The impact of selected front-end hotel managerial competencies on employee engagement: An exploratory study

Reeves, Elizabeth (2020-12)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.


ENGLISH SUMMARY : This study explored the mechanisms that drive employee engagement in the South African hotel industry. The aim of the study was to determine the precursors or predictors of customer-contact employee engagement. Specifically, the aim was to determine the impact of selected front-end hotel managerial competencies on the level of subordinate employee engagement. The research objectives were to: (1) develop an explanatory structural model that explains the variance in employee engagement, and the nature and strength of the relationships between the selected front-end managerial competencies and employee engagement, and (2) make recommendations regarding practical interventions based on the research findings. Customer-contact employees were the units of observation (participants). The participants completed an online survey in which they reported on their own level of engagement and rated the degree to which their manager displays task-oriented behaviours, empowering leadership behaviours, social-emotional competency and work design competency. A total of 106 surveys were collected (n = 106). Item analysis, regression and redundancy analysis were performed as preliminary statistical analyses. Thereafter, partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) was used to assess the relationship between the manifest and latent variables, as well as the main effects between the latent variables. The item analysis results indicate that the items of the various indicators do measure the same underlying construct, as intended, with the exception of the work design competency scale. Upon further investigation, the researcher decided to divide work design competency into two independent and theoretically distinct constructs, namely: work design task characteristics and work design social characteristics. By implication, the number of exogenous latent variables in the model increased to five. Furthermore, the redundancy analysis indicated a severe degree of collinearity between two of the variables (task-oriented behaviours and empowering leadership behaviours). Consequently, three different PLS-SEM models were run – one model that comprised all variables (five exogenous and one endogenous latent variable), and two models where one of the collinear variables was removed, to determine the impact this would have on the predictive accuracy of the exogenous latent variables of the latent construct. The findings show that the degree to which the manager designs task characteristics (such as task identity, task significance, task variety, autonomy and feedback) has an impact on employee engagement. Also, the degree to which the manager displays social emotional competency (emotion regulation, self-awareness, stress management, empathy, optimism etc.) has a positive impact on employee engagement. A limitation of the current study is the uncritical adherence to the theoretical misconception to calculate a composite score for the work design competency scale that comprises of work design: task characteristics and work design: social characteristics scales. The researcher recommends that future studies assess a model in which the 12 diagnostic subscales of the work design competency scale are fitted as exogenous latent variables. In addition, the researcher recommends that future studies assess the possible moderating impact of structural and psychological empowerment in the relationship between leadership behaviours and employee engagement. Lastly, the practical implications of the findings suggests that managers should consider contextual and individual factors carefully before changing task characteristics by implementing job redesign interventions, since factors such as managerial style, technology, ability and preferences can have an impact on the effectiveness of job redesign and job crafting interventions.

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