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Role of higher education for successful managers in the hospitality industry

Goldmon, Suzzette Shaw
Scope and Method of Study:
The purpose of this study was to: (1) ascertain the degree to which the general benefits of a college education transfer and contribute to the success of managers in the hospitality industry; (2) determine the perceived value of a college education in the hospitality industry from the perspective of hospitality industry leaders; and (3) assess whether individuals who have a college degree are more successful in the hospitality industry than those individuals who do not have a college degree. The sampling frame for this research study were leaders in the food service segment of the hospitality industry who are members of the National Restaurant Association. A web-based, self administered survey was used to collect data. The survey had a Cronbach's alpha of .937. The questionnaire was divided into two sections. The first section discussed the demographics of the hospitality industry leaders. The second section discusses the degree to which higher education contributes to the success of food service managers from the perspective of industry leaders who responded to this study.
Findings and Conclusions:
Three thousand nine hundred sixty five questionnaires were distributed electronically. Three thousand nine hundred ten (98%) were successfully delivered. Ninety-Seven (2.48%) people responded to the questionnaire. Thirty-nine (54.9%) of the respondents were male and 32 (45%) were female. Twenty percent of the male respondents were between the ages of 50 and 55. Of the total respondents, eighteen (24%) had worked in the industry between 26 and 35 years; 12.4% for 26 - 30 years; 12.4% between 31 - 35; and 11.3% of had worked between 11-15 years.
Generally, the findings of this study were consistent with previous research. When all other qualifications are similar, the respondents preferred a college educated manager. Thus, the results infer that having a college degree contributes to the personal success of a manager, particularly giving them a competitive edge in the hiring process and results in an increase in salary. However, the specific value that a college degree contributes to a manager's ability to work effectively is unclear.
Additional research that seeks to engage hospitality industry leaders and educators in collaborative efforts to better understand why industry leaders favor managers with college degrees and to further explore the specific benefits that having a degree contributes to the success of managers in the hospitality industry should be conducted.