I haven’t been in London since 1993. And it has changed just like everywhere else. Seems more claustrophobic then I remember. The skyline is a chessboard of old and new buildings. A host more glass and steel structures that I like and not.
Maybe those old memories are now regulated to the depths of my subconscious. Transformed into veiled illusions. Snippets to be recalled for comparisons.
Last month, September marked module two in our study abroad program. I facilitated the learning of our introduction to tourism class. There we learned the breadth and depth of tourism, some of the most important concepts and theories. Stressing how important it is that we in the industry craft a memorable experience.
Only a few memories stand out from my first visit to London. A nice chap that did our
tour of the Tower. He wasn’t one of the Beef Eaters, but a tour guide with a black bowler and black coat. That is all I remember, except the crows and some of the tower itself. I know I saw the crown jewels, but can’t recall individual pieces. Sparkle, nothing more.
Returning this past fall, it is like a bright shiny penny. All new and glistening, beckoning to be claimed. I set out for traitor’s gate, then the medieval apartments, and finally the White Tower to see the armor and examples of weaponry. All for research and references for my writing. And it struck me how tourist have changed. How behavior has changed.
Everyone jockeying for that perfect position for a selfie. Navigating through the apartments with several tour groups, wall to wall people. I don’t remember it being this crowded last time. Definitely not the technology. Back then it was analog, or SLRs, no cell phones or DLSR.
This time it was about movement. Moving quickly through the landscape, gain as much information as possible before moving on to the next. I was caught up when I wanted to spend hours. Hours to examine and study, both cultural assets and the people who populated the attraction. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t enjoy the Tower as I wanted, caught up in the flurry. Move, move, move and move again.
Tourism has changed in the last twenty-five years.
Do tourist really see what they are looking at? Do they know their history or the meaning behind the attraction? Do they take the time in the place to understand and talk to the guides? Do they appreciate what they are viewing? How important the structure is to our cultural heritage, our past, our present and our future? Or has these attractions come to mean something else?
That is what I cover in module 3–tourism, culture and place. Tourism’s effect/affect on destination, the host-guest relationship and their impact on place. Cultural tourism is one of the reasons people travel to places. It pulls and tugs at you to make a choice, and move. It may be the only reason. For instance, ancestral tourism. The want and need to find those places associated with our ancestors, our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. Answers the age-old question–Where do we come from? Who are we? What were they like?
Concepts discussed include authenticity, culture, identity, place, place attachment, place dependency, sense of self, sense of belonging, etc. A lot to cover in just three and half weeks. I traveled to London for two reasons, well three. I wanted to see the city again and what it looked like now. I wanted to visit key heritage sites for my writing research, and finally, I wanted to see the places associated with my genealogy research. The Tower is just one because I have may or may not have a link back to William the Conqueror (apparently my 27th Great Grandfather).
So, London holds this place of interest for me now. Or maybe it is the type of place. Not just the destination. Maybe my choices, my needs and wants have shifted to something more. It happens throughout our lifetime. I see London in a different light. Every trip will be different because of the variety of choices. But the mainstay for me at least is the history in one form or another. The cultural heritage of the place.
We are discussing motivation in class this week. The big question asked, and attempting to answer is–Why do we/I travel? What impetus spurs me to leave the familiar, my home, and wander out into something different? Why have I always wanted to explore and discover? Get lost, escape from humanity and the built places of society? Why do others? Why do I or others strive to find that place for quiet contemplation or exhilarating thrills? Why?
There are a host of tourism and psychological concepts that deal with trying to answer these questions. But to really understand, I need to dig deep within myself. I need as a researcher, or operations manager, or those working alongside our industry, to ask the right questions. We need to get to the heart of something that might not be fully articulated. Fully realized or explained. Most times we will get straight-laced answers, but other times, not. There is the mystique about travel. There is still some form of mystery in the process.
Life is about experiences. A bundle of moments in time that define our lives. They have various forms of risk, levels of excitement. Some are more poignant than others. They leave more than a mark; they change us. They let us see the world in all its various colorful shades. The good and the nasty. The subliminal, cerebral, the intellectual, and the balanced, the physical, concrete. It helps us reach that inner psyche when other tasks might not uncover such breadth or depth.
Tourism and its processes suffuse the different layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Pearce’s travel ladder goes beyond that original work and takes it to the next level.
