Ethics in American Hospitality Industry

Abstract

This study assesses the effect of Common Work Ethics (CWE) on two intertwined variables, namely job satisfaction and employee performance. Previous research has tackled this issue from a myriad of viewpoints and semantic differences using terminologies such as employee satisfaction or organizational performance or Business Ethics in place of this study’s chosen language. This shall be addressed further within the paper in the ‘definitions’ segment for clarity purposes. This study conducted a survey over the hospitality population with a working sample of a hundred and ten (110) from which seventy (70) responses were received, which tally up to a response rate of 64% [round figure]. The research methodology included surveying as the data collection procedure and using SPSS software for analysis. The results indicate a positive relationship between the variables. Therefore, the position of this paper is that the relationship is directly proportional. It concludes by recommending further researchers and hoteliers concerning increasing their productivity by improving their organizational ethics.

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Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the priceless contribution of my tutor to this work. Also, my parents’ constant encouragement and support during this research project have kept me going. They are the reason for their successful completion.

I would also like to thank the respective group members for their active involvement in and devotion to the task of carrying out the research, analyzing the data, and compiling the findings into a coherent piece.

Introduction

Ethics is a critical part of any organization’s success strategy plan as it denotes the internal affairs of the organization. It has been said that ethics are invisible and only become apparent when they are lacking. This assertion is true. Unfortunately, by the time that deficiency manifests, the price is usually too high if beleaguered firms such as Enron are the pacesetters or role models for your organization. The service industry is rapidly taking over the economies of most global players and ethics in the hospitality industry is quickly becoming an issue. This claim is evidenced by the tones of research that have already been conducted to tackle this matter.

Ethics is important for the well-being of an organization. It determines the effectiveness of an organization and its operations. In the hospitality industry, ethical practices help to avoid conflicts based on issues such as racial and cultural differences, gender bias, and dishonesty among others. Ethics and morals are intertwined. They supplement one another in the workplace. Moral and ethical standards guide the organization as well as improve employees’ interaction among themselves and with customers. Several types of research have been conducted on the aspect of ethics in the hospitality industry. The human resource direction has recorded several ethical issues in the hospitality industry. They have mentioned a range of problems, which include employees being disrespectful to each other, racial conflicts, cultural differences, gender troubles, dishonesty, and issues that majorly deal with the differences emanating from the different sexual orientations of the various players in the industry, among others.

Ethics in the hospitality industry is evolving. Changing values and cultural diversity indicate that a negative perception of the industry as a whole or particular organizations will likely occur where players neglect ethical standards. It is the role of the organization and employees to live, communicate organizational ethics, and provide leadership in their management.

This research majorly looked into the common organizational work ethics about employee job satisfaction and performance. One of the objectives of this study was to determine the link between common work ethics, employee satisfaction, and employee performance.

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Research Questions

By embracing the foregoing deliberation, this research aims at answering the following questions:

  1. What is the impact of greater awareness of hotel employees’ ethical climate on their job satisfaction?
  2. What is the impact of greater hotel employees’ perception of ethical climate on their performance level?

Therefore, the hypotheses to be tested are:

  • H1: A greater awareness of hotel employees’ ethical climate leads to a greater job satisfaction
  • H2: A greater hotel employees’ perception of ethical climate leads to a greater performance level

Review of Academic Literature

Stacy (2001) defines ethics in business as a guide in the way a business conducts itself. Acting morally entails distinguishing between “wrong” and “wrong” and coming up with the “right” choice. Though Donaldson (2000) explains it is not easy to fix a good definition of good ethical practice, an organization should aim at being competitive and treat its employees justly. Besides, it should minimize harm to the eco-system and devise ways of co-existing with the communities in which it works.

This research, therefore, aims at looking into the issue of ethics in the American hospitality industry. The hospitality industry has a wide array of permissible beliefs and behavior. Hence, Hall (1992) points out that management and employees should strive to have a comprehensive appreciation of what is construed as correct or incorrect.

Common Work Ethics

Collins (2001) points out that the managerial theorists affirm that any organization’s most revered component is its employees. Therefore, organizations have aimed at devising several ways in an attempt to care for them. For instance, organizations have strived to understand how employees feel and think about the organization’s culture. Striving to understand employees has made some organizations understand the behaviors of employees to determine the ethical implication of the same (Collins, 2001).

Ostroff’s (1993) explains that at the center of the organization is ethics. Ethics has been an important factor in most organizations because it helps to establish the degree to which the organization relates to its employees and vice versa. Ostroff’s also (1993) points out that organization management must lead by example in encouraging ethical behaviors in the organization. According to Ostroff (1993), an organization’s top management is the role model of the organization. Thus, they should be at the forefront in setting an ethical tone in the organization. Ostroff’s (1993) illustrates that ethical leadership encompasses personal competencies and these competencies help to promote ethics among employees, thereby fixing a connection between employee performance and the organization (Wimmer, & Dominick, 2006).

However, the limitation of literature has impeded understanding the relationship linking the organization behavior and managers leading by example in terms of ethics (Barsch and Lisewski, 2008, p. 44). Whitney (1990) pointed out that workers in the hotel business require an advanced stage of moral awareness relative to other organizations. Besides, they need to have a stronger conscience to evaluate ethical problems about the organization’s principles. The hotel industry consists of many employees diversities compared to other industries. It is made up of diverse employees from different backgrounds, races, religions, and educational backgrounds Kelley and Dorsch (1991). Hall (1992) points out that the hospitality industry embraces a wide range of ethically permitted behavior and beliefs, which make it maintain its image and integrity. Therefore, he revealed how employees in the hospitality industry need to have a universal understanding of right from wrong (Hall, 1992).

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Kelley and Dorsch (1991) explain that though little research has been conducted to show the link between the organization’s ethical environment and organizational commitment, other studies have shown that indeed the connection exists. Kelley and Dorsch (1991) argued, “A positive relationship exists between the organization’s ethical climate and employees’ commitment to the specific rules tied to that organization” (p. 346). Similarly, Ostroff’s (1993) revealed an active link between the environmental aspect and the organization’s loyalty. Additionally, Hunt et al (1989) affirmed that an organization’s ethical tenets are important forecasters of organizational commitment. Further, Hunt et al (1989) in their study involving 1,246 marketing professionals discovered that ethical conduct was compensated and unethical conduct was castigated in the organization for which they were working.

Also, gender plays an important role in the hospitality industry (Kelley & Dorsch, 1991). It helps determine how an organization relates to employees. Gender has occupied a leading role in many studies centered on business ethics yielding different results (Barsch & Lisewski, 2008). Some research has indicated that there is a big difference in ethical viewpoints between sexes. For instance, Alabaum and Peterson (2006) pointed out that men were less favorable than females. Similarly, in a research carried out by Hunt et al. (1989) on promotion management staff, they noted, “female marketers alleged ethical problems in their duties than male marketers” (p. 79). Moreover, they also observed that female employees are more dedicated to an organization than males when their favored ethical environment and their definite ethical work climate equal (Luthar et al., 1997; Arlow, 1991).

