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In modern times all the international and big companies have a workforce which differs in certain ways. The hospitality industry is no exception to this trend. Hence leadership and managing a diverse workforce is increasingly becoming a challenge for the hotel. It has become very evident through several recent studies that companies having powerful and robust leadership at all levels are capable of achieving exceptional results and vice versa (Adair, 2006). Thus it is very essential that leaders and managers recognize the impact different leadership styles have on performance and satisfaction level of their employees. Various leading industry examples have enabled present time leaders in realizing that diversity supportive culture is very significant for growth and development of their workforce. Cultural mixture brings with it many creative measures as well. However, leaders are faced with the predicament of determining how to address such concerns at place of work.
A range of leadership styles as well as theories abound and many of them are being successfully implemented by organizations across a variety of cultures. These theories are-
Trait theory – This theory lists down several characteristics or traits which are a pre-requisite for a leader to become successful. According to this theory, leaders are not made but are born by birth. If a person possesses these traits then he can be distinguished as a leader. However, this theory is not free from shortcomings, one of them being the presence of a big number of these characteristics and the nonexistence of even one such feature cannot debar an individual from being called a fine leader.
Behavioral theory – It discards the notion created by Trait theory and states that leaders are made by being trained and are not born.
Contingency theory – This concept stresses on adopting different leadership styles based on the situation. It states that no one theory is suitable for all kinds of situations and leader should mold his behavior as well as style accordingly .
Transactional theory – This style of leadership emphasizes on rewarding employees when they perform well and punishing them when their performance fails. This concept is supported by a system of incentives and rebuke.
Transformational theory – It is also known as relationship theory under which focus is on building harmonious relations between leader and his followers. Leaders who follow this style have high moral and ethical standards .
Motivation can be referred to the driving force exerted from within as well as outside that gives a person impetus to enhance his performance. There are several factors that motivate a person such as emotional, biological, cognitive or social. It is very important to regularly motivate and inspire a diverse workforce as many cultural differences exist. Several theories relating to motivation also exist. Some of them are:
1. Frederick Taylor (1856-1917) – As proposed by Taylor, the major motivating factor for workers is salary. He believed that workers don’t enjoy their work from heart and it’s only the money associated with it that keeps them driving (Clarke and Chen, 2007). These people require consistent supervision. He projected that the entire job should be segregated into small batches and then employees should be trained appropriately so that they can work in a better manner. Subsequent to this, their payment would be based on quantity of goods produced. In this way workforce was motivated to work hard. This approach saw wide popularity initially but later on people began disliking this method. The main reason behind this was that they started feeling being treated as machines and not humans.
2. Elton Mayo (1880-1949) – Elton Mayo was the first one to propose that it’s not just money that keeps people motivated . They have social needs as well. He asked superiors to treat workers as human beings and consider their social need. As suggested by Mayo, employees are motivated the most when there is open and transparent communication between them and their managers.
3. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) – Maslow demonstrated the motivational needs of human beings through a five storied pyramid which came to be known as Maslow’s Need Hierarchy theory. Under this theory, he arranged the needs of individuals in a hierarchy in five levels. The first level needs are basic physiological needs followed by safety, social, self esteem and self actualization needs. He put forward a fact that after the satisfaction of the basic level needs, a person moves forward to the next level.
4. Frederick Herzberg (1923) – Frederick Herzberg proposed that there are various factors that bring satisfaction and dissatisfaction to employees. This was named as Herzberg’s Two Factor theory. These factors were divided into categories of hygiene factors and motivating factors. Motivating factors are those which if present bring about satisfaction in employees. Hygiene factors on the other hand are those which if present do not cause any particular satisfaction, however, if absent causes dissatisfaction among employees (Harland and et.al., 2004). These motivating factors are recognition, fame, power and hygiene factors are safe working conditions, good boss etc.
Through this paper, the researcher presents a framework of leadership and motivational strategies to effectively manage diversity and tackle cultural differences by taking example of The Ritz Hotel, London. It is a 5-star luxury hotel situated in Piccadilly, London. The hotel was established in the year 1906 by Cesar Ritz (The Ritz, London, n.d). The hotel is an epitome of sophistication, style and elegance. It has 133 rooms all exquisitely designed and caters to visitors from all across the globe. As the hotel is an international organization its staff is also ethnically quite diverse. Therefore, the managers of Ritz practice and implement several leadership and change theories to tackle diversity issues of employees as well as guests. A number of problems take place in the hotel due to presence of ethnic diversity at all hierarchical levels plus among guests also. Managing this wide variety is a very challenging yet critical task for hotel management as both staff and guests come from a culturally and ethnically diverse background. Some of the key issues that require delicate handling by managerial leaders in the hotel are change management, conflict management, discrimination issues, performance management, communication, fostering organization culture and carrying out training & development workshops (House and et. al., 2002). To work out these matters in hotel, the human resource manager and department leaders make use of several management models and theories.
Autocratic – Under this style, leader takes undue benefit of his position to make his subordinates finish the job. There is no involvement of employees in decision making process. They only follow the instructions given to them by their leaders. The leader does not trust anyone for important matters .