And yet, we are still left with a host of questions to answer.
Maybe life is about questions and subsequently learning. Rings true for that old cliché. Tourism opens the doors, even if it is just a jaunt across town to familiar places with family and friends.
That interaction is an opportunity to uncover those layers through moments of interaction. We travel to find new relationships, to strengthen existing ones. Not just with other persons, but the land in which we inhabit. To create or renew that relationship with a place.
It is complicated, and I don’t think I will ever have a true answer. But that is okay. At least, I’m asking the questions.
We don’t live in a “box”. Life Moves at a pretty fast pace around us. Life is about movement and change. Organizations are organic, living and breathing entities. Therefore, change is inevitable.
Constant is never guaranteed, even with steadfast core values and behaviors. Just as nothing in life is guaranteed. Core values are a foundation, but that doesn’t mean the house can’t change over the years of existence.
One day even that foundation may crumble and erode away.
The box isn’t permanent. Some days, I don’t think any one item has permanency. There is an end point.
The other day here in the department, one my colleagues was roaming around testing us if we remember the ‘Tab’ drink and the jingle. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember the music, but I do remember that ugly old can and awful aftertaste. Not many could remember the jingle. Just one of those lighthearted moments to break up a stressful day. Illustrates a good point. Somethings in life stay with you, others don’t.
Tab isn’t around any more. Products have a shelf life. Most do. A product life cycle.
Everything has a life cycle, even tenure on this planet.
So, what is left behind? A moment. A memory. An experience. An interaction. An action.
Experiences, interactions, take hold in the consciousness and remain. Some stronger than others. Hence, if organizations are living, breathing structures they thus have a complex ‘personality’. A complex matrix of interwoven personalities.
Life isn’t breathed into a company until you add the human element. Or is it that founder, that person with the original idea that is exerting their personality over others? So, maybe then this goes to the development of that mission and vision statements. That are supposed to articulate the personality, the core values of a company.
Therefore, I question if we assimilate the personality of organizations into our own core values. Or our own values present and melded together with the companies. Threads of commonality. (Chicken and egg debate?)
Sort of like leadership. What is leadership?
Leaders are ahead of us, beside us, with us that we might not even know we have commonality, and are behind.
Behind us–because we as employees and managers are so innovative and creative, so forward thinking, we are head of the company thinking. We have ‘progressive thoughts’. The child has far exceeded the parent.
From past experience, I can tell you that several work places did not have my same common core values, and I would never take up their value system. I had more integrity than that. My integrity was more important. So, which is more important organizational cultural values or your own? Hints at acculturation conflict. Is that the point you know, that this job won’t work out and it is time to find other boxes to inhabit?
So, how do we work with a variety of cultures, even our own work system. How do we navigate such waters?
How do we keep the workplace from becoming a stagnate pool of water?
As I reread our book, I am caught between reality and the body of knowledge presented in the book. This is nothing against the writers or their work, but I, as researcher, have been trained to question everything I read. I critically analyze. I study the craft of writing from different angles. I study the world in which I live. And that life has two different paths, professional and personal. I study human behavior. I study.
Just as you should. You should develop your independent thinking skills and do not take anything at face value without thorough examination. And just make sure you back up your opinions or conclusions with factual information or other peer-reviewed evidence. The book is a good example of how they have used a body of knowledge to support their hypotheses.
Recognize that you will have an emotional reaction to what we read before we sit down and critically analyze. And I was having one of those moments. My emotional inner self was boxing it out with my rational side.
The questions that arose and keeps pinging around in my brain are about organizational culture…p. 19 to be exact.
Typically, employees incorporate organizational values into their own value systems and prioritize them in terms of their relative importance as guiding principles (Rokeach, 1973 as quoted by Kersten and La Venture).
I had flippant remark tingling my lips after reading this. I took a breath and realized my mistake. This is 1973 thinking. I was a teenager back then.
I have to remember–1973 mode of thinking about organizations and culture was far different from today. Just as 1950s culture is different from today. Just as 1920 is different…conundrum potentially averted. It is not that we don’t have commonality among generations, that we don’t all celebrate and suffer the same given life’s little nuances. Okay, example. 1920s saw the evolution of dress for women. Hemlines went up. Every older generation was suffering apoplectic moments. Fast forward to 1940s and the first vestiges of the bikini. Get the drift.
