Developing an ethics curriculum for the Hong Kong hospitality industry
Due to the unique characteristics of the hospitality industry, ethical issues are never far from any action taken by its practitioners, more so than in any other industry. Ethical ambiguities mostly arise from the fact that employees and customers of different backgrounds have diverse expectations and ethical standards (Stevens & Fleckenstein, 1999). Therefore, educators must incorporate ethics into the curricula of hospitality programmes to enhance hospitality students' ethical beliefs.;However, despite the general consensus that ethics education is crucial to the development of an individual and that academics should take a proactive role, efforts made by hospitality institutes in cultivating professional ethics are fragmented. A study by Enghagen (1991) indicates that only four per cent of hospitality and tourism programmes in the US offer ethics as a separate course. The study by Yeung (2001) observes that not one of the hospitality programmes in Hong Kong offers an ethics course. Thus, the major aim of this study is to identify the issues that need to be considered in developing and implementing an ethics curriculum for the Hong Kong hospitality industry. This is achieved by assessing the needs for such a curriculum and identifying any constraints to its implementation. This study conducted in-depth interviews with a total of twenty-two hospitality industry practitioners, educators and students to solicit their views about the issue of ethics in the hospitality industry in Hong Kong as well as an ethics curriculum in an hospitality programme.;The study identifies the current issues concerning ethics in the industry; the types and range of ethical issues encountered; the methods adopted by industry to deal with any problems; the current ethical orientation of hospitality students; the availability of a code of conduct; and the functions of professional associations as some of the major issues for consideration when developing an ethics curriculum for the hospitality industry in Hong Kong. The study finds that the need for an ethics curriculum to enhance the ethical standards of the industry is acute. The study also identifies the overcrowding of the current curriculum and both the management of hospitality schools and industry lack interest in implementing as the two most important barriers to the implementation of an ethics curriculum.