'Lifestyle entrepreneurs' in the hospitality sector : guest house owner-occupiers
The research outlined in this thesis is a comparative investigation of the views and selfdefinitions of small-scale hospitality providers who operate their business concerns in two Scottish urban settings. It deals specifically with owner-occupied businesses. This characteristic serves to define a key focus of the research, in that it is essentially concerned with the small-scale guest house which functions as both a home and a business for its owner. In this thesis, the self-definitions and images of these proprietors are explored through the medium of the in-depth research interview, and consequently analysed from the resulting textual interview data. The nature of the research questions call for a qualitative research enquiry to provide the depth necessary to enable interpretations to be drawn which are emergent and grounded in the data. It adopts a phenomenologically-driven research perspective, using a symbolic interactionist conceptual framework upon which the methodology draws. This research is necessarily context-driven as, in order to understand fully the nature of this group, it is important to consider the context in which these proprietors operate. In this study, the two Scottish urban locations of Inverness and Dundee, as part of the wider Scottish tourism spectrum are taken as the contextual parameters of the research. Background research to this enquiry therefore pays necessary attention to the sociohistorical Scottish tourism setting, with specific focus on these locations. This functions as the contextual background against which the owner-occupiers of these small hospitality businesses must be placed. This also serves to provide an overall framework for the development of the theoretical perspectives and research methodologies which direct the research process.