Information and computers in hotels
The main subject of the thesis is the introduction of a computer system into two hotels (one existing and one new) of very similar size, operating system and management structure. A model of information relationships is developed to aid an interactionist analysis of the research data. Findings include the following: Management may use the computer as an organisational change agent but the technology itself does not necessarily play an active role in this. A computer system can be used to foster closer integration of departments, but such technological integration can also diminish interdepartmental cooperation. A period of organisational turbulence occurs when information technology is introduced into an hotel front office, and this will continue until the entrant rule system which accompanies the entrant technology becomes integrated with the embedded rule system already present. Over this initial period, because of an apparent over-concentration on machine-related tasks, a temporarily reduced level of customer service may occur. After a period of time, staff adapt the new rules to fit with their own requirements. These requirements sometimes include reducing customer pressure by 'managing' the technology for their own needs. Lack of middle management's prior technical knowledge of the computer system may lead to reduced control because their previous reliance on a combination of better knowledge of the embedded rule system plus greater experiental 'social skills' does not necessarily compensate for staff's newly-acquired technical skills. User comprehension of the system suffers where the data used in training is of a discrete nature and where the technology itself is not adequately explained. Initial user acceptance is higher in the new hotel than in the existing one; however, the reasons are not entirely clear because, according to company management, the situation after two years was a reversal of that position.