Hotel Organizational Culture
Dr. Kefalas Soteris, Ph.D
There is no sharp demarcation between corporate and organizational culture but considerable overlap.
Corporate culture is the sum of procedures and customs that distinguish an organization from every other. It has developed since its conception into its present standing and is the organization’s character whose corporate culture influences ethical standards and the behavior of its employees. Its work groups possess their own interrelationships that affect the total organization.
Organizational culture describes individual and group attitudes, beliefs, experiences, psychology and values. These values and norms are shared by employees determine how they interact with each other and with the public and dictate appropriate standards to achieve their goals.
Corporate culture is an organization’s inbuilt characteristics acquired historically over time. Organizational culture is deeper and wider, contemporary and continually being developed.
The structure of a traditional organization is typically illustrated as a hierarchical arrangement of pyramids of little boxes each labelled with the job or jobholder. Managers apparently have close contact only with their immediate subordinates. Decision-making is influenced vertically, subordinates advising and persuading their managers. Authority flows downwards with those at the top unlikely to know much about the lowest members, their names or jobs and far less, have contact with them; they may not even know of their existence.
Yet, despite the hierarchical structure, there is often close daily contact between some high and low level members. The conventional hierarchical structure does not reflect the way that an organization operates and there is considerable cross-hierarchical communication. A modern organization does not operate in a hierarchical structure; it is a dynamic entity consisting of people, in structures, with tasks to perform and tools to use. Change in any one of the four will affect each of the other three directly or indirectly.
An organizational culture can be developed for a hotel to make it unique and give it an identity. This requires a statement of its philosophy, values, beliefs and overall strategy broken down into specific managers’ objectives. In effect, it is its Mission Statement, which ultimately determines the degree of success of its operations. It has four main sections:
- General purpose of the organization.
- Products, services and price ranges offered.
- Organization’s primary stakeholders.
- Responsibilities to the stakeholders.
The statement starts with a clear, succinct description of the enterprise’s reason answering the question, "Why does the hotel exist?"
Everything in the mission statement must be believable, realistic and readily communicated to all levels. The five main components of an organization’s philosophy are people, product, quality, value and profit. A hotel’s most important asset is people, especially its employees. They need to be involved, to work in teams and make commitments. But, everything done inside the hotel costs money: all the managers, accountants, receptionists, chefs, waiters, bar staff, etc., cost. It is only when you go outside and find people who could be guests that you have an opportunity to make money. Products or services satisfy guests’ needs, wants and desires.
- Needs are essential for all guests; they have to be obtained today.
- Wants are not so essential and can be acquired tomorrow.
- Desires are guests’ dreams; they might be realized in the future.
Products are not bought for what they are but for what they do. The handyman doesn’t want a six millimetre drill he needs a six millimetre hole; we don’t buy boxes of matches we buy boxes of flames. And, we don’t hire rooms at a seaside hotel or rents strips of sand on the beach in the summer; we buy dreams. A hotel must satisfy guests’ needs, wants and provide opportunities for dreams to be realized.
Quality is a primary component and a hotel’s products and services must create complete satisfaction for guests. Profit measures the success in fulfilling guests’ demands. Profit is essential for survival and growth and supplies a financial umbrella for future rainy periods. Neither management nor staff must be content with past standards but must always strive to maintain and improve service and efficiency.
An organizational culture is developed with a Bull’s Eye structure. This is not hierarchical but radial from the centre occupied by the manager communicating outwards to successive rings of employees. Inner ring employees are seen frequently―daily or even hourly. Those seen less frequently occupy outer rings. But the secret of implementing an organizational culture is for all employees to have access to management, the nature of their job rather than hierarchical position dictating the frequency of contact.
Plan your 'bull’s eye'. List what has to be done daily, weekly, periodically to attract, service, and satisfy guests. At the side of each activity, insert the employee responsible and grade them AA (above average), S (satisfactory) or NS (needs supervision). Keep things simple, easy to check and straightforward to correct. Double-check your bull’s eye plan:
- Decide what parts of your work are to be delegated.
- Divide it into manageable activities.
- Balance pleasant and unpalatable tasks.
- Select to whom to delegate.
- State responsibility employee must accept.
- Specify authority being given.
- Agree standards of performance.
- Stipulate how and when progress is to be reported.