Motivational Job Satisfaction of Small Hotel Employees in Kingston, Jamaica.

Master's Thesis, 2010

85 Pages, Grade: 1,3







1 Introduction
1.1 Overview.
1.2 Problem Statemen
1.3 Rationale and Significance of the Study

2 Literature Review.
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Job Satisfaction
2.3 Job Motivation
2.4 Job Factors
2.4.1 Pay
2.4.2 Appreciation
2.4.3 Working Conditions
2.4.4 Interesting Job
2.4.5 Participation in Decision-Making
2.5 Demographic Variables
2.5.1 Age
2.5.2 Generations
2.5.3 Gende
2.5.4 Education
2.5.5 Tenure

3 Methodology
3.1 Research Questions and Hypotheses
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Sample
3.4 Instrument and Measures
3.5 Data Collection Method
3.6 Data Analysis Procedure

4 Results

5 Discussion


Appendix 1. The average employee

Appendix 2. Frequency Tables of Dependant Variables

Appendix 3. Percentages and Pie Charts of the Dependant Variables

Appendix 4. Appreciation and Education Crosstabulation

Appendix 5. Demographic Variables

Appendix 6. Appreciation and Gender Crosstabulation

Appendix 7. Participation in Decision-Making and Age Crosstabulation

Appendix 8. Notes from Managers Interviews

Appendix 9. Questionnaire


Table 1. Top 3 Rankings

Table 2. Research Questions and Hypothesis

Table 3. Independent Variables

Table 4. Ranking of Satisfaction Levels of the Five Dependent Variables


Chart 1. Motivational Preferences versus Actual Satisfaction

Chart 2. Salary Scores

Chart 3. Working Condition Scores


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1 Introduction

1.1 Overview

This study is based on Crawford’s findings about Jamaican hospitality worker’s motivational preferences[1]. The aim of the study is to find whether or not these motivators are satisfied and if these findings stand in any relation with demographic variables of the participants of the study, such as age and gender. A survey was conducted in the area of Kingston, distributing questionnaires to 90 employees of small hotels. In addition to this interviews with managers of these hotels were conducted.

1.2 Problem Statement

Small and medium sized companies dominate the tourism and hospitality industry worldwide. In fact, ninety percent of hospitality businesses worldwide are small enterprises. It is suggested that small hotels lack the capability and resources to enable human resource development for their establishments.[2] This has several implications: for one, competing with larger hotels for guests as well as talented staff can be hindered. Secondly, training for existing staff may not be as extensive or as required to enhance employees’ job role. Thirdly, a lack of financial resources, business skills and professional approach to same can hamper the success of the business overall. Besides the business perspective, there is also the perspective of the employees. They have a clear idea of what motivates them and what does not. Based on Kovach’s ten variables used in Crawford’s study[3], it is known what Jamaican hospitality workers look for in terms of their jobs. However, it is unknown whether or not these motivators are satisfied. If these motivators are not satisfied and the hospitality workers of small hotels are generally dissatisfied, then this would have serious implications for the overall hospitality industry based on the fact that SME’s dominate the tourism sector.

Therefore, it is necessary to ask whether or not Jamaican hotel workers are satisfied with their jobs. Or more specifically, if the factors that motivate them are fulfilled to their satisfaction. In addition to this, knowing how these questions relate to demographic variables, such as age and gender, will help to draw conclusions more accurately.

1.3 Rationale and Significance of the Study

Many studies have investigated on the motivational preferences of hotel workers (Charles and Marshall, 1992; Simons and Enz, 1995; Crawford, 2008, Kovach, 1987). But only few studies have explored whether or not these motivators are satisfied. It is good to know what workers need but it is better to know if they get what they need to be satisfied. After all, the hospitality industry is a service industry and therefore labour intensive. The staff is the heart of operations. If the heart is ill and it does not get the nutrients it needs to work, then the entire body is deemed to collapse. Same applies to a hospitality enterprise. Additionally to this, small hotels often do not have the financial resources to investigate on the state of their personnel, which makes it harder to intervene on time and on the correct issue. Therefore, this study contributes to uncovering improvement needs in human resource management and general hotel operations for small hotels in Jamaica. It also unravels how demographic variables affect the satisfaction of motivational preferences.

2 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

According to Heskett et al (1994)[4] and Kotler et al (1999)[5] service quality is driven by the productivity of employees, which is crucially dependent on the employees’ motivation and satisfaction.

