The hospitality industry is distinguished by several features that add complexity to the business. It is characterized by a high degree of diversity that is presented in different educational and sociodemographic backgrounds. Emotional exhaustion is common in the industry due to the accomplishment of tasks that require a high level of emotional labour. It is also known for high workforce turnover (Gebbels, Gao, and Cai, 2020). In addition, it is a labour-intensive sector, in which the workforce is key to reaching customer satisfaction (Huertas-Valdivia, Gonzalez-Torres and Najera-Sanchez, 2021). Due to this, leaders’ attitudes and behaviours against employees are key to reaching employee satisfaction, productivity, and customer satisfaction (Bavik, 2019).
According to Huertas-Valdivia, Gonzalez-Torres and Najera-Sanchez (2021), leadership is considered one of the most important elements that contribute to improving hospitality employees’ performance. Several studies have outlined more cooperative practices such as transformational leadership styles improve staff turnover, employee satisfaction, and organizational commitment, amongst others (Prikshat, Rajesh, and Rajaguru, 2021). According to Korać (2021), women tend to possess leadership traits that contribute to ensuring sustainable work environments.
In this way, promoting gender diversity in managing roles can help to improve job conditions, hence, to reduce the high staff turnover and combat the labour shortage in the UK’s hospitality industry. In the three months to March 2020, hospitality jobs represented 7.1% of total UK employment (Hutton, Foley, and Irvine, 2022). Women account for around 60% of the hospitality workforce, however, just 11% hold a senior management position (Calinaud, Kokkranikal, and Gebbels, 2020). Due to this, this research aims to investigate what are the leadership qualities of women in hospitality and what are the barriers they face to reaching managerial roles. To this, the researcher develops a literature review and creates an interview guide based on it. Then, primary data is collected through qualitative methods. Hence, the researcher interviews five women that work full-time in hospitality in Lincoln. After that, the data is analyzed by using thematic analysis. Results show women highly value qualities such as communication, respect, fairness, and strong-minded, amongst others to succeed as a leader in the hospitality industry. It is also found female staff face a set of challenges related to gender stereotypes and gender roles to achieve leadership roles. In addition, the findings explain governments and businesses can contribute to reducing women’s challenges through education and others.
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