfect for this – so many different interesting people, it’s like learning something new about the world every day.
Question 6 (B): Please indicate the reason(s) why you plan “not” to work in the hospitality/tourism industry in the future?
“Too much work (long hours)” was the most common answer; the participants also named such reasons as “low payment”, “limited growth”, and “low morale among managers”. Specifically, some stated that hospitality looks good on the outside but it’s very difficult and not paid well. Besides, some mentioned that it is discouraging when your work is other people’s rest, you keep wondering – when am I going to be like them?
Question 7: Name three things that should be carried out by management to solve the communication barriers.
The participants named “providing sufficient information clearly”, “respect”, and “education for the employees” as some of the primary ways to solve the issue of communication. They stated that if only duties were explained better and we had someone to consult when we need help – it would make things much easier. Also, they said that the managers are unavailable and we’re on our own, they need to show more respect for our work and be more available for help.
The results of all the questions about can be grouped into six main categories – understanding of effective communication, understanding of ineffective communication, outcomes of ineffective communication, motivators in the hospitality industry, demotivators in the hospitality industry, eliminating ineffective communication. The selection of statements responding to each of the categories is presented in the table below.
|Understanding of effective communication|| |
|Understanding of ineffective communication|| |
|Outcomes of ineffective communication|| |
|Motivators in the hospitality industry|| |
|Demotivators in the hospitality industry|| |
|Eliminating ineffective communication|| |
Recommendations and Implications
As reported by Gong (2008), the hospitality industry is one of the spheres that faces the challenges of intercultural communication the most. Moreover, Grobelna (2015) points out that intercultural communication does not refer only to the interactions between the employees and their clients; it also covers many communication concerns that arise between the managers and the rest of the staff because due to the seasonal nature of the work, hospitality establishments often use the services of contingent workers who may come from abroad. Also, Jameson (2007) explains the multiculturalism in this industry by the ongoing growth of the globalization influence.
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Overall, the qualitative part of the questionnaire showed that the respondents fully understood and acknowledged the challenges of communication between people of diverse cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the participants knew how to deal with these challenges, what to do and what not to do when encountering people from different cultures. Their answers demonstrated awareness of the importance of understanding, mindfulness, inclusion, keeping an open mind, and showing respect to the traditions and background of the others. Managing a culturally diverse workforce is a challenging and complicated task. Devine, Baum, and Hearns (2009) emphasize that the differences may be both visible (race and ethnicity) and invisible (religion, language); moreover, the scholars add that age, gender, sexual orientation are also the aspects of cultural diversity that need to be taken into consideration.
The responses to question 5 also showed that the participants could name the causes and consequences of ineffective communication and realized how harmful it could be to the workplace environment. Namely, the following causes of ineffective behavior were identified: yelling, disrespectful treatment, lack of clear delivery of information, failure to offer guidance, and help. As for the consequences of ineffective communication, the respondents named absenteeism, stress, conflict, miscommunication of information, and low performance. Goutam (2013) reported very similar causes and outcomes when researching versatile spheres of management and career fields. The answers given to question 7 showed that the respondents had ideas as to the practices that could help eliminate ineffective communication. In particular, they named the timely provision of feedback, respectful treatment of the workers, clear and comprehensive delivery of information, and accessible help and guidance from the part of the managers.
Based on these findings, the managers are recommended to make the following adjustments in their treatment of the workers:
- Provide better guidance and help to the workers (especially the new ones)
- Be more available for assistance, offer help, inquire if the workers face any difficulties
- Give feedback on the staff’s performance regularly
- Avoid yelling at workers, getting annoyed, using disrespectful tone
- Establish clear communication (comprehensively explain rules, repeat and clarify if needed, maybe create a leaflet with FAQs and tips, employee handbooks, use reminders).
The findings imply that the workers are aware of the problems that need addressing and are willing to work on the solutions to these issues. Moreover, they know which measures need to be taken to eliminate the existing challenges and create a more pleasurable work environment stimulating productive performance. Finally, as shown in the responses by question 6 part B, some employees see the lack of effective communication with the management as a serious threat to their future career in hospitality. That is why the issues need to be addressed as soon as possible. To increase employee engagement and reduce turnover intention, the managers are recommended to meet the employees halfway and practice mutual understanding and support using establishing friendly and trustworthy relations. Namely, the findings show that the workers suffer from exclusion and feel underappreciated by the managers, so the following changes are required:
- More frequent communication with the employees (discussion of important work-related issues, allowing the workers to contribute to solutions and offer ideas)
- Provision of appraisal for good performance and advice instead of criticism when the performance is low
- Daily interactions with the employees to minimize the division between the managers and the rest of the staff.
Devine, F., Baum, T., & Hearns, N. (2009). Resource Guide: Cultural Awareness for Hospitality and Tourism. Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Network, 3, 1-16.
Gong, Y. (2008). Managing cultural diversity in hospitality industry. UNLV Paper 480, 1-58.
Goutam, A. (2013). Effective communication at workplace. IRC’s International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research in Social and Management Sciences, 1(2), 80-83.
Grobelna, A. (2015). Intercultural Challenges Facing the Hospitality Industry.
Implications for Education and Hospitality Management. Journal of Intercultural Management, 7(3), 101–117.
Jameson, D. A. (2007). Developing hospitality managers’ intercultural communication abilities: The cocktail party simulation. Cornell Hospitality Tools, 9, 6-20.