In another study carried out by Kelley and Dorsch (1991), it was noted that women and men hold divergent views of how ethical behavior contributed to positive business results. Also, their study revealed that an employee being visible to integrative ethical education projected an optimistic approach on how the present ethical climate is and how it ought to be (Luthar et al., 1997). D’Aquila et al. (2004) discovered that female employees had a strong belief than the male that ethical benchmark leverages an organization’s competitive position. On the other hand, men alluded that ethical standards fade an organization’s competitive position. In his study among Turkish students, Akatan et al. (2008) found out that female students had a higher mean score than males in terms of acting legally and ethically than exclusively economically.

However, it is crucial to note that the organization’s moral standing is usually determined to a major extent by individuals. These could include the top management or the actual owners of the business. Due to their position, they come up with certain policies that trickle down to the whole organization, thereby, creating the picture of how that the organization runs. This in turn creates the picture of that organization’s moral standing and brings to the forefront the importance of the influential individual in the organization. If the individual in the organization has high moral standing, this can impact the organization positively and, if the reverse is true, then the organization tends to have low moral standing. This means that the influential individual should not be one who tells the employees to do everything they can as long as profit, work, and customer satisfaction are achieved. This is quite a dangerous path to follow.

Job satisfaction in the hotel industry

Job satisfaction is a term used to assess an employee’s attitude, emotions towards his/her job, and/or how diligent he/she is toward an assigned duty. According to Wolf (1970), the job satisfaction definition has been stressed based on three major perspectives, that is, generality, the extent to which satisfaction and variance between an individual and the required returns are realized, and lastly, job satisfaction is defined based on criterion framework. By embracing generality, Agho et al. (1992) point out that job satisfaction labels the emotional reactions to one’s job, that is, a job that guarantees one’s happiness, productivity, and success. The definition based on criterion framework alludes that job satisfaction is where an individual’s independent elucidation and perception are based on neutral qualities of the organizations that would be subjective by a person’s criterion framework. In some cases, Smith et al. (1975) point out that job satisfaction can emanate after an individual interprets the job qualities based on the criterion framework. Therefore, the influence that an employee receives from a given task can be mirrored to several other aspects such as making a comparison between a good and a bad job, personal competency, and experiences among others (Smith et al., 1975).

In the hotel industry, Cranny et al. (1992) allude, “literature has pointed out job satisfaction in several ways over the years” (p. 1). Wolf (1970) shares his views by illustrating that the amalgamation of environmental and psychological situations that make an individual satisfied with his/her work as one process in which job satisfaction has been determined. On the same point, other research has pointed out that job satisfaction is a way of pursuing fulfillment through questioning whether the job meets their employee’s psychological and physical needs or not, as pointed out by Cranny et al (1992, p. 1).

Barsch and Lisewski (2008) posit, “Job satisfaction may also be internally derived from mediated rewards such as opportunities enhancing growth, the job itself, or success” (p. 84). Also, it can be derived externally employing intrinsic rewards such as customers or organization policies, promotion opportunities, pay increase, and support among others as stated by Walker et al. (1977). Although these aspects have been vital in assessing job satisfaction, Walker et al (1977) point out that they have proved a challenge to researchers in determining the extent of measuring and calculating job satisfaction. Furthermore, these aspects have contributed to misinterpretation of results or coming formulating wrong judgment according to Walker et al (1977).

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Barsky and Nash (2004) cite that many authors have strived to determine the elements that contribute to job satisfaction in the hotel industry. According to Aksu and Aktas (2005), in their study, employee satisfaction on the job was influenced by strong confidence in their organizations and their emotions. Similarly, a study carried out by Turkish supervisors in first-class hotels by Aksu, Aktas (2005) revealed that regardless of the poor wages and/or the extended running period, they were contented with their work. This was because they liked the job itself and had authority tied to their positions and them, managing a first-class facility in itself was prestige as indicated by Aksu and Aktas (2005). Scott and Taylor (1985) point out that, in the hotel industry, job satisfaction is closely linked to the organization’s success. Scott and Taylor (1985) point out that the amalgamation of these components also relates to the organization’s improved general performance. More specifically, Savery and Luks (2001) show that job satisfaction is tied to augmented an organization’s performance as evaluated by improved employee productivity. Moreover, motivation also contributes to job satisfaction. However, as Sledge et al. (2008) indicate, there has been “little study carried out to establish the relationship between job satisfaction and motivation and the effect of culture in the workplace” (p. 1669).

Barsky and Nash (2004) found out in their study that job satisfaction has a positive impact on the employee’s intention to stick with the organization. Moreover, Sledge et al (2008) suggested that employees with high levels of job satisfaction are more productive and tend to stick with the same organization for a longer time. However, Choi (2006) explains a strong negative link that prevails on the level of employee turnover and job satisfaction when individual optimism is in play. In his study focusing on Korean hotel employees, Chiang et al (2005) noted that there was a strong negative link between the intention of a turnover and job satisfaction. On the same note, Chiang et al.’s (2005) study confirmed that a “high rate of absenteeism emanated from low job satisfaction which in turn correlated with higher levels of deliberate employee turnover” (p. 104).

Furthermore, in their study, Scott and Taylor (1985) showed that “a negative link between absenteeism and job satisfaction especially the rate of absence exists” (p. 600). They underlined that satisfied employees demonstrated lower levels of absenteeism than less satisfied employees did. In another study carried out to determine job satisfaction on Taiwanese hotel employees, Hwang and Chi (2005) discovered that handling employees as customers of the organization was positively connected to organizational performance. Similarly, in Florida’s four-star hotels, Sizoo et al (2005) learned that employees with a higher rate of intercultural feeling showed higher rates of social satisfaction and job satisfaction. These studies show that culture plays a key role in influencing an employee’s perception of job satisfaction. Yang (2008) cites, “culture may play a role in promoting positive commitment, reducing the employee’s intention to leave, influences the outcome of the organization and leads to low rates of turnovers” (p. 429).

Lynn (2010) has greatly looked at ethics in the hospitality industry. This report, which involved a survey on 26 establishments, reflected that there was a relationship between the leadership of the managers and the job satisfaction of the employees such that if managers were ethical, there was a marked satisfaction by the employees; hence, a decrease in the turnover. In another study conducted on about 788 Korean food service staff in hospitality establishments that are run and managed through the contract to determine whether worker-organization fit would reduce subsequent turnover, it was found that the most reliable fit emerged when the values of the employees did match the company values (Lee and Way, 2010). It was finally found that the turnover greatly reduced when the values of the employees were in line with those of the organization. When employees are inducted with ethics, they tend to advance the establishment’s image and even reduce the frequency to switch jobs.

