Title

Self-directed learning in the hospitality industry

Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

John R. Rachal

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether significant relationships exist among the variables of self-efficacy, personal characteristics, and the self-directed learning readiness of employees in the hospitality industry. The examination of self efficacy and personal characteristics that influence the self-directed learning readiness of employees provides the basis for the study. As rapid increases in technology continue to transform the hospitality industry, many organizations are implementing self-service strategies for their customers and employees. This study focuses on the impact of self-service technology and the significant relationships impacting the self-directed learning readiness of employees in hospitality organizations. The convenience sample consisted of 212 employees from three hospitality organizations. A survey questionnaire was administered to the employees of the participating organizations to gather data on their self-directed learning readiness, generalized self-efficacy, personal characteristics, demographics, and technology expertise. The results of this study indicated that self-efficacy was the most highly correlated variable to the self-directed learning readiness of employees and provided the greatest significant contribution among the five variables that entered into the stepwise multiple linear regression model. As hospitality organizations continue to implement technology with self-service processes, the level of self-directed learning readiness of participants should be considered. Levels of self-directed learning readiness differ among participants, and self-efficacy, as reported in the findings of this study and related literature, have a statistically significant relationship to the self-directed learning readiness of employees. Future research should consider other variables that are precisely defined to identify significant relationships and to predict levels of self-directed learning readiness of participants. Furthermore, opportunities exist to develop a self-directed learning readiness instrument specifically designed for the hospitality industry that builds on the success of existing self-directed learning readiness instruments. As the hospitality industry continues to rapidly evolve with self-service strategies, an efficient, practical self-directed learning readiness instrument may strengthen the ability of an organization to adapt to change. Examining the self-directed learning readiness of employees also provides opportunities to develop specialized succession planning programs for the hospitality industry.