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Title: The contextual characteristics of successful small upper segment culinary restaurant owners and their potential influence on hospitality management education
Author: Gehrels, Sjoerd A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 5456
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this research is to explore the contextual characteristics of a particular group of Dutch restaurant owner’s (SSUSCROs) and practitioners, to examine how these contextual characteristics might be used in a professional hospitality education programme. This very small segment of the Dutch restaurant business (0,2-0,5% of the total restaurants) is known for its strong commitment to competitiveness, in delivering quality service and products. No previous research in The Netherlands had embarked on a search for connecting this specific category of practitioners to education. As owners of their restaurants, the SSUSCROs were aware of the potential contribution that participating in this research would make. The research was designed from a constructionist epistemological point of view. This means that the data supplied by the respondents, and the background and vision of the researcher provided an interplay. By using grounded theory methodology, theory is constructed from the empirical data. The main instrument for the primary research was in-depth, interviewing. Six retired and four practising restaurant owners, and a connoisseur of the business were interviewed in one to three hour depth interviews that were digitally recorded. The transcripts of the recorded interviews were analysed, applying the specific constructivist version of grounded theory methodology as described by Charmaz’s (2006). The research generated a grounded theory in the form of a narrative about the SSUSCRO social construct and its central theme ‘Living the business’. The narrative informs future practitioners i.e. students, about how they can prepare for possible future business ventures in the culinary restaurant business. Furthermore, it confronts future practitioners with the notion of particular contextual characteristics and value systems that need to be incorporated in order to successfully engage in and sustain a career in the culinary restaurant sector. Elements of the narrative, connected to Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Effective People framework for personal leadership. The findings from this research confirmed the importance of providing students in hospitality management education with a approach towards professional development that is grounded in the social construct of a remarkable group of entrepreneurs such as the SSUSCROs. The conclusions suggested that faculty and academic management of hospitality management programmes need to become more knowledgeable about the particular nature of the discipline, and the specific category of practitioners researched here.
Supervisor: Allan, Julie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: culinary restaurants ; entrepreneurship ; grounded theory ; reflexivity ; hospitality management education ; hospitality research ; Small business Growth ; Hospitality Philosophy ; Hospitality industry Management