In yet another survey by the same study in which about fifty employees in a casino were surveyed, it was established that distributive justice (that is a case where equal pay, workload, incentives, etc.) leads directly to a marked rise in the ethical behavior of the employee reduced turnover (Jung et a., 2010). Further, it was found that frontline employees, who projected ethical behavior to their customers, ended up having a high level of job satisfaction. This means that the employees were able to explain to the customers why certain rules were applied and generally. In such cases, perceptions of unfairness were minimized and this made the employees greatly satisfied.

However, in some related research the study above, one sees that satisfaction of employees has some relation with the nationality. This finding thus serves to be crucial in that this information will help this paper to probably consider the nationality mix of those to be interviewed with the effect on the responses to the questionnaire.

The link between morale and the attendant ethical strategy of the establishment does come to the fore here. Again, this has much to do with how productive the employees’ job satisfaction and the attendant commitment to the organization. If the employee is not committed to the organization, it loses in both productivity and image.

Ethical issues vary, as they come with different expectations. For instance, employee satisfaction differs, some employees are motivated by intrinsic rewards whereas others by external rewards. Hence, a wide range of organizations has implemented far-reaching measures to do with empowering their employees to promote job satisfaction among their employees. This has entailed harnessing and nurturing the best there is in the market and urging the workers to try to implement. Empowering workers have required that they can make informed decisions. Marriot has been the champion of implementing this program of empowering its employees. However, many players have not been able to implement this program. The employees are well trained, mentored, and authorized to make decisions, and these impacts greatly on job satisfaction. With this program, barriers that do hinder employee satisfaction are minimized, hence the employees go out of their way to meet and even exceed customers’ expectations.

In a scholarly erudition entitled Job Satisfaction Among Information Technology Professionals, Ghazzawi (2008), it was found that professionals in information technology found their jobs more satisfying if the organizations exhibited a practical commitment to social responsibility and well-structured ethical standards. It can thus be concluded that ethical organizations stood a higher chance of retaining their staff and hence more profitable in contrast to the organizations which do not consider social responsibility (Holjevac, 2008). The above study is useful to this research in that on top of adding to the body of knowledge to this research, it shows the relationship between employee satisfaction and ethics in the American hospitality industry. The researcher is going to find out ethical foundations concerning the general success of the hotels (McGehee, 2009).

Common Organizational Ethics and Employee performance

There exists a link between common work ethics and employee performance in the hotel industry. Most organizations take ethics as just any set of regulations. Incorporating common work ethics is in an organization is fundamental in sustaining projected growth and eventual optimal performance of that organization. This may apply to both private and even public organizations.

Although a lot of literature linking ethics and performance in the hospitality industry is scarce, it is possible to note that there are obvious inter-linkages that show that, with proper ethical climate implemented in the hospitality industry, the number of guests will be definitely on the rise. Of great concern is the fact that the absence of work ethics in any organization eats away into its core profitability, as most clients will end up shunning the services that are offered by such an establishment.

Whenever there is strong-shared work ethics in an organization, this case is projecting a strong message that the establishment holds onto strong values and pride. This, therefore, shows that the organization deeply believes in the activities it carries out in the market place. Work ethics, as it is acknowledged, does place responsibility and commitment on whatever any organization sets out to do. The essence of ethical behavior is shared across the cultures of the world. Whenever there is a set ethos, it is expected that employers and customers will tend to be more receptive to the ideals of that particular organization (Lee & Way, (2010). This interplay further reflects that a committed worker is more likely to be productive than the one who is not committed. It has further been shown that when an employee is committed, then performance goes up.

The organization needs to foster common ethics to get the best in the workforce. In a survey carried in the U.S., it was found that about a third of the public interviewed believed that the top executives were honest. The executives themselves, in the same survey, acknowledged that their companies’ public statements concerning ethics did conflict a great deal with the internal reality. The existence of such a scenario points to the fact that such organizations do not have a culture of common organizational ethics. Therefore, employee performance suffers. In another research carried out it was found out that the staff is quite sensitive to unethical behavior touching on their welfare. This has to do with the matters concerning staff administration. Issues such as wanton favoritism in staff recruitment, remuneration, promotion, allocation of duties, etc, do have a lasting negative effect on staff performance. To enhance staff performance, the survey finds out, the organization should always strive to put in place a clear company policy. This policy should show clearly stated. This survey singled out the issue of allocation of duties and compensation as some of the sticking issues that hamper employee performance. It thus suggests that the need for the hotel administration to try as much as possible to be transparent in the allocation of duties and any other issues that may affect the employee performance. Finally, in cases where such measures are not clear-cut, then there is a very high perception of an unethical working environment and this may adversely affect employee performance.

Synthesis of key theory (ies) to be tested or used, leading to the aim and objectives of the study

From the literature review, an organization is important in supporting employees’ ethical growth. In supporting employees, organizations go an extra mile in understanding their employees in tandem with the organization’s culture theories. This aspect has been significant in understanding employees’ behaviors (Collins, 2001). Ethics needs the support of top management in the organization. The top management should cultivate the culture of leading by example as supported by Ostroffs (1993). On the same note, ethical leadership entails having personal proficiencies, which are important in nurturing the relationship between employee performance and the organization. Despite the overwhelming literature on ethics and employee performance, there is little literature focusing on ethics and organization performance in the hotel industry. An employee’s job satisfaction may be internal or external. Barsch and Lisewski (2008) reveal how employees can be motivated to work ethically by being rewarded financially or through promotions at the workplace. However, no findings have been attested to substantiate this claim

The theoretical basis of this paper is grounded on the deontology and utilitarian theories of ethics. The deontological theory posits that ethical behavior is a reflection of a person’s diligent fulfillment of his or her respective duties. Consequently, if a person performs the respective duties or tasks allocated to his or her due to the role he or she plays in a certain setting, optimum ethics shall prevail. For this reason, various people are given various tasks or duties depending on their skill or expertise. Within the offices that they act, certain ethical principles are naturally expected of them in the discharge of their duties. Consequently, the entire system shall benefit by the diligent fulfillment by each person of his or her respective duties.

The utilitarian theory on the other hand posits that what is ethical is that which yields the most benefit to the largest number of people. Utilitarianism is based on the ability to foretell the consequences of any action. Consequently, it is the guiding principle behind the codifying and required compliance with the ethics of an organization. It asserts that the more ethical the employees are (consequence), the better their performance they shall have put in. This claim is better understood in the reverse so that better performance is usually a consequence of great ethical integration and compliance in the organization and on the other hand, good ethical standing is evidence of the optimum performance of the staff in the organization.

Aims and Objectives of the study

The research, therefore, aims to:

  1. Demonstrate if there is a link between common work ethics and employee satisfaction
  2. Prove if common work ethics have a bearing on employee performance.

Methodology

This chapter essentially presents the research methodology that was employed to look into the relationship that exists between the following variables: common organizational work ethics, employee satisfaction, and employee performance. The conceptual model used in this study is discussed. Further, the research design, pilot study, and the survey design employed are equally introduced and discussed in this chapter. This chapter also introduces some comments that relate to the final survey in this study. Finally, data collection, as well as data analysis procedures, is equally explained in this chapter. It is expected that this research will be conducted between the moments of May to June 2013. It will concentrate on hotels in the USA namely Ritz Carton, Four Season’s Group of Hotels, Millennium Hotels, and W. Hotels.