In the Caribbean one in seven jobs is found in the tourism industry, which is a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. The tourism and hospitality employment contribution is predicted to rise to 3.2 million indirect and direct jobs by 2014[6]. As Jamaica’s economy is more diversified than economies of other islands (such as Barbados), Jamaica depends on tourism and tourism employment to a lesser degree than other islands[7].

A study done by Dunn and Dunn in 2001 revealed that there were more men than women employed in Jamaica’s tourism industry. In 1994, just over 25% of tourism workers had high school education. Furthermore, the study showed that women receive lower wages than men employed in the industry. Tourism is said to be a “stepping stone to other careers” in other industries. Overall, the study also revealed that there was a high turnover in the tourism industry[8].

Jobs offered in the hotel industry are often “low grade”[9] and targeted at unskilled workers. Typical jobs associated with these attributes are barmen, bellboys, room attendants and waitresses. Furthermore, the workers remain unskilled throughout their employment, especially in small hotels, because they cannot offer professional training for their employees[10].

Pattullo (2005) describes hotel work, especially in small establishments, to be paid badly, to be of low security and high seasonality. However, compared to other job opportunities, there are benefits, which are facilitated by, for example, women who used to work as domestic private helpers. They switch to hotel work because it offers regular pay and hours[11].

2.2 Job Satisfaction

Tremendous problems/issues in the industry arise from worker attitudes and their behaviour towards tourists, who for the most part have different cultural backgrounds. As described by Pattullo (2005), many times, Caribbean tourism workers fail to deliver pleasant and efficient service. Also Carter (1997) had similar findings in his study done on Jamaican workers, including tourism workers. Apparently, workers are releasing their aggressions with their job and management by being rude to guests[12]. Whether or not this is somehow related to job satisfaction – especially in small hotels where workers complain about lacking benefits – is the question of another study. Either way, the issue of worker attitudes has impacts on productivity and profitability of a hotel establishment[13]. However, a relationship between poor worker attitudes and job motivation can be found using Carter’s study (1997) which found that generally 76 percent of the Jamaican workforce can be described as demotivated. This survey was done on 1800 Jamaican workers across several industries, including Tourism, Utilities and Finance[14]. Possibly, the low motivational level of the Jamaican workforce could be manifested in poor worker attitudes. The study also found that Jamaican employees find themselves to be working in a “hostile and reductive work environment”[15]. These poor job attitudes are a response to these hostile environments; hence the worker will not change his attitude unless the workplace conditions change[16]. Not surprisingly Carter (1997) found that Jamaican workers suffer from low job satisfaction caused by underutilized worker skills and education, perceived boring jobs, demotivated supervisors and workers’ perception that their jobs are irrelevant to organizational objectives[17]. In the Jamaican tourism industry, 38 percent of workers and 50 percent of supervisors were found to be unhappy with their jobs[18].

As expected, the solution to this problem is more complex than it seems. In terms of job satisfaction Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory differs between hygiene factors, such as pay, working conditions and vacation leave, and motivational factors, such as appreciation, participation and challenging work. Carter (1997) found that Jamaican workers are dissatisfied with hygiene factors. Especially tourism workers are unhappy about pay[19]. According to Herzberg’s theory, it is not sufficient to remove dissatisfaction with hygiene factors in order to create employee satisfaction. Additionally to hygiene factors, also motivational elements need to be fulfilled.

However, compared to the Jamaican workforce on a whole, Carter (1997) discovered that the tourism sector shows more job satisfaction (approximately 60 percent). In comparison, only 17 percent of utility workers stated that they were satisfied with their jobs. Even better results for the tourism industry were found in Carl Stone’s survey, attempting to shed light on hotel workers’ attitudes. The survey showed that there was high employee satisfaction among hotel workers in large all-inclusive properties in Jamaica[20]. However, this study was done in resort areas, such as Montego Bay, and may or may not be valid for urban areas, such as Kingston. Furthermore, the study was done in 1990, which might affect its validity almost 20 years later. Another study done by Carl Stone in 2002, this time for Sandals Resorts, confirmed the findings from the study done in 1990. But it also found that 21 percent of non all-inclusive hotel workers felt that they did not benefit a fair share from tourist profits[21].