Let’s return to that resource. I don’t think I have ever incorporated the complete organization’s cultural values into my own core values. I had established core values and looked for common ground, commonality. I’m not a blank slate when I step through the doors of any company. No one is and we come toting our own baggage, good and bad.
The word conformity doesn’t exist in my nomenclature, but I have to be honest–I do conform. I loathe the word. It exists and I will give it its voice, but I hate it like I hate blue cheese. (I know, not everyone hates blue cheese.) Everyone approaches life in their own manner. Different points of reality and so forth. But if I’m sitting in my favorite pub and everyone is having buffalo wings with blue cheese, and I’m the only one ordering ranch, that should tell me something. How can I use this example to illustrate my point?
Get back to that point!
Yes, conformity and routine kill innovation and creativity. So, can the mission and vision of a company that doesn’t evaluate and test their values. As I said earlier, companies disintegrate, erode away without seeing how all the parts of a company work together, especially the human element.
What I like about Marriott is that they do articulate their values. But do we just see the bright and shiny? Why don’t we talk about the plausible cracks and holes in the system? Those employees that fail and fall through those cracks. Those that pack their bags and leave? Who created those cracks in the fist place?
Is that then an organizational cultural failure?
Then who is to blame?
Who sets the standards on which to judge?
The benchmark on which to measure?
No two people learn the same. No two people work, manage the same. No two people are alike.
No two people are motivated to work the same.
Can a value system still be weak and work?
Can a value system be too strong, and thus rigid to stifle creativity?
See my problem…I’ve got a host of questions running through my mind.
Therefore, there has to be some form of commitment between parties. There has to be a mutually beneficial contract that allows for individual identity and commonality.
This can lead into further discussions about innovative culture and positive organizational scholarship.
Attractions have a lot of complicated parts, both intangible and tangible. They have a wider impact that many realize. A whole mess of questions in a complicated world.
Attractions evolve from the three environments: socio-cultural, economic, and physical (natural and man-made). They take many forms and trying to define them can be a delicate journey. They are a composite of activities that the tourist can partake in and use. Attractions can ‘attract’ a host of visitors, but more than likely it is not homogeneous. Something that can’t be generalized across all markets. More than likely, a niche market will be their primary source of revenues.
Motivation is tricky to decipher and study. The reasons drawing, pushing and pulling tourist to a site is as particular to one person as another. Case in point my mother and our annual trips to historic sites. Deep down I don’t think she liked visiting Williamsburg or Gettysburg or other historical site. I don’t know. She’s never been a fan of hot weather, preferring spring and fall for travel. The beach to the oppressive heat and humidity of the countryside. Maybe I don’t know what she likes. And therein lies the conundrum of tourist researchers. Do we know who our visitors are, and what they like? Do we really know what attractions to build or create for tourists?
Attractions have many purposes. They are a composite of a host of activities and services that cater to a varied population of tourists. Take away any resource within that matrix of services and the system fragments. That fragmentation can be induced by tourist as well as the industry itself. Attractions are part of a greater value chain.
Take away one and suffering occurs. Take away the primary reason for tourist to visit, and the whole system suffers. The impacts are far-reaching. The multiplier effect drops in function and revenues do not circulate through the many layers.
Once an attraction changes, matures, stagnates or declines, tourist motivations will shift and change. They will choose something else. And then the area in which it is embedded spirals downward and declines. And unless this erosion is stopped, halted, the host community will continue to suffer. There will be no reason to go to the area. Thus, schools can’t be built or remodeled, hospitals will close, services will pull out of the area leaving a shell of a community.
I’ve seen it first hand. My hometown in Pennsylvania suffers from the decline and closure of industry. Relying on tourism for most of its dollars.
Johnstown, PA is an old town, settled in 1770. The only reason people would have a reason to visit there now is because of a natural disaster back in 1889. The Great Flood was the largest man-made disaster up until 9/11. The event killed 2200+ people and leveled the prosperous steel town. Now, since steel has pulled out, the city is a shell of its former self. Still a beautiful place to live, but survival hinges on the National Monument to the Flood as well as several key events throughout the year.