Conceptual Model

Conceptual Model
Fig. 1.

The above conceptual model adopted is a slight modification of that used in Schwepker’s (2001) study. It proposes that if the ethical climate is positively perceived, then that perception will have a direct bearing on the employees’ job satisfaction and performance. This is important because the relationship developed will mirror the significance of the locus of business ethics in the hospitality industry.

Further, such awareness will help employers in the hospitality industry to be encouraged to include relevant business ethics in their establishments. They will also help them always endeavor to foster a positive ethical climate in the workplace and further enable them to effectively manage the diverse nature of their workforce.

This model further reveals that, if there is a good reputable ethical climate, cultural, ethnic background, and job satisfaction, the human resource departments stand to benefit a lot. This will help in stemming out some of the problems that human resources departments do face, on top of setting a path for an ethical and more responsible way in which things are done.

The survey will not consider the age of the respondents as another study asked interns if they considered a certain behavior ethical. This study was carried out in 39 countries. The female employees, it was found, tended to find certain questionable behavior to be more questionable than others did. It was further found that the American intern’s certain behavior to be more unethical as compared to their Asian counterparts. Thus, cultural differences did not cause any profound differences. In this study too, it was found that American interns did consider violations by the organization to be more unethical than what the European and Asian counterparts considered unethical. The age of the participant interns did not bring about any differences

Research Approach and Philosophy

It should be noted that several studies that have ever been conducted on the issues of ethics in the hospitality industry have always used the survey method as a tool for data collection. Most of the studies touched on issues that ranged from organizational commitment, employee job satisfaction, or even turnover intention concerning the ethical climate. According to Gall and Borg (2007), “A survey is a method of data collection using questionnaires or interviews to collect data from a sample that has been selected to represent a population to which the findings of the data analysis can be generalized.” McGehee (2009) finds survey research to be the best method that can be used for data collection that involves populations that are too large to be observed directly.

It should, however, be noted that all research methods do have an equal measure of strengths and weaknesses. This situation, therefore, applies to the survey method that this study is going to use. These strengths and weaknesses should never be overlooked.

Wimmer and Dominick (2006) have gone largely in providing important information towards the advantages that the survey method can bring to a particular study. According to them, surveys are appropriate in that they can delve into the problems present in realistic settings rather than those that are done in controlled atmospheres such as laboratory settings or rooms undertaking artificial conditions. The other advantage of the survey method is to do with the cost. It has been established that the survey method is less costly bearing in mind the quantity of information that the method can gather. Its cost is further directly linked to the kind of survey that will be employed. For example, one may decide to use postal mail, e-mail, telephone line, personal direct interview, and even decide to administer it to a group through group administration. Thus, when using a survey quite a large quantity of information can be gathered with relative ease from varied groups of people (Wimmer and Dominick, 2006). On choosing the survey method, the researchers do enjoy the flexibility to look at many elements or variables. This also gives them the free choice to implement varied statistical procedures in their analysis of the data. Further, Wimmer and Dominick (2006) view that the survey method is free from geographical boundary confinement as the survey method can be conducted almost anywhere. To add to it, there already exist data that are available from many primary or even secondary sources such as archives, documents in government repositories, media, etc, that can be used to help the survey research.

However, this method does have its share of disadvantages and these disadvantages must be taken into consideration. The major trouble with the survey method is the inability of the independent variable to be manipulated as is possible in the case of those involved in controlled environments such as laboratories. It should also be remembered that in the survey method there is a high likelihood of the words used in the questionnaire not passing the bias test. Any inappropriate word choice or even replacement made within a particular questionnaire will have an almost direct consequence of making the results emanating from that research to be biased. Besides, there is further the risk of wrong respondents answering the questionnaire. For example, some respondents may not have time to fill the questionnaire and decide to delegate that duty of filling it to the other person or member of staff. Further, there is the temptation of the researcher including in the questionnaire members who do not fit or match the sample criteria. Lastly, Wimmer and Dominick (2006) do find out that some forms of the surveys like telephone surveys, could prove quite difficult to conduct due to people blocking their calls, state regulations, and many other barriers. For example, in the USA, some states do prohibit placing phone calls at the homes of people without their express permission.

It is recommended that a good pilot test of the survey be carried out in periods before implementing the actual study (Gall, Gall and Borg 2007). It is noted that the pilot study should also provide some section on which criticisms and recommendations from the respondents can be aired as some of these recommendations might help the researcher to improve implementation of the actual study on top of picking respondents from the population in which the actual respondents will be drawn. Gall et al. (2007) do suggest that respondents could be asked to rephrase the question or, rather, write in their own words what each question meant to them. Should any discrepancy arise, then the question should be put to a thorough revision and re-tested to ensure the intended interpretation is achieved.

The study employed three forms of instruments divided into business, ethics, and employee satisfaction. The guidelines for the creation of these sections were based on Schwepker’s (2001) research. However, some adjustments were deliberately made to match the requisite needs of this study. First, the wording emanating from Schwepker’s (2001) questions was changed. The reason for doing this was to actually make it easier for all the employees in the said hotels to read and understand irrespective of their position or even the section in which they work. For instance, one of the questions in Schwepker’s (2001) study stated, “My opportunities for advancement are limited”. In this study, this question was reframed thus, “my opportunities for being promoted in this hotel are not good”.

Moreover, this research changed several words as appropriate. For example, in places where Schwepker (2001) used the word “customers,” it was changed in this study to “guests.” Similarly, the word “organization” was replaced by the word “hotel” while the words “regional sales manager” were replaced with “management.” Further, in all the response categories was placed a five-point Likert Scale ranging from (1) strongly agree to the last item (5) strongly disagree.

In measuring business ethics, the study employed the ethical climate scale used by Schwepker (2001) to carry out research. In his study, the measure was based on an easier work done by Qualls and Puto (1989). This consisted of seven-point Likert scale statements that had been used before to measure whether codes of ethics were present and enforced. It further delved into the specific corporate regulations on ethics as well as how top managers responded to required related ethics. He averaged his responses such that whenever there was a higher score, this was indicative of the salesperson’s feeling that there was a more ethical climate. In it, Schwepker (2000) reflected that the climate of ethics did have a reliability of about.89.

The seven statements relied upon more than others were since they very well reflected that the enforcement of the set codes of ethics and other corporate rules that governed ethical behavior were adhered to. To qualify this scale further, it was found that it could be effectively used across many cultures. Due to such strong proof, this current study adopted the same questions save for a few changes concerning the wording. For instance, the word “my company” got replaced with “this hotel” as “top management” got replaced with “management” in this study. Another change that occurred was the deletion of one question. This is because the seventh question did appear to be addressing the same issue as question six to read, “The hotel management promptly reprimands employees who involve themselves in unethical behavior”. The job satisfaction scale also had the same questions as those found in Schwepker’s (2001), which had the reliability of.90 just like with questions. Thus, for example, instead of “The Company has an unfair policy”, in this current paper, the question became “this hotel has an unfair policy,” among other changes as will be seen.

