The Concept of the Humane Organization through the Lens of National Culture: An Empirical Study in One Hospitality Organization

By Danielle Dimitrov.

Published by The Organization Collection

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

The purpose of this case study was to explore the way hospitality employees from different national cultures (as measured by their individualistic/collectivistic values) in a US-based hotel perceive their workplace to be a humane organization (HO) as defined by Chalofsky (2008). This exploratory research employed a single embedded case study in order to pursue answers to the central research question. The 17 participants, selected via purposeful convenience sampling, represented management, supervisory, and professional line-level employees from a diverse full-service hotel in a major metropolitan area. The instruments of Singelis, Triandis et al. (1995), as well as of Triandis and Singelis (1998) were used to determine the types of national cultures of participants (horizontal collectivist, horizontal individualist, vertical collectivist, and/or vertical individualist). One-on-one interviews as well as observations of the social and physical aspects of participants’ workplace were conducted. Human resource and work-life balance policies and programs of the studied hotel were examined; as well as documentation regarding the organizational structure, the organization’s leadership values and practices, its community involvement, and its communication with employees, was reviewed. There were more similarities than differences found between horizontal collectivists (HC) and horizontal individualists (HI) in terms of their perception of what a humane organization is and whether the studied hotel is a humane organization. Furthermore, it was concluded that cultural differences of employees’ perceptions and worldviews might assimilate on account of the strong brand culture of this hospitality organization. The features of the Humane Hospitality Organization (HHO) discovered in this case study fit Chalofsky’s framework of the humane organization (HO). There ware also two new features of the HO found through the study that expanded Chalofsky’s (2008) results. The research of more culturally diverse organizations in different countries and economic sectors was recommended. Organizations were advised to strategically revisit their missions, values, formal and informal structures of operation, as well as their existing intraorganizational rules, policies, and guidelines concerning the human factor – employees.

Keywords: Humane Organization, Cultural Differences, Individualism, Collectivism, Horizontal Individualism, Horizontal Collectivism, Meaning of Work, Meaningful Workplace, Hospitality, Work-life Balance

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp.139-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 904.487KB).

Dr. Danielle Dimitrov

Ed.D. Alumna, Human Resources Development (Human and Organizational Learning), GSEHD, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Danielle Dimitrov is a graduate of Sofia University Bulgaria, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Ed. D. (doctor of education) from the George Washington University, Washington DC. She has been responsible for various training and development programs in the hospitality industry both in the US and Eastern Europe. Foreign languages are her passion. She believes in the successful human communication. Appealed by the concepts of the “Humane Organization” and the meaningful workplace, she has set forth her academic endeavours in that direction.


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