Thunder in the Valley is a motorcycle rally that happens every June. Last year, 2016 was one of the best turnouts because of the beautiful weather and increase in services available. As reported in the Tribune:
When the weather cooperates, the four-day event has drawn as many as 200,000 people to the area – and this weekend was likely no exception, said Lisa Rager, executive director of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
That is a lot of people traveling to a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania for three or more days. To a town that has limited resources to host 200,000 people over three days. Maybe it does. Maybe I don’t know the exact carrying capacity of the area or the extent of services. Yet, think of the revenues generated from a host of sources. How many jobs are created just for that weekend? How much revenue is generated from event sales? And then that revenue is circulated through the community.
Therefore, attractions are classified as something that generates some form of revenue. They sell an entrance fee or cluster a host of services around it to generate revenue. Take it away and revenues are lost. Some people do not understand that concept. What the community loses.
And sometimes that happens when motivations shift over time and choice is directed elsewhere.
Sometimes we lose attractions through other means. How will the Caribbean rebuild after the devastating hurricanes? How much will the islands alone lose from the loss of cruise ship revenues? A host of questions.
A loss of revenue for the catchment area means a loss of revenues to circulate through the system. A loss of future development. Attractions can be the reason some businesses are drawn to the area. This past summer I was at home during the annual Thunder. One of my favorite motorcycle companies had heard about Thunder and was making its first appearance.
Ducati had come to town. I would have loved to have visited the Rally but personal plans got in the way. Yet, with such a famous brand drawn to this event, others followed. The weather dampened the festival for the first day, but more than made up for it the last two, giving Ducati and others the chance to showcase their products. I’m sure Harley Davidson enjoyed the friendly competition. Throughout the 19 years this event has been held in Johnstown, it has evolved to what it is today. An attraction that is just not for bikers. It caters to a host of different types of tourists. And that is important if the event is to continue.
I try not to be political in class or here. But I can’t go without addressing certain issues effecting tourism today. The destruction of certain attractions must be discussed if we are having an honest conversation about tourism. The recent destruction of Civil War Monuments and the potential for more changes in that landscape. Try to see and envision all sides. Try to understand the impacts of all points of reality. The total effect this has on the host community.
Tourism has a history. Tourism exist in time and space. The reasons for attractions and construction of attractions is particular to each stakeholder given that time and space. The reasons for travel have varied through the generations that have engaged in the activity. It has its positive and negative connotations. Good and bad. The tourism landscape has countless stories to tell to explain the history of civilization. Tourism is an action and behavior. Tourists engage with a variety of landscapes. Host communities rely on tourists for revenues. If the main reason for travel is gone, people will shift their actions and behaviors. They will go elsewhere.
We are all stewards of this landscape. This landscape needs all sides to understand the implications to all three environments and participants. All voices must be heard and considered.
A host of questions must be asked before action is taken. We must be sympathetic and empathetic to the multiplier effect. And the multiplier effect is not just revenues any more. It is more. Again, I stress that all voices must be heard and considered.
We have a host of authors within our book by Kersten and La Venture 1 that exposes the various definitions of organizational culture. There is a theme that emerges based on shared core values, beliefs, and principles. This hints at behavior and how that behavior is communicated to a greater audience (p. 2-3). That behavior exists within and outwit the company. It governs the day-to-day operations and the lives that work within that community. Yes, a community. Marriott views their associates as a greater family.
Yet, as I decipher these words, I am left with one thought, one word. Service. Servant leadership is a common phrase we hear about the university, and incorporate it in our culture.
The definitions of organizational culture are incomplete without the inclusion of servant leadership or service.
You may be thinking: But it is all apart of that definition, when you argue for that commonality of themes within organizational culture.
Yes, and no.
Service is inter-woven and stands alone. Why? Maybe it should be the overriding concept? See still in a heated debate.
Maybe if we address behavior. Behavior is action. Behavior is developed with immersion with in a unique place. That place has three environments–physical landscape (natural/man-made environment), economic and socio-cultural. Everyone is a product of their own three environments. A host of variables will define those environments and shape how your beliefs are formed from the roots of those variables. Core values remain, but the breadth and depth of those values shifts and adapts, matures and grows over time. Some of those core values will stick with you and others you will shed with maturity, personal growth and reflection.
You bring these dynamics into any company.
Each individual of a society makes up the culture. I am getting away from service and need to bring it back. We will get to culture shortly.
Warning, service has a broad definition. For this argument, service is the want to do something for someone else. Not just because we have to, but because we want to. It is the right thing to do. We have within our hearts the want to help. And that does have its hang ups. We are after all human and considerably flawed.