To avoid last-minute discrepancies, a pilot study was conducted at a local hotel solely with the responsibility of testing the reliability and validity of the research as well as other challenges and discrepancies. The researcher, therefore, had to contact the establishment’s human resources manager and provided him with a document showing the purpose of the study and several copies of the surveys in English and even Spanish. After being granted permission, about 22 surveys were presented to the hotel staff. A ‘thank you’ was given to members to thank them for having agreed to answer the questionnaire. It took them about 12 minutes to complete the questionnaire (Barsh 2008). Finally, 15 questionnaires were found to be usable. The respondents in this pilot survey did not find any trouble with questions and the whole procedure as a whole. This was an indicator that the survey was ready for the final execution and data collection.

Data Collection and Sampling

This study was based on hotels of different levels ranging from luxury establishments to those, which are midscale. This study did focus on finding out the perceptions of the employees towards the ethical behavior of the hotels. A request to the managers was made in the form of a letter so that they could grant permission for this survey to be carried out. As soon as the permission was granted, the researcher visited the said hotels and gave the employees the questionnaire during a meeting that had been pre-arranged by the human resource managers. The population for this research meant any member of staff who works in the hotel industry. The sample population was 110, sample size 70, and the response rate was 58 percent. The sample included supervisors, front office personnel, food, and beverage staff as well as housekeepers. Managers and supervisors were however excluded. An in-person survey was preferred as sending mail could lock out many respondents who did not have access to the internet. Also, most of the printed copies were back-translated into Spanish to make sure Spanish- speaking employees were not left out.

Faced with the challenge of distance, especially for the Millennium Hotels, the researcher mailed the questionnaires to the managers who, in turn, administered them to the employees. After being filled, the managers collected them and mailed them back to the researcher. The managers were under strict instruction that the anonymity of the respondents was paramount. However, as the research progressed, it became apparent that some employees did not complete the questionnaires. Some were unwilling to respond to certain items. Overall, the number of questionnaires returned was found to be sufficient for this survey.

Data Analysis

The research employed the use of SPSS software for the analysis of the data collected for the research. Moreover, the reliability and validity of the outcomes were evaluated. It was found that scales, which had a coefficient alpha of above 0.70, which represented satisfactory reliability. Validity was tested by confirming each scale through factor analysis. Face value was equally tested. According to Wimmer and Dominick (2006), face validity is only achieved when the measurement device is examined to see whether on the face of it measures what it is supposed to measure. Though this method has an element of subjectivity, the researcher gave the measurement to other experts to assess whether it was valid and their response was in the affirmative.

Reliability and Validity / Trustworthiness

As noted above, the research methodology was very direct and straightforward. However, there were several impediments concerning this research. They are discussed in more precise details within the ‘limitations’ segment of this paper that raise questions about the absolute reliability of this study. Among these are the possible interference or tampering with the information by misinformed intermediaries with vested interests and the lack of an instrument for racial differentiation as well as language and literacy gauges. These are among the various causes for a lack of absolute trust in the findings of this study. However, the research design and various tools used are valid, as they have been used by other researchers, with Schwepker’s research being the primary model for this particular project’s emulation. Concerning the designing of Schwepker’s questionnaire, it is notable that questions four through six are not fixed as they give the respondents quite a large leeway in the possibilities of answers. This control mechanism is built to protect against the other limitations in terms of race and literacy obscurity that are propagated by the general status of the questionnaire.

Limitations

As noted in the previous section, this research project is vulnerable to potential criticism, and rightfully so, because it was somewhat limited in the fidelity and accuracy of its data sampling and collection procedures. First off, there was no particular sampling design that was administered in the selection of the sample, which eventually participated in the research. In some hotels such as the millennium, the researcher just corresponded with management on the desired goals and later forwarded the forms for completion before having them mailed back for analysis. Consequently, there was a lot of room for interference with respondent either directly through express prohibition to answer some questions or indirectly through intimidating tactics. Finally, there was the size of the sample, which was very small as compared to the total population of the staff that currently works in the hospitality industry. The sample size of seventy, which was later reduced to 58 when the spoilt questionnaires were subtracted, is not particularly ‘generalizable’. However, as noted elsewhere in this paper, this was not too significant a limitation especially considering that the study was conducted across four very representative hospitality hubs. Therefore, four sampling pools are credible representations of the actual occurrence in most hospitality providers in the country.

Results

This study’s validity was ascertained before its execution by conducting a pilot study of a local hotel establishment. The targeted respondents in the pilot study amounted to twenty-two (22). Out of these, fifteen (15) were found worthy of analysis. The rationale for the pilot study was to measure the effectiveness of the proposed model for the study, which is based largely on Schwepker’s work in 2001, especially concerning the variables of job satisfaction and employee performance, but also with the relevant bases including gender, culture, and age among others. Minor changes in terminology and truncation were made to contextualize the questionnaires to the current study as noted above.

Additionally, the pilot study was intended to correct any issues with the structuring of the questionnaires to ensure that the questions as they had been written originally made perfect sense to the respondents. This was done by asking the respondents what they understood by the question, which was not a separate question, but one that was inferred from the nature of answers proffered by these respondents. Judging by their correct responses, a majority of fifteen as compared to only seven being cast off, the questionnaires were adjudged worthy. The pilot study is significant because the results obtained from this smaller sample have a bearing in the general study. They can be used for comparison purposes as shown in the graph below.

Comparison graph for the respective variables.
Fig. 2: Comparison graph for the respective variables.

The population sample for the primary study was very wide, as it comprised virtually anyone who worked in the hospitality industry. However, this study limited its scope to four major hotels in the United States, namely: the Ritz Carton, Four Seasons Group of Hotels, Millennium Hotels, and W. Hotels. The sample size collected in these hotels amounted to a hundred and ten (110). It comprised of supervisors, managers, front office personnel, food and beverage staff, and housekeepers. However, managers and supervisors were exempted. The overall response was seventy (70), which translates to a response rate of fifty-eight (64% [rounded off]). For this study, the dependent variables were job security and employee performance while the independent variable was Common Work Ethics. The bases included age, sex, culture, duration of service in the hospitality industry, and gender. The following section is going to provide a quick overview of the analysis of the responses that were received and used. It is noteworthy that out of the seventy questionnaires that were received, only 41 were deemed usable (58%).

Out of the forty-one (41) respondents, twenty-eight (28) were female with the remaining thirteen (13) being male. It should be noted that sex is different from gender, which is discussed later as one of the bases established in the study.

For this segment, the researcher used Hofstede’s five dimensions of culture to carry out the analysis. Since the questionnaires had a Spanish translation at the back, the number that was filed in Spanish was twelve (12), the rest were all filled in English. As can be observed, there was no other racial demarcation on the questionnaires. Therefore, it is difficult to tell whether the rest of the respondents who answered in English were African American, White, or Asian. Moreover, just because the respondents answered in Spanish does not necessarily make them Hispanic. Therefore, this variable was not properly measured to come up with any conclusive information.

