Critical Hospitality Symposium, Critical Hospitality Symposium II: Hospitality IS Society

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Values for sale: Hospitality values meet economic rationality
Warren Goodsir

Last modified: 2018-07-02


While once viewed as a radical challenge to the dominance of economic rationality, corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies have gained acceptance within business organisations and management discourse (Bohdanowicz & Zientara, 2008; Brooks, 2010; Martinez & del Bosque, 2013). Nevertheless, although the growing acceptance of CSR has brought social values into focus (Ingley, 2011) there is growing criticism that the goals of CSR are being subverted by the power of economic rationality (Brooks, 2010). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the sources of power that influence management decision making within hotel organisations. The study adopts a phronetic social science (PhSS) approach (Flyvbjerg, 2001) that is situated within a critical theory (CT) paradigm. The research applies a qualitative research methodology and case study methods involving a dual case study approach. Twenty-four hotel managers were interviewed using semi-structured interview techniques and company documents were examined. Data analysis employed thematic data coding techniques.

The findings reveal that a stakeholder approach incorporating a CSR strategy is adopted by the hotel groups and that the hotel groups are seeking ways to balance competing stakeholder interests to create shared value. The study also found that management decision making was influenced by the power of profits, the power of the institution, the power of hospitality and the power of people. Nevertheless, it is evident that the economic environment and financial expectations (power of profit) have significant influence over management decision making. Additionally, the power of the institution also seduces decision makers by means of instrumental reasoning. While the tensions between business and social value are acknowledge by both hotel groups the evidence suggests that an understanding of how these tensions can be held in balance has not yet been fully formulated.



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