Some have this ability to help more than others. They have this innate compassion to such a degree that it is second nature. No questions are asked. Deep down we all do, but we are stymied by our own fears.
That is why I want to call it a service heart. Some would label it as the heart of service. But several colleagues and I have been gnashing on changing that. I’m sure that phrase has been around for a bit. And anyone can develop a service heart.
We have come to that conclusion that that phrase incorporates those core values. In tourism, we have a lot of choice in products. Some similar, some different. What creates competitive advantage now and in the future will be the service. The human element. People will want to return because of the people helping them fulfill their expectations. Because we want them to return ‘home’ to us again and again. Thus, our behavior is paramount to fulfilling the expectations of our stakeholders. All of them.
So, at the heart of organization is a culture. We should hold commonality, without the lost of identity. That is something that isn’t really articulated within our first readings. Identity. We each bring our own sense of self to the work environment. I have posed this question before. How do we retain our own sense of self in a workplace that may or may not have the same common values as our own. Today, we are seeing disparity in our society. Not all of us possess the same beliefs. We have our own unique cultural attributes that we bring into a workplace. How do we mesh this divergence? Some are not always the same. Should we or should we not ask people to change that culture to conform (shudder) to that workplace culture? Do the mission and vision of a company posses the flexibility to handle various cultural nuances?
Acculturation exists in tourism. Simply defined, it is the moment when two or more cultures meet and something happens. You can either have assimilation of one culture with another. Yes, there may or may not be dominance of one over another. The second may be nothing happens. Or friction. There is too much difference that problems occur. Could we now extend this concept into the workplace because of the diverse backgrounds of our employees.
So, maybe I should hint at diversity. Diversity, in its simplest terms, is about the difference in a workplace. It identifies that difference and should be embraced. We can all contribute to our workplace. Yet, the definition is limiting to us in trying to understand that difference and how to handle it. It doesn’t get to the heart of everything. It doesn’t offer strategies. Laws aren’t strategies. There is still some mysticism with diversity. If we extend diversity and marry it with the concept of cultural intelligence, especially when working in a global world, we can develop strategies and broader, better behaviors to handle that diversity. Remember these are my interpretations of my own readings and research. Don’t take it as face value. What kind of Socratic professor would I be, if I didn’t ask you to think for yourself. Read, digest, understand and reflect.
Culture today is so much greater, broader in definition than what some might think.
This is when I tell you that I hate definitions. I think they are limiting. I don’t think they encompass the expanse of variety that exists. Yes, we need a foundation on which to start. But how many of us stop and do not explore the many layers, the breadth and depth of those definitions. Culture is one of those definitions. That is why later on in the semester we will be examining Cultural Intelligence.
The discussion continues…
1. Kersten, J., La Venture, Kelly, Lui, Katherine E. Welch, & Cervenka, Debbie. (2015). The human factor to profitability : Building a people-centered culture for long-term success / Jeanette Kersten, EdD, SPHR, and Kelly La Venture, EdD ; with a foreword by Kat Lui, PhD, and Debbie Cervenka. (First ed.).
Perhaps, our discussion on PPC should begin with trying to define the concept of organizational culture. Heck, we could use this for all of my classes as well, because inherent within each course should be an understanding of organizations, culture, leadership and so forth.
After reading and researching about PPC in preparation for my interview for the Chair position, I found common threads of thought in one big giant quilt. It’s complicated and intricate. One step at a time.
With every body of knowledge, there is a history. A host of people contributing to a greater whole. No one has the cornerstone on that history. Each company, industry, person has an experience, and what emerges from that history are common practices and theories. The line of thought, if you research your own companies as I have asked, may have shades of PPC within it already. If you want to be an effective leader, you need to research other companies within and outwit your own career aspirations. You need to study people and processes. Become a avid reader!
Over the course of history, organizations have viewed work in various forms. I’m not going to rehash that history, but know that owners, leaders, supervisors, companies, etc, have all viewed organizational culture from different vantage points. Different points of reality. Good and bad.
A company can be broken down into two aspects. Tangible and intangible. Products and people.
Organizational culture is about studying the dynamics of the people within an organization. How they get things down. How they deliver on promises. How they work together to achieve objectives for a broader goal.
How do organizations value their people and those that complete tasks. What is rewards? How do people value each other and the job they do. Value takes on a whole new meaning.