2.3 Job Motivation

In order to find out what it is that drives employee’s to excel in their jobs and to be truly satisfied, managers must find out what it is that motivates employees to perform. After all, motivation and satisfaction are closely related. As explained by Crawford (2008), once a need is satisfied, it loses its ability to serve as a motivator[22]. This idea originates in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, in which we strive to achieve the next highest need once a lower need is satisfied. In other words, it is the aim to reach satisfaction of the next highest need that drives motivation. But what are employees’ needs? Which motivational factors do employees prefer over others? Assuming, that each worker has his/her own personal ‘pyramid of needs’, how would they rank these needs or motivational factors?

Kovach’s research on motivational preferences of industrial workers showed that interesting work was rated higher than good wages or job security[23]. However, this study was carried out between 1946 and 1986, which might limit the validity of those findings for modern generations. Kovach’s variables influencing employee motivation are the following: (1) good wages, (2) tactful discipline, (3) job security, (4) interesting work, (5) empowerment, (6) sympathetic help with personal problems, (7) opportunities for involvement and development, (8) good working conditions, (9) supervisors loyalty to employees and (10) appreciation for accomplishments[24]. These variables have been used repeatedly by several researchers, such as Simons and Enz (1995), Charles et. al (1992) and Crawford (2008).

Contrary to Kovach’s findings, Simons and Enz (1995) found that high wages were preferred over interesting work, using Kovach’s variables. According to this study, employees want good wages, followed by job security and opportunities for development[25]. This study also indicated age differences in terms of employee needs and wants, as shown in the table on the next page.

Table 1. Top 3 rankings.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The research done by Charles and Marshall[26] (1992) on hotel employees in the Bahamas supported Simons’ findings, as their results also showed differences of motivational preferences between employees of various ages, educational levels and gender. As shown in the table above, hotel workers seem to be more money oriented than industrial workers, as they all rank good wages as their number one motivator, despite the fact that these studies were done in different countries. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that Caribbean workers have similar opinions in terms of motivational preferences. Both Bahamians and Jamaicans rank good wages as their number one motivator. The other top motivators are working conditions and appreciation for work done, even though the second and third rankings are turned around. Nevertheless, the similarities of results increase among hotel workers and especially among hotel workers of the same cultural background. According to Crawford (2008) cultural differences play a major role in an individual’s motivational preferences as found in studies done by Silverthorne (1992) and Fisher (1998). This is confirmed by Kotler (1999) who argues that needs may be homogenous among cultures, but that wants are different as they are a product of socialization[27]. Crawford found that work preferences of Bahamian and Jamaican workers are very similar, indicating a common Caribbean culture. However, he also indicated that Bahamians might be influenced by American culture as their motivational rankings were closer to each other than Jamaican and American rankings[28]. Also industrial differences are visible in the studies summarized in the table above. Crawford (2008) found that interesting work is less important to hotel employees than it is to manufacturing workers and suggested that customer contact and a multi-cultural working climate in the hospitality industry are reasons for this.

2.4 Job Factors

2.4.1 Pay

According to Pattullo (2005), it is mostly small, locally-owned, hotels that pay low wages (p. 70). However, satisfactory pay might not be the only factor that contributes to high job satisfaction and job performance. The contrary, Carter (1997) claims that monetary pay has different influences on job satisfaction than it does on performance motivation[29]. Therefore, a worker who is hardly motivated might have a higher job satisfaction than those who are more motivated doing the same job. To complicate this matter, satisfactory pay is highly subjective and depends on the perceptions of the worker, as he compares his perceived performance level and income with that of others. As proposed by Elliott Jaques, people have the capability of comparing and realizing differences between their actual payment and the payment that would seem appropriate for the work done[30]. Hence, we can conclude that workers are capable of stating whether or not they are satisfied with their pay. Only 6 percent of Jamaican tourism workers are satisfied with their pay, compared to 24% percent satisfied supervisors in the same industry[31]. According to Carter, such pay dissatisfaction is depending on the utilization of worker education and knowledge, the cost of living of the worker, the development and training opportunities and the value of the work done[32]. For example, 76 percent of tourism employees feel that in terms of their education and performance, their pay is unjust[33].

Furthermore, there is a great percentage of workers with a neutral opinion (49 percent) in regards to pay satisfaction. This may result from their opportunity to earn some extra dollars from tips and “hustling behaviour”[34].