This base had four possible entries, (2years, 3years, 5years, and ‘over 6 years). This calibration is also based on Schwepker’s model of duration analysis and in this study. The results indicated that only five (5) respondents had been in the industry for over 6years. Twenty (20) respondents had been there for two years thus correlating with age, as these were also the youngest of the entire sample, except four (4) who were aged 46-50. Seven (7) had been in the industry for three (3) years. The remaining nine (9) had been there for five years. As noted earlier, Schwepker’s study held that age is a non-factor in the ethics-employee performance-job satisfaction relationship. Therefore, to avoid redundancy, this study did not proceed to highlight the effects of age on the research.

Concerning gender, the question that was posed was very general in a bid to avoid leading the respondents. Consequently, the responses proffered were very varied and general too but there was a pattern concerning most of the responses. Consequently, the researcher established a scale based on whether or not gender had any bearing on the ethics of an organization. If it did, the scale could show how the bearing comes. This second question was further broken down into positive vs. negative effects as decided by observing the tone and meaning of the responses granted. The result was that eight (8) respondents felt that gender had no impact on their establishment’s ethical standing. The rest agreed that it did have a bearing. Three (3) answered that they were not sure while 30 stated that gender indeed played a role in promoting or demoting ethics in their respective organizations. It is interesting to note that all eight respondents who answered in the negative were females. The indication is that all male respondents felt that there was a level of gender bias at play in their organizations and that they were suffering for it. This issue gave birth to an interesting perspective addressed in the discussions segment of this paper: that it may be time to stop focusing on women empowerment and to shift the focus on their male counterparts in the workplace. However, this claim follows because of the nature of the answers that the respondents were giving in terms of content.

As has already been established above, the independent variable in this study was common to work ethics (CWE), which has already been established by numerous predecessor researches and studies. CWE is crucial for the realization of an organization’s mission and ambitions. It is a so important element that organizations are now required to have a code of ethics that is published for use and knowledge by all employees, members, and/or the intended targets to use the Code of Ethics as a guide to direct their organizational behavior. Perhaps a new area of study for future researchers could attempt to discover and define the link between organizational behavior and organizational ethics as necessary ingredients for organizational performance.

This variable, which may also be construed as the ethical climate of the organization, or ethical environment supported or established by the organization, was tested by administering the question: does your organization environment encourage ethical values? Five respondents did not answer this question. It is noteworthy that these were mostly the senior respondents, aged over 55 in the sample. The other thirty-six (36) gave a wide array of answers but first, it is important to indicate that twenty (20) respondents answered in the affirmative while the other sixteen (16) marked “NO”.

Among the reasons that were given for these nugatory answers included gender bias (and it is noteworthy that most such sentiments [eight out of the proffered nine] were issued by male respondents). It also included racial discrimination both by management and by fellow workers (5 respondents), work overload, lack of an established code of conduct, whistleblower harassment, and unfair treatment in terms of promotion, compensation, and motivational perks. Of all these issues, racial discrimination and gender bias took the front seat as the main cause of lack of ethics in the organization

The gauge for measuring job satisfaction was the question of how the organization’s environment contributed to the respondent’s job satisfaction. This question received varied answers that also indicated the employer’s performance in the organization. However, it is first important to note that only twenty (20) employees answered this question and all of them were positive. Among the various ways that the organization’s environment contributed to the respondents’ job satisfaction were equitable promotion, compensation, work allotment, and disciplinary procedures. Other ways included the creation of room for innovation as the respondent was allowed freedom of choice in terms of decision making in the office held, provision of opportunities for benchmarking with other organization for the development of the organization’s ethical standards, and the presence of (and compliance) with an established and published Code of Ethics. Provision of motivation and other forms of employee empowerment were also mentioned.

Additionally, another indicator of job satisfaction was the duration of engagement in the hospitality industry as well as the other general questions on factors such as culture and ethical climate in the organization. The results indicate that the relationship between ethical behavior and career success or employee performance in the organization of critical importance (p-value less than 0.0001). Particularly, it is noteworthy that a higher level of good ethical climate is directly proportional to employee job satisfaction. This was evident as the number of employees that indicated that they had been in the industry for over six (6) years also answered ‘yes’ to question number five on their organizations promoting an ethical climate.

Conversely, in comparison to Schwepker’s findings on the relationship between organizational ethics and top management’s promotion of ethical values, the individuals that answered ‘no’ this ethical climate question. Mostly (10 out of 16) mentioned the organization’s leadership as part of the cause of the unethical situation at the organization, either by positively acting unethically or by ratifying unethical conduct, or by ignoring the employees’ complaints.

A noteworthy manifestation of this conundrum was portrayed by one of the management members Millennium Hotels who despite the warning on the utter confidentiality required for the information offered by the respondents, went ahead to open the samples and remove those which he perceived to be “detrimental” to the organization. The related and expected results from the respondents in organizations where the management did not value or practice ethical standards were reflective of low job satisfaction as evidenced by the number of years that the respondents from those organizations had been in the hospitality industry. However, this is based on the assumption that the reason for these respondents (that is, those who had been in the industry for only two or three years and their other responses indicated a low job satisfaction) had only worked in that specific organization thus far.

Another assumption maintained by this study is that the employees that failed to answer this question neglected it out of fear of reprimand as they may have felt that they would be unjustly chastised if they divulged the truth. It is noteworthy that of the twenty-one (21) respondents that left this question unfilled, twelve (12) indicated ‘unfair chastisement of whistleblowers as the justification for answering “No” to the previous question on whether the organizational environment encourages ethical values.

As indicated in the previous sections in this study, there is not much research on the relationship between employee performance and organizational ethical climate in the hospitality industry. However, this is deductable from other fields in which research has been conducted to relate to the organization’s ethical climate and the employees’ performance. Especially in this particular study, this variable was not measurable because the respondents were mostly employees as management was left out. Consequently, it would be difficult and dangerous to make assumptions about their performance based on their answers about the other variables and bases. Moreover, even if this survey had been conducted to measure employee performance, the employees themselves are the wrong source to fish out this information from, as they are likely to be biased in their responses.

Discussion

First, it is important to note that this study is ‘generalizeable’ throughout the United States because the four hotels that were used form the majority of the hospitality industry in the United States since they have multiple branches and policies are similar across the board. Additionally, they are multinational organizations. Therefore, even at a universal level, the study holds a lot of water in the hospitality industry. The current study has carried out a comprehensive survey of the related variables that complete the intersections between Common Work ethics, or an organization’s ethical climate, job satisfaction, and employee performance. This discussion set out to prove two primary hypotheses, namely

  • H1: A greater awareness of hotel employees’ ethical climate will lead to greater job satisfaction
  • H2: A greater hotel employees’ positive perception of ethical climate will lead to a greater performance level

Awareness of the employees’ ethical climate refers to the existence and workability of an ethical climate at the organization, and the applicability of the same to ease employees’ lives at work and promote their growth and development. This first hypothesis insinuates that if there is such a vibrant awareness of the ethical cloud so to speak at the organization, the employees’ job satisfaction shall increase, as will their productivity. The second hypothesis picks up from here and states that if the employees perceive that their ethical climate at the organization is good or favorable. Their performance shall increase. In short, what this study has set out to establish or assess can be expressed in the form of the following diagram:

Chart on the Relationship between fundamental factors.
Fig 3: Chart on the Relationship between fundamental factors.

