International Hotel Manager as an Emerging Concept: A Review of Expatriate Management Literature and a Model Proposal

By Ozdemir, Bahattin; Cizel, Rabia Bato | Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, August 2007 | Go to article overview
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International Hotel Manager as an Emerging Concept: A Review of Expatriate Management Literature and a Model Proposal


Ozdemir, Bahattin, Cizel, Rabia Bato, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management


Focusing on the concept of international hotel manager, the overall aim of this article is to build up a connection between issues in the generic literature of expatriate management and the notion of international hotel manager. In this sense, the study begins with a review of expatriate management literature in order to illustrate emerging issues. Interpretation of findings of literature search suggests that it is possible to identify four distinct groups of articles referring to (a) adaptation to different cultures, (b) human resource management (HRM) in the context of expatriate managers, (c) women expatriate managers, and (d) other related issues. The review of hospitality management literature, on the other hand, reveals that studies focus particularly on the definition of the international hotel manager concept and identification of skills and competencies of effective international hotel managers. Fallowing this theoretical foundation, a process-based model for international hotel managers is proposed. This model is constituted by 4 main stages, including recruitment and selection, predeparture preparation, foreign assignment, and repatriation. Consequently, it can be suggested that this article highlights the crucial importance of the international hotel manager as an emerging concept, and reveals future research opportunities.

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In an era characterised by the acceleration of globalisation, international management issues have begun to play a more central role in business practice. Many firms engage more in international activities, with the motivation of increasing sales on the one hand and decreasing costs and risks on the other (Daniels et al., 2001). Moreover, the same motives also lead hotel firms to operate in an international context and expand their international activities through various internationalisation forms that include strategic alliances, acquisitions, hotel consortia, mergers, direct ownerships, joint ventures, management contracts and franchising (D'Annunzio-Green, 1997; Gannon & Johnson, 1997). As globalisation of the industry is inevitable, there is a strong need for hotel businesses to commit themselves to internationalisation (Geller, 1998).

In this context, it is not surprising to observe that many hotel firms seek wide geographical coverage to grow and prosper beyond the confines of domestic markets (Brotherton & Adler, 1999), and strive to achieve and sustain a global competitive advantage (Roper, Brookes, & Hampton, 1999). Consequently, transnational and/or multinational hotel companies are increasingly dominating the international hotel market (Wu, Costa, & Teare, 1998) and playing a key role in the development and continuity of the international tourism industry (Kusluvan & Karamustafa, 2001). In the literature of hospitality business, internationalisation has become one of the key preoccupations, and new books, articles and courses bearing the word 'international' in their titles abound (Burgess, Hampton, Price, & Roper, 1995).

The internationalisation efforts of hotel firms inherently engender some managerial problems, such as the question of who will effectively manage properties in markets where the firms have little or no prior experience (Shay & Tracey, 1997). Hence, it has been recognised that there is a strong need for a different type of manager, who possesses some additional and diverse competencies, rather than a national manager whose responsibilities are limited to operating domestic facilities.

Against the background presented above, the aim of this article is to emphasise the concept of international hotel manager as an emerging notion and to identify related issues through a review of the broad literature on expatriate management. Given the aim of the study, the flow of the topics throughout the article will be as follows: (a) the article begins with a comprehensive literature review on expatriate manager, (b) proceeds with another review on international and expatriate hotel managers, (c) on this theoretical foundation a model is proposed for the management of international hotel managers and, (d) finally, a discussion section and further research suggestions are provided.

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