Lui and Cervenka in Kersten and La Venture (2015, p. vii)1 lend credit to the argument that all people, employees, and associates have an ‘intrinsic value’. Simply put, what Bob Cervenka, as reported in Kersten and Laventure, stipulated that success hinges on the people of any organization. It’s true. Walt Disney knew back in 1950s that his vision of an amusement park wouldn’t be a success without the ‘cast’ members doing their part to create the illusion. He wouldn’t be able to develop cutting edge rides without pushing the imagineers to do their best. Even when such processes hadn’t been invented (think animatronics). Yet, Epcot in Disney World, the last project that Walt helped to design, almost didn’t get built because of Disney’s untimely death. He had a certain vision and shared most of that vision with his employees. It wasn’t enough just to share that information.
Lui and Cervenka stress that information is a key variable that must be shared. Thus, the root of success is about communication. But is that the complete picture?
Information has two sides. Tangible and intangible. Seen and not. Information is one of the drivers of the tourism industry, besides money and promises. At any time during the process, the dynamic function that is tourism, information can be accessed and used by any and all stakeholders. It is something that is always being created, and utilized to create or do something. Communication is a constant action, but not always part of the process. Yes, information can be assumed. Misdirection can occur.
Yet, what about innovation and creativity. It isn’t just about information sharing, well-being, and communication (p. viii). Disney had a creative mindset. He fostered creativity and innovation. Innovation is dynamic. Organizations must be adaptable to internal and external stimuli. Organizations are organic, active entities, constantly churning and thinking. If they don’t, they will stagnate. If they do not step out of that stagnation moment, reinvent, rejuvenate in some form, they will die within the product life cycle.
Disney did have one flaw. The total communication of his ideas. Much was left unsaid at the end. His unique energy died with him. Many have said he was the driving force behind the concepts, the force to get projects down. He saw beyond the walls, beyond the confines of a theme park and married a host of threads together. Not many can do what he did. Steve Jobs couldn’t. Bill Gates can’t.
Once Disney was gone, uncertainty set in and the value of the Disney brand suffered. Disney created a competitive advantage above other similar products because of his unique, innovative methods of park management. The energy fizzled out for a time being, and they realized that they couldn’t really execute Epcot as Walt desired. They had to go back to the drawing board because of the dynamic nature of creation. Therefore, there has to be some legacy of that vision. Yet, a mainstay for Disney as well as other companies has been well established core values. A mission and vision to set a foundation.
So, it is not just an investment in a product but the people behind that product. It is an investment of time in developing relationships with all stakeholders as well as their creative abilities (yes, even customers). Everyone can contribute. Just look at the Ritz Carlton brand. They empower their employees to make decision that will affect customer service by giving them a monetary stipend to handle guest complaints. Managers and other senior leaders hope it never gets to that complaint level with the idea of training ‘ladies and gentlemen’ to serve ‘ladies and gentlemen’. I argue then that I want all of my employees to take an active part in helping my customers and all my stakeholders craft their experience. So a host of variables must be articulated and identified in order to have well function culture.
The aforementioned authors discuss trust. Any relationship is built on trust. In tourism, we call these “moments of truth”. And not just from a customer standpoint. Moments of truth are built on promises, articulated and not. We are making a ‘contract’ with our stakeholders. We promise to give them something for a return on that promise. More than just information. More than just money in a paycheck. We are establish physical, psychological and social dynamic exchange. Competition to hire and retain talent has been the bane of most industries, especially in tourism. Bloome, Van Rheede and Tromp (2013) highlight the hardships within the hospitality sector of the tourism industry in the retention of ideal employees. Psychological contracts are just as important as other forms. Expectations before, during and after hiring have to be addressed 2. How do we set a value on our employees? How do we know how much their worth? Lui and Cervenka hint at this established with compensation. Yet, they fail to recognize the factor that value happens well before hiring that employee that Bloome, Van Rheede and Tromp conclude. Companies need to take an active participation in the education of potential employees. The people process culture is an extension beyond the confines of a firm, but to the society in which it operates. Not after the fact, before. Proactive, not reactive. Not result focus entirely, but before that point.
Do not limit the power of benefit. So, this may be an argument for the power of potentiality. How do we put a value on potential?
