“Glass Ceiling” in Hospitality Industry

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This blog will highlight family responsibilities in hospitality industry and cover, stereotypes about capabilities of women in terms of managing in hospitality companies, discriminations, work life balance and problems and issues in terms of implementing them in workplace.

The family often described as most important social institution. The family structure and role relationships have changed. Family responsibility means responsibility in relation to a spouse, partner, dependent, child or other members of family in respect of whom the member is liable for care and support, according to (Ghutto 2001). The characteristic of hospitality organisation make them among challenging for women who seek to advance their careers while maintaining active involvement in family activities. The negative aspects of hospitality industry are the lack of awareness about discrimination, long hours and lack of flexible working at management level.

A very real constraint on women ability to progress into the top position may be their family responsibility because home responsibilities are believed to be, incongruent with the responsibilities of upper management. (Stockdale and Crosby, 2004).A stereotype is generalisation that treats human groups as conforming to a pattern and language of stereotypes is designed to demark social groups as completely distinct from one another(May,1992). A woman’s primary role has traditionally centred on the home and family meaning that work for women is often viewed as a choice or an option according to (Fielden and Davidson 2005). Tradition allocates the main responsibility to women in these areas (caring for children, the elderly or sick relatives).In contrast, Negrey (1993:26) said that “… the traditional breadwinner role has led men to direct their family responsibilities to an arena outside the household”. An old fashion prejudices and stereotypes about women in workplace say: men are more competent, ambitious and then women; women have soft skills and do not have leadership’s skills. (Brief, 2008). Several linkages may be made between gender stereotypes and women capabilities in terms of managing company. Powell (2010:130) suggested that”…it difficult for women to be as affective in leader role…” Over the last three decades corporate males in the US, UK and Germany continue to see women as less qualified than men for managerial positions. (Schein, 2007).                                                                          

Some research pointed out (Wirth, 2001; Stockdale and Crosby, 2004) that women are affected by discrimination at workplace. Hunter (1992:21) describes discrimination as less favourable treatment. The researche by (Bilimoria and Piderit 2007:84) indicated that employers often express scepticism about women in managerial position “…as they view them as being too emotional and to likely to get pregnant, too passive with lack of negotiations skills”. A “glass ceiling” is exists in many companies, preventing women to the top.  Stockdale and Crosby (2004) support hypothesis that glass ceiling is not keeping women out of top management positions; women do not have more training opportunities as well. Wirth (2001) suggested that managerial women’s salaries usually lag behind those of men when they return to the workplace. The basic form of discrimination assigns women with lower confidence in their productivity, according to (Perlman and Pike 2004). Employers who perceive women as exhibiting less commitment to their job feel justified in assigned them to high turnover positions with low turnover costs and these jobs carry low pay and little status. Senior male executives stated that since managerial work is highly indeterminate, full of uncertainty, they want to work with people they feel they can trust.  Since senior male executives perceived women as being different, they tended not to select women for senior management positions. (Adler and Izraeli, 1994).One of forms of subtle or obvious discrimination against women managers in hospitality industry includes nature of training. Small number woman mangers had received no training at all despite availability of different programs according to Yadav (2002).

Work life balance has a high ambiguity meaning. Changing working times and introducing concept of work life balance was partly in response to the long hour’s culture, according to (Perrons 2006). These changes increase the pressures on employees to work unsocial hours as well as balancing caring responsibilities, for children or adults. Work life balance initiatives are associated with flexible work hours, childcare; voluntary reduces work of hours, training and development and awards (Kaiser, 2001).

Organisational trends towards flexible working have emerged as a same time as increased global competition pressures resulting with lower absenteeism and lower labour turnover. (Gambles, Lewis and Rapoport, 2006). There are several reasons that wider adoption of work life practices may benefit employee as well. The most widely available work time policies help women to better integrate their work and non-work lives (Worell, 2002). A number of additional studies have identifies importance of balance supportive, work family culture. In terms of that Halpern and Murphy (2005) suggested that family friendly environment is related to high levels of benefits utilization, higher effective commitment, less stress and happier employee. Concept of work-family balance can promote a more equitable and effective workplace and lower self-reported levels of work- life conflict. (Halpern and Cheung, 2008).

But balancing work activities outside work and various responsibilities is difficult. Some research found that managers were reluctant to accept variations in the standard working hours because they assumed it will lead to problems. (Coussey, 2000). To handle conflicting demands (priorities and lack of time) employee need to be informed what is available and acceptable in terms of balance work and life. (Torun, 2004). The evidence suggested that work intensity, lack of discretion and control over how work is performed are barriers in terms of implementing WLB. Some of the barriers to implementing WLB are related to characteristic of the jobs and organisation within which are located. (Yeandle, 2003).Career interruption for family reasons often implies losses in seniority, deprecation of job skills and less of receiving training. (Wirth, 2001). This can be discoursing for a woman’s aspiring to and capable of holding top management positions. Gambles, Lewis and Rapoport (2006) suggested that culture change must take place at the systemic and collective level in terms of effectiveness of WLB. Also, most employers still viewed WLB initiatives as policies for women. Lack of trust and flexibility and backlash against employee who use work –life policy entitlements are issues in terms of WLB. (Lewis and Cooper, 2005).  A number of strategies have proved effective in helping to promote women to top jobs in hospitality industry including: networking, career tracking, mentoring, succession planning and adoption of a comprehensive approach. (Wirth, 2001). The research suggested that networks are informal social system that use friendship an alliances to organize, influence and rewards within hospitality organisation. Mentoring and training are very important in terms of women’s manager career development.

It becomes clear that women in hospitality industry experience additional challenge as a result of nature and characteristic of hospitality industry. Role relationships within family and family responsibilities have changed. An old fashion prejudices and stereotypes about women in workplace say: men are more competent than women and women do not have leadership’s skills. Some research suggested that women are affected by discrimination at workplace.  A study by Mullins (2005) demonstrated that women executives are still rare sight in business generally. Work life balance initiatives are associated with flexible work hours, childcare; voluntary reduces work of hours, training and development. There are a number of strategies that have proved effective in helping to promote women to top jobs in hospitality industry including: networking, career tracking, mentoring and training.

http://bizcatalyst360.com/rethinking-glass-ceiling-hospitality-industry/

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