Democratic – It is also known as participative style of leadership. Under this, leader motivates his employees to get engaged in company’s vital decisions by giving their suggestions. He prompts decision making capability in his subordinates through his convincing and influential nature.
Laissez Faire – This style involves no participation of the leader. His existence is just on papers. The team is highly self motivated plus experienced and does not require any supervision. The team members are proficient enough to make decisions. They don’t need a leader to motivate and push them .
Paternalistic – The leader following this style acts as a father figure to his followers. He is encouraging and consultative. He takes suggestions from his subordinates. However, the ultimate decision is that of the leader only.
To deal effectively with cultural and ethnic diversity in the company, varied management practices and policies are assumed by executives of The Ritz. A diversity management program has been introduced to promote a constructive and an optimistic behavior among staff so that they work hard and align their goals with that of organization’s and contributes in its achievements. Ritz’s Board of Directors has put in place a top down policy comprising of certain responsibilities and rules to control the diverse culture inside the hotel. This is based on the behavior theory of management. The primary aim of this theory is to produce an improved workforce by tackling a variety of job plus managerial cultures.
The primary purpose of developing a diversity policy is to sustain a diverse work environment and offering the staff an opportunity to interact with people coming from different parts of the world as well as to serve hotel’s clients at an international level. This not only increases customer satisfaction level but also employee satisfaction level. In addition to this, the diversity policy implemented in the hotel is on lines with Elton Mayo’s theory which highlights the importance of working as per the latest trends and managing the needs of employees so that they can deliver their best performance plus toil hard to help achieve organizational goals .
In service and hospitality industry, people come from different backgrounds and work together. Thus, it becomes imperative for managers of Ritz to be well acquainted with several theories that are essential to manage cultural diversity. A few leadership and motivational theories are mentioned underneath:
Relationship Theory – This leadership theory emphasizes on fostering robust relationship between leaders and their followers. This close bond and association is important for incorporation of the complete squad. As per this theory the team head gives adequate respect to interests and dignity of his team members. Therefore, this theory of leadership is very helpful in managing a cross cultural team.
Democratic Theory – This theory is widely acceptable one and popular across majority of cultures. This theory gives leaders a chance to instigate high levels of integrated communication with their team members as high degree of coordination is demanded under this theory. Leaders following this practice are successful in strengthening team bonds.
Situational Theory – As per this theory leadership cannot be guided by a set of predetermined protocols. This theory proposes that leaders are required to take decisions as the situation demands.
Responses To Different Needs And Expectations Of Culturally Diverse Guests
As Ritz belongs to the hospitality industry which welcomes guests from all over the world, it has employed a staff which belongs to different cultures and regions in order to meet guests’ expectations. However, to manage all of them is a very complicated task for managers (The Ritz, London, n.d). Therefore, they make use of varied strategies to direct them. Some of these are discussed here.
While serving guests coming from different cultural backgrounds, one of the biggest hurdles encountered by hotel management is language or communication problem. Language acts barrier at several points as it is not necessary for all the customers to know English. To cater to this problem department heads should conduct regular mentoring and training programs for employees so that they can be acquainted with all the basics of guest service management .
With help of such trainings employees get familiar with various dialects and body languages plus symbols of different cultures. Body language is very important to be comprehended as certain gestures which might be commonly used in some cultures might be regarded as offensive in others. Therefore, the management must pay particular attention to this aspect and organize classroom coaching wherein employees from different cultures teach their peers about their respective ethnicity and traditions. Thus, if any guest from that country arrives, there would be plenty of people to attend to them (Avolio and et.al., 2009).
One more problem encountered by guests is interruption in services. By the research it has been identified that delay in services happen because employees do not have proper knowledge about diverse cultures, traditions and languages. This creates a situation of confusion and thus leads to delay in services. At the time of research many employees acknowledged that at times they are not able to live up to the expectations of guests and give solutions to their queries because they are not able to understand what the guest is trying to convey (Briscoe and et.al., 2008). To face this problem the hotel can incorporate diversity management mentoring programs to enable employees in understanding ethics, values, norms and greeting gestures plus symbols of different nations.
Thus, it can be concluded from the above research report that leaders at Ritz, London implement various motivational tools and leadership theories to effectively manage the cultural diversity in their hotel. This not only helps in increasing employee morale and resolving cross cultural conflicts but also facilitates better service to customers. Several problems are also encountered by leaders while doing this. Major hindrances are stereotyping, cultural shock and cultural taboos. Stereotyping implies forming preconceived notions about people coming from particular region or countries. When an individual from a different country comes to a new place he witnesses a drastic change in customs, traditions and even working style.
This is cultural shock. Managing a culturally diverse workforce and clientele becomes a very challenging task for managers. To do this management, there are several techniques which can be incorporated by the managers of the hotel. Training, proper succession planning, conquering stereotypes and promoting fairness, employee relationship management system and senior management commitment are required to manage this diversity issue effectively.
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