Education & Research

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Reference group

A reference group is an individual(s) or group(s) that influences the shaping of an individual’s opinion, belief, attitude, and/or behavior. There are two major types of reference groups: normative reference group and comparative reference group. Normative reference group influences an individual’s norms, attitudes, and values through direct interaction. Parents, teachers, associates, peers, and friends belong to this group. Comparative reference group refers to an aspirational group to which an individual does not belong, but is used as a standard for self evaluation.

Qualitative versus quantitative research

Based on a phenomenological paradigm, qualitative research refers to observation and analysis of data that are not predetermined by the researcher. It assumes that reality is socially constructed through individual or collective definitions of the situation or environment. The goal of qualitative research is to capture the under standing of the social phenomenon as participants experience it. Therefore, qualitative research is not mainly concerned with establishing cause and effect relationships among variables of interest.

Hospitality versus tourism and travel industries

To properly identify the differences and similarities between the travel, tourism and hospitality industries, one needs first to define them. The travel industry is made up of all those businesses that move people (passengers) from one place to another via various modes of transportation. The tourism industry is made up of all businesses that provide goods and services to tourists.


Experimentation is a causal research method that can aid hospitality executives in decision making. Using experiments, decision makers can draw causal conclusions about the effects of various actions being considered. For example, experiments can be used to test the effects of changes in pricing, design, and other variables on actual consumption behaviors such as the amount of money consumers spend, or the number of visits to an establishment.

Data envelopment analysis

Hospitality managers attempting to assess unit level productivity have embraced several methods. At the departmental level, for example, front of the house restaurant managers have looked at meals served per hour while housekeeping managers have assessed rooms cleaned per labor hour. Such partial factor measures facilitate meaningful comparisons when applied to the same operation over multiple operating periods or when used to compare similar operations. Unfortunately, these measures have limited utility because they reflect only certain aspects of labor utilization.

Club manager certification programs

In an effort to keep private club management current with trends and issues in the private club industry, the Club Managers Association of American (CMAA) offers professional development courses that lead to educational and professional designations. This type of program is important to note because a private club manager’s success within a club setting requires a willingness and commitment to professional development. The professional development programs offered through CMAA are multi level courses that are designed for entry level to senior management.