This diagram is an expression of how these variables are interlocked and are each responsible for the encouragement or fostering of the next processor level. Concerning the current study, the majority (77%) of the respondents indicated a level of displeasure with organizations to which they are attached. This goes a long way in proving the need for instilling ethical values into their corporate structures.

The bases that are important for this study include sex, gender, duration in the industry, age, and culture. Sex was only featured in the first question. However, is important because it affects all the primary variables. For instance, of the sample size (110), seventy-two were female and thirty-eight (38). Of the seventy responses received, forty-five (45) were from female respondents and twenty-five from males. This pattern is an indication of a trend in the industry. It is safe to hold that the majority of employees in the hotel industry are female, going by these figures, the ratio of men to women is 2:3. This has a bearing on the current study especially in light of the literature review, and specifically, the position taken by Alabaum and Peterson (2006) concerning women being more favorable than men as far as ethics is concerned. The question raised by this position in the face of the current study’s research is whether this ethical favorability displayed by women in preference to men is instrumental in the hiring of employees into the hospitality industry.

The second base is the duration that respondents have been in the hospitality industry. It is interesting to note that the oldest respondents were not the ones who had stayed in the hospitality industry the longest. In fact, of the five respondents aged over 55, none had exceeded three years in the hospitality industry. This could be due to various reasons. Schwepker suggests that one of the reasons why age is not a reliable variable is the dynamism of the hospitality industry. One needs to understand that most citizens view the hospitality industry as a bypass to other opportunities. College students get temporary jobs as waiters and waitresses or bar people to enable them to earn a living temporarily. However, demanding roles such as the butlers and the concierge that require actual qualification through a diploma have more permanent staff people. In the current study, these positions were filled with respondents aged 26-35. They had been in the industry for more than five years. The explanation for this is that this age group found the hospitality industry at a time when it was becoming institutionalized. The players were professionalizing it, hence requiring employees to be educated to qualify for their responsibilities. This was at the beginning of the 21st century. A comparative look into other industries that have gone through the same process of institutionalization (legal, medical, engineering fields) yields an observation of the development of a code of conduct to govern the respective players in the field.

The gender base proved to be very interesting because only three respondents were unsure of whether gender played any role in the ethical climate. The interesting bit is that all eight (8) respondents felt that gender did not play any role in the integration of an ethical climate in their organization. None was male. This is a paradigm shift because what it did is that the men were expressing concern over gender bias, meaning that they were feeling burdened due to some inequalities based on gender. This is interesting because traditionally women have suffered gender inequality in the workforce but the affirmative action policy seems to have worked beyond optimal levels and is now at extreme levels, especially in the hospitality industry. This gives management a new angle that they need to address themselves to when considering gender equality as a sustainable ethical value in their organizations. The final base that this discussion shall address is culture and as stated above, the criterion that advises this discussion is Hofstede’s five dimensions of culture. However, this discussion limits itself to only two of these, including power distance and masculinity versus femininity.

Besides, noteworthy is the fact that the effect of culture on the study was twofold: the power distance concept was obtained from the respondents’ response to the question of how the organization contributed to their job satisfaction. It became manifest when respondents associated high employee decision-making authority and capacity as well as minimal oversight with higher job satisfaction. Hofstede established that employees in cultures with a large power distance were accustomed to being directed in every step. However, those from cultures with small power distance, featuring an equitable distribution of power among all levels were more likely to perform better as they had room for innovation. In the current study, employees of the organizations that had a large power distance were more dissatisfied than the ones whose organizations allowed them to share their ideas and exercise wise judgment in day-to-day situations. Notably, most of the responses indicating recognition of this characteristic were done in Spanish, which is an indication that the employees were unaccustomed to such leeway.

The other cultural dimension is masculinity versus femininity, which applies in this particular study because of the intrinsic characteristics of either dimension. Masculine cultures are more likely to be unethical because they thrive on assertiveness and success at all costs with little or no regard whatsoever to the ethical issues that arise in the achievement of this success. Additionally, they are male-oriented with men being acclaimed as assertive and women being derogated as aggressive. Consequently, most leadership positions are filled by men. Interestingly in the current study, the respondents with the senior-most positions were all male. A feminine culture is more conscientious and the emphasis is on social responsibility and promotion of social welfare as a whole, as opposed to pure wealth chasing. In the current study, it was difficult to determine from the responses on culture whether the organization was purely masculine or feminine. However, all four hotels fell somewhere on the scale along the continuum with more leaning towards masculinity.

A good place to begin such an integration process would be to codify the values into a Code of Ethics, then publish the same to all employees and management to ensure familiarity and compliance. Only 12 out of 41 respondents indicated that their organizations had a code of ethics. Whereas this may be misleading since just because they did not indicate the same does not mean that the other respondents’ organization does not have such a code, it is an indication of the lack of primacy of the ethics code in such organizations.

What did not appear in the figure above were the various cumulative bases that add up to the realization of the main variable. For instance, the composite bases of an ethical climate include equitable treatment of employees, the establishment, publishing, and strict adherence to organizational codes of conduct, which include the induction of new members of the organization, or new hires to ensure uniformity. The absence of these bases and other related ones at any hospitable organization does not bode well for such an organization’s aggregate performance, which is arrived at by combining the joint efforts of respective employees and leadership personnel from the various departments that make up the organization’s structure. If one of these departments or some of the people that make up such a department are dissatisfied with the running of the organization in terms of ethical conduct, this dissatisfaction shall reflect negatively in their performance and perception of the organization.

Two critical things are at stake if such displeasure is allowed to fester. First, the employee’s loyalty to the organization shall dwindle into oblivion. This has been manifest in this study as the respondents from some of the hotel’s body spoke out their views concerning the specific questions asked on the organization’s ethical standing. Managers should note that such disloyalty leads to the second critical risk, which is the voluntary turnover of employees. Interestingly, one of the factors leading to voluntary turnovers is the unjust or unethical disposal of workers and staff members. Additionally, the disloyalty that is caused by miscarriages of just and ethical procedures in the organization can easily cost the organization’s reputation among its publics. Whereas most organizations are more bent on making a profit than they are on arriving at such profits ethically, the staff people that they hire to assist them in arriving at such profits usually have values concerning ethical business skills. Therefore, if the organization in question absconds its social responsibility, gauged by such individuals as per conscientious mechanisms, the organization shall fall.

