A validation study of service complexity measures for employees in the hotel/motel front office

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In spite of the increasing importance of the service industry, it has failed to receive much attention from researchers. This lack of attention is especially true of the hospitality segment of the service industry, and consequently, almost no attention has been paid specifically to hotels and motels.

This study explores the possible reasons for poor or inadequate service by attempting to first identify the important complexity variables of service, and second to evaluate how those variables relate to employee attitudinal reactions to their job.

A total of sixteen job characteristics, theorized to have a positive effect on service complexity, were empirically tested against attitudinal reactions measures. The data was collected from 212 front office employees in 25 different hotels and motels.

This study modified and evaluated an instrument (The Job Diagnostic Survey) that may be used to measure both complexity and attitudinal reaction variables. The modifications included the addition of nine new complexity variables. The results concluded that the modified instrument was internally reliable at an acceptable level for new research, and that there was strong evidence to support content validity and nomological validity measures which tended to favor the original variables over the newly proposed complexity variables.

Implications of this study highlight the fact that there is considerable uncertainty in the measurement of hotel/motel service operations. Therefore, additional research is necessary to more completely define the characteristics of service complexity and then to measure its effects on employee attitudes.