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Moderation in Management Research

Question:

Discuss about the Moderation in Management Research.

Answer:

Introduction

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is a quality five-star hotel based in Singapore. Established in 1971, the hotel has 747 guestrooms and 127 service apartments (Yang, 2014). It mainly provides its customers with drinks, dines, meals and accommodation. There is a lot of competition in the hospitality and hotel industry due to many players (Yang, 2014). Therefore, customer satisfaction and retention are significant considerations for organisations that need to remain competitive in the industry.  However, there has been a problem of customers smoking in the guest rooms in this hotel, which affects other customers who do not appreciate the smoke and smell. The cleaning staff in this hotel have also complained that they spend more time cleaning the smoking rooms than non-smoking ones. This problem has resulted in low customer satisfaction, increased cleaning costs and reduced occupancy rates. Therefore, a successful solution would be geared towards eliminating smoking and smoking effects from the hotel rooms.

Shangri-La Hotel has 747 guestrooms where it offers friendly accommodation services to its visitors at affordable prices. Its primary objective is to win the trust of its visiting customers so that they may develop a preference for its services. Among the customers who visit this Resort, some are smokers, while others are non-smokers. However, there is no distinct smoking zone in this hotel. Furthermore, the smokers and non-smokers are allowed to book their rooms fairly without any discrimination.  There are no smoking signs along the corridors leading to the guest rooms and even inside the guest rooms. Perhaps this has encouraged smoking in the guestrooms and along the corridors. The non-smokers are adversely affected by this act as they cannot withstand the smell of cigarette smokes coming from the rooms boarded by smoking customers. The cleaners have also complained that they spend more time cleaning the smoking rooms due to the stains, smells, and figurate remains left in those rooms. The problem has therefore led to low customer satisfaction, increased cleaning costs and reduced occupancy rates.

As explained by Wood, Cogin & Beckmann (2009), defining a problem is the essential step, as a wrong definition may lead to the formulation of inappropriate solutions. The primary purpose of this stage is to gain a precise understanding of the problem to formulate an appropriate solution.

Customer satisfaction is a primary aim of any business. Therefore, for Shangri-La Hotel to be competitive, it must be able to provide satisfactory services to the customers so that it retains them. Various tools can be used in problem definition- 5Ws, PEST Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Value Chain Analysis and Root-cause Analysis (Park & Allen, 2013). In this essay, the SWOT analysis model and 5Ws questioning approach have been used. Ideally, the 5Ws technique tries to ask five questions- what, why, where, when and who in its attempt to clarify and redefine some features of a problem. Wood, Cogin & Beckmann (2009), insists that the primary benefit of using this approach is that it enables a problem solver to understand the underlying questions and the causes of the problem before jumping into a conclusion. The following table tries to evaluate the essential elements of the problem experienced at Shangri-La.


What

Low customer satisfaction, increased cleaning costs and reduced occupancy rates.

Where

Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore

When

During peak  and normal seasons

Who

The Customers (Hotel guests and tourists) and the guest room cleaners

Why

Customers, smoking in the guest rooms and corridors in this hotel, making the customers who do not appreciate the smoke and smell uncomfortable and the cleaners spending more time cleaning the smoking rooms.

Also, the SWOT Analysis model can be used to identify the problem. This is a model which evaluates the strengths, opportunities threats and weaknesses of an enterprise. As explained by Van-Aken & Berends (2018), it can be used to analyse the firm's past, current and future position. About Shangri-La Hotel, the SWOT analysis has been carried out and presented in the table below:


Strength

Weakness

  • Trained and kind staff
  • Clean, spacious and well-equipped guest rooms
  • Strong customer base
  • Strong reputation
  • Attractive location
  • Inability to enforce smoking regulations
  • Improper leadership
  • Poor customer feedback system
  • Failure to achieve cleaning staff motivation
  • Lack of cooperation among the staff members
  • Failure to develop a customer orientated management approach

Opportunities

Threat

  • Introduction of new services like catering
  • Access to loans for expansion
  • Install online booking of guest rooms

 

  • Competition from other hotels
  • Increasing costs of operations
  • Loss of customers
  • Reduced occupancy rates

By evaluating the 5Ws analysis and SWOT model of Shangri-La, we can deduce that the primary causes of the problem are improper leadership, inability to enforce smoking regulations and failure to maintain a motivated cleaning staff.

