Toward a Theoretical Understanding of Occupational Culture: Meanings from the Hospitality Industry

By Josephine Pryce.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the concept of occupational culture and how meanings from the hospitality industry contribute to expanding our theoretical understanding of this concept. The notion of occupational communities has received considerable attention in the literature. More recently research findings report the existence of occupational cultures. This paper argues that the two concepts are related but identifies a possible difference which can extinguish anomalies or uncertainties in associated debates. Support for the argument is gained from results of a qualitative study which indicated that there is a common occupational culture, which influences hotel workers to behave in a similar way regardless of the organisation they work for. A number of factors were identified that confirmed the existence of a hospitality occupational culture. These factors included: universal nature of hotel work; hospitality occupational attitudes; group longevity; and collegiality.

From this it is proposed that there exists a hospitality occupational culture which transcends the culture of organisations within which these individuals work, which does not fully exhibit defining characteristics of occupational communities and which governs the behaviour and performance of hospitality workers. Such an insight adds to the paucity of literature and research on our understanding of the phenomenon of occupational cultures.

Keywords: Occupational Communities, Occupational Culture, Hospitality, Ethnographic

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.141-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.160MB).

Dr. Josephine Pryce

Senior Lecturer, School of Business, James Cook University, Cairns, Qld, Australia

Josephine is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Business at James Cook University, Cairns (Australia). Her main interests encompass organisational behaviour theory, human resource management practice and management education. She is committed to excellence in teaching and learning and is a staunch supporter of workplace integrated learning. Josephine teaches in both undergraduate and postgraduate areas of human relations in the workplace, human resource management, service quality, and hospitality. Josephine’s research areas extend from her PhD work and include occupational culture, organisational culture, and service predispositions. In recent years, her research attention has been also focused on tertiary teaching.


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