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Title: A distinctive SHRM approach in the Korean hotel industry
Author: Lee, Yeonu
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 6995
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2014
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Most studies on Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) have been conducted in Western countries rather than Asian ones (Gould-Williams & Mohamed, 2010); As a result, the debate about the drivers of 'best practice' and 'best fit' have tended to reflect the circumstances of Western countries (Gould-Williams & Mohamed, 2010; Tzafrir, 2006). Therefore this study explores how the theoretical SHRM frameworks interact within the specific Korean context. The study examines how HR practices are enacted in Korea, what the internal and external factors are which influence the Korean hotel industry, and what impact the HR practices have on employees and trade unions. The study is conducted within the deluxe hotel sector (including deluxe and super deluxe hotels) as while these hotels have only a 23% of share of the market, they accounted for 72.9% of all revenue from the hotel industry (Korea Culture & Tourism Institute, 2010). Focusing on the further development of this segment is therefore important to the overall economic success of the South Korean hotel industry. The overall aim is to develop a suitable SHRM framework which is based on best fit quality enhancing HRM, which is also sensitive to Korean culture, Korean legislation and considers the role of trade unions in Korean deluxe hotels. To accomplish this, the study draws from a range of literature on quality enhancing business strategy, distinctive Korean culture, Korean legislation, and trade unions. This thesis argues that Korean deluxe hotels adopt best fit practices, which are related to their quality enhancing business strategy, but also Korean deluxe hotels respond to external drivers such as Korean legislation, strong trade unions, and Korean culture. The study follows a pragmatic approach, which uses mixed methods to explore an SHRM framework with the views of management, employees, and trade unions in a single study. This study gathered data from four sources: 11 HR managers by interview; 11 trade union representatives at hotels by interview; 2 trade union representatives at a company level by interview; questionnaire surveys with 14 HR managers; and a questionnaire survey with 502 employees. Hence differing sources are brought together to understand how different actors feel about their hotel's HR practices and whether areas of conflict exist between management and employees. This study contributes new findings to the research literature. It brings new perspectives in understanding how a combination of 'best fit' and 'best practice' operates simultaneously in Korean deluxe hotels. It shows how Confucianism also plays a predominant role in the understanding of Korean culture, more than suggested in Hofstede's original four dimensions of culture (Kim & Park, 2003). This study has also offered new contributions to the theoretical development of'aesthetic labour' (Warhurst & Nickson, 2007), which is extended to include the new concept of 'cosmetic employment'. The study also shows the significance of 'Chaebol' hotels, a very distinctive company structure in Korea. This study further contributes to our understanding of the role trade unions in Korea in influencing more paternalistic management practices, pay negotiations, and improving employees' welfare and welfare facilities. This study has developed a new SHRM model by embedding a combination of best fit and best practice, which shows that the specific drivers and type of HR practices relate to employee outcomes. It is argued that this can be more internationally applicable than other traditional SHRM models.
Supervisor: Doherty, Liz ; Martin, Emma Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available