The above problems are related to customer satisfaction. Therefore, when generating the solution, the organisation should concentrate on improving its processes to reduce customer complaints and ensure the customers are as comfortable as possible. The above information established using a SWOT model can be used to establish a solution to minimise the threats and weaknesses and maximise the strengths and opportunities.

Wood, Cogin & Beckmann (2009) evaluates several approaches to solution generation. These approaches include Brainstorming, Fishbone Diagram, Mind Mapping, Brain-writing and Six Thinking Hats. To better generate the solution for the problem faced by Shangri-La, the fishbone diagram and brainstorming have been used.

Brainstorming encompasses making efforts to find a conclusion for a particular problem by gathering spontaneous opinions contributed by the members involved. This method encourages all the individuals affected by a scenario to generate and develop their ideas (Dennsis, Minas & Bhagwatwar, 2013). The figure below shows the brainstorming model for Shangri-La:


  • Singapore smoking regulations
  • Availability of smoking rooms
  • Customer interests
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Number of the smoking visitors

 

 

  • Smoking signs in the smoking rooms
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Information about smoking rooms
  • Smoking control

 

  • Complaints box
  • Suggestion box
  • Workers budgeting
  • Cost reduction
  • Feedback monitoring
  • Staff convenience

One of the advantages of brainstorming is that it enables generation of many ideas, by allowing every member to participate. However, this results in a production of a lot of ideas without any quality controls (Myatt, 2011). Therefore, some ideas may be irrelevant to the problem in question. The Fishbone Model can, therefore, be used to obtain a clear picture of the cause and effects of a problem (Proctor, Powell & McMillan, 2013). In this essay, the fishbone diagram, have been developed to present the picture of the cause and effect of the problems faced by Shangri-La Hotel.

By using the Fishbone diagram and Brainstorming, it is easy to establish the factors within each class that contribute to the problem in question. From the above Fishbone diagram, it is apparent that the most likely causes of reduced occupancy levels, high cleaning costs and low customer satisfaction due to smells coming out of the smoking rooms, is the inability of the Hotel to establish smoking signs in the smoking rooms and the corridors, respond adequately to customers’ and cleaners’ complaints and enforce smoking regulations to govern smoking within the hotel premises.

In summary, the leading causes of reduced occupancy rates, high cleaning costs and low customer satisfaction is the cigarette smells from the smoking rooms which affect the non-smoking occupants and make it difficult for the cleaners to keep such rooms clean. The organisation has continued to face these problems due to three primary reasons- Lack of smoking signs in the smoking rooms and corridors, inability to regulate smoking within the hotel premises, and lack of proper channels to respond adequately to the complaints presented by the cleaning staff and the customers.

The specific impacts of the above problem include reduced occupancy rates as a result of the smell from the smoking rooms, low customer satisfaction as some customers are adversely affected by the cigarette smells and increased cleaning costs caused by the demand of the cleaners to be paid more to clean the smoking rooms.

Wood, Cogin & Beckmann (2009), explains that the primary aim of solution evaluation is to outline the alternative solutions available for a problem alongside their long and short-term effectiveness in helping the organisation to achieve its desired objectives. The major tools that can be used to evaluate alternative solutions to a problem entail Elimination and Ranking, Screening matrix, categorisation, and Affinity Diagram, Pareto Analysis and Decision matrix (Lehr, 2015). To conduct a precise solution evaluation, in this essay, the Affinity Diagram has been used.

An Affinity Diagram is a model that collects vast amounts of ideas, issues and opinions and arranges them into groups based on their nature of relationships. This tool is mostly used to organise ideas generated from brainstorming into groups (Harrison & Lock, 2017). In this assignment, the Affinity diagram has been used to group the ideas generated through brainstorming (figure 3) and SWOT analysis (figure 2) (opportunities section).

Going by the above alternatives, one of the solutions can be implemented. However, this mainly depends on the availability of funds and time (Das & Baruah, 2013). There must also be an adequate human resource and other resources to ensure the best alternative is successfully implemented.