Too long we have looked for a means to an end. We are waiting for something to happen. We have to look before that point. We have to recognize the action-reaction-result loop. That for every action there is a reaction that leads to a result. Those actions happen at any time. A proactive stance in business in all of its processes may or may not aid you in developing a strong, organic structure.
So we must understand all of our stakeholders at any time in the given dynamic world that is our organization.
Culture is yet to be defined and that is for next time.
1. Kersten, J., La Venture, Kelly, Lui, Katherine E. Welch, & Cervenka, Debbie. (2015). The human factor to profitability : Building a people-centered culture for long-term success / Jeanette Kersten, EdD, SPHR, and Kelly La Venture, EdD ; with a foreword by Kat Lui, PhD, and Debbie Cervenka. (First ed.).
2. Blomme, R., Van Rheede, A., & Tromp, D. (2009). The hospitality industry: an attractive employer? An exploration of students’ and industry workers’ perceptions of hospitality as a career field. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 21(2), 6-14. doi:10.1080/10963758.2009.10696939
I have lived in a host of different cities, states and one country. The depth of knowledge about those locations various with experience. I love to get out and talk to people, and I’ve met some interesting people along the way. I love to explore and more than likely will get lost. I always find my way back. Every experiences brings a whole new set of learning.
Another year is upon us here at Stout, and I’m teaching Development of Tourism Attractions, Convention Meeting Planning and People Process Culture. The former course expands and expounds on concepts learned in the Principles of Tourism, extending it into the heart of the three environments–socio-cultural, economic and natural/man-made as well motivation, and planning.
It peels back the layers of tourism. Tourism is an act of doing something and depends on the viewpoint in which you view it or peel back the layers. There are tangible and intangible elements that are part of this dynamic process, and we need to know why some destinations and their attractions are more successful than others. As leaders or managers of the future, we will be part of that success and/or failure. What we do, when we do it, could be a defining moment. (For those of you in tourism, remember the mantra.)
At the heart of any attraction is a motivation.
Echoes of those reasons why people travel to a destination and its attractions, percolates through my mind, and I’m sure others.
“Something I always wanted to see.”
“It is on my bucket list.”
But that is from a customer point of view. What about the others?
Why did Disney decide to buy up a large mass of swamp land and orange groves in the middle of Florida to create Disney World?
Why place it there? Why create something in the middle of no where, and hope that people come?
Begs the question posed in A Field of Dreams: “If you build it, will them come?”
The process of building attractions is long and arduous. It takes time to build attractions from concept of the idea to opening. Disney World was conceived as a supplement to Disneyland in 1955 and opened in 1971. During that time of development, Walt Disney died unexpectantly in 1966. Disney World and especially Epcot could have died right there on the table. But it didn’t, and more on that later. Yet, that is a long time for an attraction to be built. Some rise in less time, and close just as fast. The Internet is peppered with a host of attractions that opened and closed quickly because they couldn’t sustain numbers or creativity. Walt Disney World has several areas that have been closed and abandoned because they weren’t as popular as they once were.
So, this hints at one aspect of motivation and decision-making.
Even leadership (Waves at my PPC group, bringing them into the conversation).
Your stakeholder’s needs change over time. All of them.
But who are your stakeholders you ask, besides customers.
Employees (all levels)
Others (that arm-chair traveler that hasn’t even made a decision yet, but is bombarded with a mountains of information both by word of mouth, and through other distribution channels and has an interest)
Their needs and wants will change over time as their lives change. It can be short or long-term.
Disney World’s Epcot Center is now going through a major renovation. The original vision of Epcot is a far cry than what Walt had in mind. That vision was transformed because he wasn’t there and those that came after, nixed it in the butt. Roy Disney, his brother, wasn’t the creative genius that Walt was and deferred to others. If you read any books about Walt’s life and his company, his creative style and visions were a prime directive for the company. To lose someone so young in their mid-60s, without a concrete succession plan, will have far reaching effects on the company. And it did.
An attraction is just a structure. An idea.
People make it come to life.
People are the resource that propel it into the future.
Even destinations and their success depends on the people who manage it, work within the boundaries, and even visit.
So, this then suggest a management/educational journey down two different paths.
At times these paths, one of tangible origins and one of intangible, coalesce and merge. At other times, they run parallel. And during times of stress, anxiety, and erosion, diverge.
So, we are at the precipice. On top of the mountain and have a vista to explore. We can see the concrete but the human element is clouded in degrees of mystery.