Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Paper presented at The Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference, University of Ulster, 2001


This paper is a working paper based on a current Hotel Management Skillnet project, which is due to be completed by December 2001. This project arose from previous research by the Irish Hotel and Catering Institute (IHCI), the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the Tourism Research Centre (TRC) and University College Dublin (UCD) into continuing professional development in the hospitality industry. The purpose of this paper is to outline the processes involved in the development of a competency based framework for use by middle managers of three star Irish hotels within rooms division and the food and beverage department. A competency has been defined by Boyatzis (1982) as “ an underlying characteristic of a person, a motive, trait, skill, aspect of ones self image or social role, or a body of knowledge, which he or she uses.” The requirement to develop a competency model resulted from discussions with the hotel industry and from evidence of the benefits of competency modelling in other industry sectors. While a sizeable volume of secondary research has been carried out into the design and benefits of competency modelling, there has been little evidence of primary research into models relating to the hotel industry. Secondary research provides an overview of existing generic competency models. Additional secondary research such as Human Resource Competencies – An Empirical Assessment, Ulrich D, Brockbank W, Yeung AK, and Lake DG (1995) and Emerging Competency methods for the Future, Athey TR, Orth MS (1999), among others provide a framework for the primary research. Also examined are the development of competencies and their potential application through reports such as the IMI “ Getting the Best from the Competency Approach” and IBEC “ A Benchmark of Personal Excellence for the Owner – Manager”. Competency models and frameworks have been applied and customised across a broad range of industry sectors. This paper seeks to address the need for an innovative and fresh approach to HRM within the Irish hotel sector. The primary research is conducted among three star hotels nation wide, giving equal representation to all regions of Ireland. Job analysis techniques are used as the basis for the primary research. These include critical incident technique, repertory grid and functional interviews. The research is conducted among general managers and middle managers of three star hotels. While this study examines the three star hotel market, it is recommended that further research be conducted among four and five star properties. It is envisaged that the outcomes of this project will help assist managers in three star hotels to benchmark their most important role challenges at a middle managerial level against others in similar roles. The resulting tool-kit will attempt to bring an integrated approach to human resource management in three star hotel establishments.


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