Recommendation for Further Research and Practitioners

From the study on the ethical climate of an organization and its effect on job satisfaction as well as employee performance, it is apparent that organizations in the hospitality industry need to incorporate ethics into their strategic planning if they are to achieve any long-term success and competitive advantage. The competitive advantage angle is relevant because these organizations do not exist in a vacuum and their rivals may have identified this critical ingredient and incorporated it into their differentiation mix, making themselves preferable and defying the forces of brand loyalty. Organizations that choose to remain unethical on any level do so at their own risk especially considering the fate that has befallen multibillion corporations such as Enron for similar negligence. The way forward should be flagged off by the establishment and publication of a code of ethics to govern the organization in its day-to-day running. In the hospitality industry, organizations have a constitution and articles that establish their existence, purpose, values, and mission.

The code of ethics has become an indispensable requirement. Nevertheless, the manner of creating one is also important. Considering that this code is meant to govern the conduct of the organization’s employees, leaders, and members, all these players should be the consulate in the formation of such a document, especially the employees. The archaic tendency to formulate policies at the management level and then expect compliance among employees is obsolete because of its ineffectiveness. Employee buy-in should be sought after and rewarded to ensure loyalty to the organization, effectiveness of the policies sought to be enforced, and quick adaptation to the same. Moreover, any new hires should be inducted into the organization’s ethical code to ensure the perpetuation of these ethical standards as well as continuity of observance by older staff, which would be at risk if new entrants did not live by the same standards.

Of even more importance is the example that is set by the leadership in the organization. For the rest of the employees to comply with and respect the code of ethics, the top management must be role models at living and using the code of ethics as was intended at its creation, without any (not even minor) variations from the same. This shall instill in the employees a sense of security, knowing what consequences to expect in case of a breach of the code of conduct as well as being sure that the code shall be complied with thus instilling certainty. The final point on the code of conduct is that it should be enforceable, meaning that employees should be aware of it, especially the consequences of breach. In case of a breach, the disciplinary committee should take prompt action to ensure that the deviant party is properly chastised as per the equitable remedies thus provided to act as a deterrent to any future offenders.

Establishing and publishing a comprehensive code of ethics followed by compliance to the same is going to instill pride and loyalty into the brand name. The organization comes off as ethical to all the publics that it interacts with and this ensures competitive advantage by creating differentiation.

The second recommendation is aimed at future researchers concerning the paradigm shift that this study reveals as concerns the shifted scales in gender balance in the hospitality industry. A study ought to be conducted on the correct meaning of gender equality in the hospitality industry, although it may be argued that gender equality is obsolete. Gender equity should prevail. Either way, this study makes it apparent that in sheer numbers, women surpass men in the hospitality industry and thus the question raised is, “is that equitable?” with this regard, it is also important that the numbers that are used as a reference for hiring balance out.

The third recommendation is concerning cultural ethics and the managers or organizations in the hospitality industry ought to address themselves to this while hiring new staff for leadership positions. As noted above, although women are more relative to men in the hotels in this study, the senior leadership positions seem to be dominated by me, which is a manifestation of masculine culture. This case is dangerous because the masculine culture is averse to ethical considerations in the pursuit of wealth and profits. If an organization is known to manifest this situation, it is likely to be shunned.

Conclusion

This paper has addressed the issue of ethics in the hospitality industry. It did this by looking at the effect of the ethical climate on job satisfaction as well as employee performance in an organization. These being the main variables, the researcher conducted a study on four of the major hoteliers in the United States, namely the Ritz Carton, Four Seasons Group of Hotels, Millennium Hotels, and W. Hotels. The aggregate sample size was a hundred and ten (110) which included all the other staff of the hotel minus the managers and supervisors. Out of these, seventy (70) responses were obtained and forty-one (41) of these proved usable. Of the forty-one, twenty-eight were female respondents, and the remaining thirteen male. This difference in numbers introduced an interesting perspective into the study because it made it apparent that gender statistics in the hospitality industry are reversed in comparison to the rest of the workforce. Since this is still a mere observation, the study proposed further research into this matter to prove it true or false.

The study explored and reported on the major bases for the variables, namely sex, gender, age (although this is not regarded as having too much influence), culture, and duration in the hospitality industry. Sex was important particularly in the analysis of the various responses to the questionnaire such as whether gender was seen to affect the organization’s ethical climate. The cultural analysis was conducted in tandem with Hofstede’s five dimensions of culture and particular relevance was the masculinity versus femininity stand and the power distance. The subjects of the survey indicated an orientation towards masculinity and the researcher indicates in the recommendations that such a perception is dangerous, as it is believed to have no regard for ethical considerations in the pursuit of wealth and success.

In conclusion, this researcher maintains that this study has served to prove the validity of the hypotheses statements. It is true that a greater awareness of hotel employees’ ethical climate leads to a greater their job satisfaction, and that a greater hotel employees’ perception of ethical climate leads to a greater performance level. Consequently, the study recommends that organizations in the hospitality industry without a code of conduct should endeavor to obtain one. Additionally, it goes ahead to explain exactly how they should go about coming up with such a code by insisting that they involve their employees in the construction of the same to foster employee buy-in and compliance with the code. It also posits that such a code of conduct should be enforceable, meaning that it should have a deterrent effect for bar future offenders, which is cultivated by compliance to the code by top management, as well as prompt disciplinary action in case of a breach.

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Appendix

Questionnaire

(Please print your answers in Block Letters)

Please, fill this form to help us determine the effects of ethics in the hospitality industry

(If Yes/No answer is required, please tick [√] the appropriate answer; otherwise, provide an explanation on the space provided)

Section A: General Information

  1. Gender:
    • Male [ ]
    • Female [ ]
  2. Age:
    • 20- 25 [ ]
    • 26 – 35 [ ]
    • 36 – 45 [ ]
    • 46 – 50 [ ]
    • Over55 [ ]
  3. For how long have you worked in the hospitality industry?
    • 2 years [ ]
    • 3years [ ]
    • 5 years [ ]
    • Over 6 years [ ]

Section B: Organizational ethics

  1. What promotes ethics in your organization the most?
  • Gender [ ]
  • Proper recruitment and hiring procedures [ ]
  • Proper staff education [ ]
  • Transparency [ ]
  • Telling the truth to authority [ ]
  1. Which one of the following plays the biggest role to encourage ethical values?
  • Organization’s environment [ ]
  • Organization’s leadership [ ]

Section C: Job Satisfaction

  1. What brings satisfaction to your job?
  • Internalized inspiration [ ]
  • Your expectations are realized [ ]
  • Empowerment [ ]
  • Organizational atmosphere [ ]

Section D: Organizational environment

  1. How does the organizational environment contribute to your job satisfaction?
  • It encourages teamwork [ ]
  • It promotes your communication [ ]

SECTION E: Employee Performance

  1. Which one of the following affects your performance the most
  • Culture [ ]
  • Salary [ ]
  • Gender [ ]

Name……………………………………………….Date…….……………………………..

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