- publication: 13 december 2018
Shared research interest AIHR and VNO/NCW Noord results in an award-winning master thesis
In November 2018, Hester Visser, a graduate from the Master International Hospitality and Service Management (MISHM), received the Baron Van Welderen Rengers Thesis Award for her qualitative research thesis Meeting Millennials at the Workplace. Understanding emotional labour, job perceptions and career perspectives of millennials working in the hospitality industry. This annual price is awarded for the best BA or MA thesis per Frisian University of Applied Sciences showing excellent research quality and presenting a research topic relevant to the Frisian (economic and social) community. The award-winning thesis was supervised by MA research lecturer and AIHR member dr. Marte Rinck de Boer.
Hester’s thesis resulted from a fruitful collaboration between the Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR) and the employer association in the northern provinces (VNO/NCW Noord)/ Frisian hospitality industry initiated by MA research lecturer and AIHR member drs. Klaes Eringa. Currently, a VNO/NCW Noord working group investigates possibilities to attract and retain young talents for the northern provinces. Herman Schreuder, director/owner of Hotel Post Plaza in Leeuwarden and Stenden Hotel Management School alumnus participates in this working group. In 2017, he joined the AIHR Board of Commitment connecting AIHR with the Frisian hospitality, events and tourism industry. Through this connection, Hester’s master research intentions could be combined with the needs of the working group. The research findings and recommendations were presented to and welcomed by VNO/NCW representatives in October 2018. The research will also be presented at the NVO/NCW Noord convention in March 2019.
Employees are a fundamental component to achieve guest satisfaction in the service interaction. In this service interaction, employees need to enact so-called emotional labour, which requires interpersonal skills. Therefore, qualified employees are the most valuable assets in today’s hospitality industry and this requires that employers understand and engage their employees. Given the fact that millennials are the newest generation in the workforce and theoretical evidence shows that this generation differs from others, the industry needs to anticipate on this. Therefore, an explorative qualitative study focusing on the role emotional labour played in the job perception and career perspectives of millennials was conducted. Data was collected from ten interviews with employees working in Hotel Post Plaza, a 4-star hotel in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Results showed that (1) millennials engage into both surface and genuine acting when performing EL; (2) emotional exhaustion is experienced as a result of the performance of EL; (3) millennials value a good work-life balance, social interaction, growth opportunities and challenging work; (4) job autonomy creates a required sense of freedom for millennials; (5) millennials tend to switch careers if the consequences from EL, thus emotional exhaustion, are not compensated sufficiently enough with fulfilment of their work-values. It is suggested that hotel managers should implement a procedure in which millennials can share their experiences with EL.
Picture: Hester Visser and Herman Schreuder during the festive ceremony at Landgoed Oranjewoud