Solution implementation encompasses planning and executing the steps required to install the proposed solution for the problem. According to Harrington (201), implementation is the process of putting the best alternative solution into action. It is the last stage of the problem-solving process. The relevant tools that may aid a successful solution implementation are ‘How-How’ Diagram, Force Field Analysis and What If Scenarios.  In this essay, Force Field Analysis have been used.

The force field analysis presents two kinds of forces- the driving and the restraining forces. The driving forces aid the organisation to achieve change while the restraining forces tend to oppose the change. This tool can be used to implement the change at Shangri-La Hotel as illustrated below: (The forces have been ranked from 1- 10. The stronger the force, the higher the value)

When the customers feel that the products and services they receive from an organisation are non-satisfactory, they may shift to other companies. Customer retention is a primary consideration for every company that wants to develop a strong. Therefore, the hotel should enforce regulations to control smoking in the hotel premises. It can do this by ensuring that the non-smokers are allocated to the non-smoking rooms, and the smokers are allocated to the smoking rooms. Also, it should formulate policies to prevent careless smoking along the guestroom corridors. The management should also implement an awareness program to inform the customers and the employees about the new regulations as shown in the following implementation plan:

Objective: To formulate new regulations to control smoking in the hotel premises and to create awareness to the employees and the customers about the new policies.

Start and End Date: 20th April 2018- 30th June 2018

Budget: 1000 US dollars for consultation fees and other miscellaneous expenses.

Communication by: Operations Manager

Communication to: Customers and the cleaning staff.

Steps Involved:

Step 1

Assessing the policy changes

Step 2

Establishing theoretical knowledge of the changes

Step 3

Practical testing of the policy changes

Step 4

Creating awareness of the changes

Step 5

Assessment and feedback

Step 6

Responding complaints about the change

Step 7

Building commitment to the change

Conclusion

In conclusion, after analysing the problem faced by Shangri-La Hotel, I have used 5Ws technique, SWOT model for defining the problem and Fishbone Diagram and Brainstorming for generating the solution. I have also utilized the Affinity Diagram to analyze the alternative solutions and Force Filed analysis to implement the best solution. Furthermore, I have identified the primary problems as loss of customer satisfaction, reduced occupancy rates and increased cleaning costs caused by careless smoking in the hotel premises. Therefore, the operational manager of the hotel can implement the suggested solution and the action plan to help solve these problems.

References

Das, B. L., & Baruah, M. (2013). Employee Retention: A Review of Literature. Journal of Business and Management, 14(2), 8-16.

Dawson, J. F. (2014). Moderation in Management Research: What, Why, When, and How. Journal Of Business and Psychology, 29(1), 1-19.

Dennis, A. R., Minas, R. K., & Bhagwatwar, A. P. (2013). Sparking Creativity: Improving Electronic Brainstorming with Individual Cognitive Priming. Journal of Management Information Systems, 29(4), 195-216.

Harrington, H. J. (2016). Force Field Analysis. The Innovation Tools Handbook, Volume 2 (Pp.129-138). Productivity Press.

Harrison, F., & Lock, D. (2017). Advanced Project Management: A Structured Approach. Routledge.

Lehr, D. D. (2015). An Analysis of the Changing Competitive Landscape in the Hotel Industry Regarding Airbnb.

Myatt, M. (2011, October 24). 12 Ways to Spot Ineffective Leadership. N2growth. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.n2growth.com/blog/6-traits-of-ineffective-leaders/

Park, S. Y., & Allen, J. P. (2013). Responding to Online Reviews: Problem Solving and Engagement in Hotels. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(1), 64-73.

Proctor, E. K., Powell, B. J., & MacMillan, J. C. (2013). Implementation Strategies: Recommendations for Specifying and Reporting. Implementation Science, 8(1), 139.

Van Aken, J. E., & Berends, H. (2018). Problem Solving in Organizations. Cambridge University Press.

Wood, R. E., Cogin, J., & Beckmann, J. (2009). Managerial Problem Solving: Frameworks, Tools, Techniques. Mcgraw-Hill Higher Education.

Yang, H. P. S. (2014). Case Study 12: Shangri-La Hotels Expanding to Non-Asian Markets. Marketing Casesfrom Emerging Markets (Pp. 113-116). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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