Employee Alienation in the Quick Service Restaurant Industry [Summary]
Based on the findings of this exploratory study, it is possible to conclude that for the respondents represented in this sample, many QSR employees—like their counterparts in numerous manufacturing industries (Blauner, 1964)— exhibit feelings of work alienation. The feelings seem to be more prevalent among hourly employees and those who are males, younger, more educated, and African Americans. Furthermore, the study also found that employees’ alienation is not uniformly distributed among all QSRs, therefore suggesting that work alienation is not necessarily caused by the technology employed and/or the nature of the jobs but possibly by the leadership styles and managerial practices in each restaurant. This suggestion, if confirmed by future studies, would support the findings of Sarros et al. (2002), who found that transactional style leadership—leaders who emphasize formal procedures and reward or discipline their followers on the basis of their work performance—is often associated with high levels of alienation. If this holds true for other studies, the practical implications for this and other similar sectors of the hospitality industry are that despite the monotonous and unchallenging nature of many hospitality jobs, employees do not have to feel alienated from their work. With the proper leadership style and appropriate managerial techniques, employees can feel intrinsically motivated, have a sense of meaningfulness, and become actively engaged in their work.
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