Academic journal article The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends

Organizational Climate and Service Climate in Tourism and Hospitality: A Review

Academic journal article The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends

Organizational Climate and Service Climate in Tourism and Hospitality: A Review

Article excerpt


Purpose - This paper provides a literature review of studies within tourism and hospitality of both generalized organizational climate (providing an overall snapshot of an organization's functioning) and service climate (providing precise and targeted service information).

Design/methodology/approach - Searches were conducted using the University's multiple data base search engine allowing parallel searches across multiple databases including ProQuest, EBSCO Host, Emerald, JSTOR, etc. These searches aimed to identify papers reporting studies of generalised organisational climate and service climate within tourism and hospitality organisations.

Implications - The information presented in this paper has implications for both organizational research and practice. Both generalized organizational climate and service climate can be shown to have relationships of a magnitude to be not only statistically significant but also of practical significance to organizational outcomes such as employee turnover intention, customer satisfaction, and financial performance.

Key words: psychological climate; organizational climate; service climate; field theory; Kurt Lewin.

JEL Classifications: L80; M14

PsycINFO Classifications: 2200; 3600; 3900


In manufacturing, the quality of a product may be regularly inspected and evaluated enabling management to take action when quality falls below minimum standards (Davidson & Manning 2003). In service industries this is not the case as individual employees represent the interface between organization and customer and, therefore, have ultimate responsibility for the quality of service delivered (Christou & Eaton 2000). One suggestion to ensure appropriate social interaction between employee and customer is to consider the personality of employees in staffselection (Teng 2008). A second suggestion, training, has also been proposed (Christou & Eaton 2000). But, at least as early as the 1950's a third influence, the workplace psycho-social environment, has been shown to affect employee behavior above and beyond that explained by personality and training (Fleishman 1953).

Study of the workplace psycho-social environment has been approached from two distinct paradigms. One evolved from anthropology and sociology and is generally referred to as organizational culture. This approach attempts to describe that which is unique in an organization and to understand this in the context of its evolutionary history via description of the organization's myths, symbols, rites, and stories (Denison 1996). Although historically often applying a qualitative approach, more recently quantitative culture scales have been developed (Dawson, Abbott & Shoemaker 2011). A recent review of culture in hotel management is presented elsewhere (Chen, Cheung & Law 2011).

The second approach evolved from Kurt Lewin's Field Theory (Manning, Davidson & Manning 2005). An individual's workplace psycho-social environment may be conceptualized in terms of Lewin's psychological field, and operationalized as psychological climate. Psychological climate scores may be aggregated to represent the organizational climate of a group. Such a measure may attempt to represent all aspects of the psycho-social environment as generalized organizational climate (e.g. Davidson, Manning, Brosnan & Timo 2002), or alternatively, a limited domain-specific aspect of the psycho-social environment related to service as service climate (e.g. Schneider 1975). Patterson et al. (2005) write:

The global approach is advantageous in terms of its provision of an overall snapshot of organizational functioning, allowing a view of the ways whole organizations operate...A multidimensional global approach can also highlight subcultures and identify the effects of particular dimensions on specific outcome measures, such as organizational productivity or innovation...The domain-specific approach contributes more precise and targeted information for use in areas such as the improvement of customer satisfaction (p. …

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