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The Hospitality Industry At The Beginning Of The 21st Century

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Par   •  5 Mars 2013  •  6 389 Mots (26 Pages)  •  1 116 Vues

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I. French management style in comparison to the American management style

This first part is talking about the differences between two styles of management, both chosen in countries in which the hospitality industry and the tourism sector represent a big share of the gross domestic product. (G.D.P)

We could wonder why we have chosen to talk about this subject, but in a certain way the answer has already been expressed. More quickly than other sectors, it is noticeably improving and makes our society evolve, even since the crisis began. There is no denying that the big potential of growth of the sector allowed hoteliers to constantly recruit. Human resources are one of the most important achievement elements, and it’s a well-known fact that customers’ satisfaction is present only when employees’ satisfaction has been reached. Ways of management in our business have to be understood like real conditions of success, to make our industry constantly booming, especially as hospitality industry has to face the cross- cultural problem, often within the same company.

To examine the question in more details, we could first give a quick definition of what is management: It is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives efficiently. Several elements have to be taken into account, such as customers, providers, investors, employees, and different kinds of information. And performance monitoring mainly depends on sales, marketing, finance services, and quality management (logistic, business data processing and human resources management).

A. Different cultures means different communication and management styles

One of the big evolutions consists today in developing the company in a context of globalization, by mastering the cultural differences. However intercultural relationships aren’t always easy to manage. Let’s use one of the G. Hofstede’s researches on cultural differences to talk about the different ways managers take in business.

a. Individualism

Contrary to its opposite, collectivism, in the individualist side we find societies in which everyone is expected to look after himself and his immediate family. Whereas on the collectivist side, we find societies in which people are cohesive in groups. According to G. Hofstede, French people are rather individualists, just behind Americans. In that way both cultures seem to be on the same horizons. These individualistic cultures are emphasized mostly on their individual goals. Actually people from individualistic cultures tend to think only of themselves as individuals. They prefer clarity in their conversations to communicate more efficiently and come the most of the time directly to the point. In the hospitality industry, this manner of working could have good consequences on results. For example, in the crisis context, some firms had to undertake decisions very quicly, that had far- reaching consequences on the good course of their activities. In collectivist societies, first details will be named and discussed so that after they could come to the point. American and French managers feel annoyed by this way of running their business, because they say first what it is about and explain afterwards.

b. Power distance: Delegation, control and decision- making (leadership)

Hofstede’s Power Distance Index measures the way in which members of organizations accept unequal distribution of power. A lower power distance society like America has a smaller proportion of supervisors and employees empowered to make their own decisions. On the contrary France is situated higher than the world average. In companies, we assist to a higher power distance, and hierarchical organizations include a high proportion of supervisors who give orders, but this time, at the lower level. Nevertheless, it’s quite clear French management really exists; there is a rigid chain of traditional hierarchical organization which obviously must be respected, but the French seem to be in general less direct than Americans, for instance when mistakes have been made by employees, French managers may be too polite to let them know they have failed in their tasks.

This behaviour, according to American managers, is useful to make employees aware of their responsibilities, and doesn’t appear like a way to avoid one’s commitments, everybody being in the same boat. It seems to be effective and it encourages all the co-workers to manage at the best their sphere of responsibility. It is one of key elements of success.

c. Uncertainly avoidance

Actually this point deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; in other words it refers to people’s search for truth, and shows in which manners a culture influences its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unknown situations. (I mean situations that are unusual). On a scale of 100, we can notice France obtains a score of 86, unlike its American competitor which registers a score of 46. That’s why French people seem to strongly resist to changes by keeping their traditional believes and institutions. Americans, whose score is lower than the world average tolerate much more risk and are more comfortable with ambiguities and rapid change. In comparison to the point described previously, American appear like more able to deal with the competition, because they establish strict laws, rules, security measures, as well as a “belief” in absolute truth. We could conclude that point by saying French managers are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to.

To sum up, they try to have as few rules as possible.

d. Long term orientation

Unlike short-term orientation whose values could be resumed in “respect for tradition, personal stability, protecting one’s face, reciprocation of greetings, gifts, and social obligations” according to Hofstede’s own terms, long term orientation is based upon “thrift and perseverance”;

The United States was included in the group of countries that had a low long term orientation, that obviously indicates in this culture, changes can occur more rapidly, because responsibility and commitments don’t prevent them to make changes. The French are big on tradition which means short-term orientation is favourable for their culture. This means change takes longer than if they were long-term oriented.

Finally, to the French way of thinking, French people generally try to sort out problems and if they are unable to do so, they refer themselves to a specialist who is more expert in the area, to find the best solution. Yet this approach


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