Affirmative Action for Women in Hiring Decisions in Hotel Management Can Improve the Bottom Line

New research led by the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management suggests hotel companies that promote a woman over an equally qualified man are perceived as fairer and less discriminatory, creating a stronger organizational culture and higher financial performance.

Women account for only 12 percent of all hotel leadership positions, from entry-level supervisor to owner. But women make up a huge percentage of all employees in hotels.

“If women don’t believe the promotional process is fair, they’re not even going to try to apply for those positions,” said Michelle Russen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Houston and lead author of the study. “There needs to be more women in these top management positions. How employees perceive the fairness within the process may also directly influence the organizational culture, sales growth, and employee productivity of the hotel.”

Fairness in the process serves as a signal to employees, said Juan Madera, a professor in the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston and a co-author of the study. “If a female applicant is a star, but she sees a management team that’s all men, it may signal this is not a good fit for her and the company loses out on a great candidate.” Furthermore, he points out that if employees believe the promotion process is fair, then they will believe the organization will treat them fairly, too, which can affect other attitudes, including an overall commitment to the company and plans to stay or move on.

The full study, “Gender Discrimination and Perceived Fairness in the Promotion Process of Hotel Employees,” was published on the website of the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. It may be accessed here.



Filed Under: Research/Study


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