Trying to find out what it is that tourism workers want, Carter asked the question what workers would want if they had the choice. He found that the higher the level of demotivation, the more employees demanded increased pay. 79 percent of critically withdrawn tourism workers demanded more pay, compared to 22.9 percent of highly motivated employees. In general, Carter found that the more motivated tourism workers are, the more often they have non-wage demands, such as training, appreciation and better supervision[35]. However, compared to other industries, tourism workers are generally more money oriented than others[36].

On the whole, Jamaican tourism workers would want more pay (54 percent), followed by more training (20 percent) and more appreciation (16 percent) in order to be more motivated and satisfied with their jobs[37]. Other researchers, such as Kovach (1987), Wiley (1995) and Crawford (2008), have not considered training as a motivational factor. Nonetheless, as stated earlier, training and development opportunities influence job satisfaction and should therefore be of greater importance in human resource management.

However, Carter found that an increase in pay usually does not necessarily affect the effort of a Jamaican worker[38]. This finding is contrary to Crawford’s study done on Jamaican hotel employees. He found that payment is the number one motivational factor for hotel workers[39]. Hence, there might be crucial differences in motivational preferences between tourism workers and workers from other industries. Even though Crawford found that pay is the most important motivational factor, Carter discovered that Jamaican workers do not believe they are capable of influencing this factor. They believe that pay is dependant on other factors than production and worker productivity[40]. For example, Jamaican workers believe that things such as how the worker is liked by the supervisor are more influential on pay and pay increases as well job promotions[41]. Moreover, Crawford found that the importance of pay increases with age. Furthermore, despite the fact that both males and females ranked pay first, women ranked good wages by 1.81 average points higher[42]. However, in terms of educational level, its importance is the same – it is ranked as the first motivational preference among high school non-graduates right through university graduates[43].


[1] Damion Crawford, An Analysis of Hospitality Workers Motivational Preferences. University of Technology/University of Delaware International Conference on Business, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. October 8-11, 2008.

[2] Salih Kusluvan, Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviors in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (New York: Nova Publishers, 2003), 10.

[3] Crawford, 2008.

[4] J.L. Heskett, et al., “Putting the service profit chain to work”, Harvard Business Review, March- April, (1994): 164-174.

[5] P. Kotler, et al., Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism, 2nd Edition. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999).

[6] P. Pattullo, Last Resorts – The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean. 2nd Edition. (London: Latin America Bureau, 2005), 66.

[7] Pattullo, 67.

[8] Pattullo, 67.

[9] Pattullo, 68.

[10] Pattullo, 68.

[11] Pattullo, 69.

[12] K.L. Carter, Why Workers Won’t Work – The Worker in a Developing Economy – A Case Study of Jamaica. (London: MacMillan Education Ltd., 1997),121.

[13] Pattullo, 80.

[14] Carter, 38.

[15] Carter, 39.

[16] Carter, 73.

[17] Carter, 64.

[18] Carter, 122.

[19] Carter, 65, 126.

[20] Pattullo, 69.

[21] Pattullo, 70.

[22] Crawford, 12.

[23] Crawford, 2.

[24] Crawford, 2.

[25] T. Simons and C.A. Enz, C.A., “Motivating Hotel Employees”. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 36, 1 (1995): 20 – 27.

[26] K.R. Charles and Marshall, L.H., “Motivational Preferences of Caribbean Hotel Workers: An Exploratoy Study”. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 4, 3 (1992): 25 – 29.

[27] Crawford, 9.

[28] Crawford, 12.

[29] Carter, 29.

[30] Carter, 31.

[31] Carter, 114.

[32] Carter, 114-117.

[33] Carter, 118.

[34] Carter, 115.

[35] Carter, 71.

[36] Carter, 119.

[37] Carter, 119.

[38] Carter, 103.

[39] Crawford, 4.

[40] Carter, 105.

[41] Carter, 112-113.

[42] Crawford, 5.

[43] Crawford, 6.

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Motivational Job Satisfaction of Small Hotel Employees in Kingston, Jamaica.
University of the West Indies  (Social Sciences)
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This Thesis was completed as part of the Master of Science program in Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. The author has received an honours degree with "Distinction" and has completed the course together with the thesis as the student with the best performance of the academic year 2009/ 2010. This thesis is relevant and interesting to both hospitality experts as well as human resources professionals.
job satisfaction, motivation, hotel employees, tourismus, hotelmanagement, personalwesen, human resources
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Cindy Hertel (Author), 2010, Motivational Job Satisfaction of Small Hotel Employees in Kingston, Jamaica., Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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