Culture and service predisposition among hospitality students in Switzerland and Scotland
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Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to investigate the impact of ethnic/national culture on service predisposition, using Lee-Ross's Service Predisposition (SP) Survey, plus items from Hofstede's IBM attitudes survey and from the Chinese Values Survey. Design/methodology/approach - The sample consisted of international students studying hospitality management at two hotel schools in Switzerland and one in Scotland. The questionnaire was administered to all who had recently completed an internship as part of their programme of study. The two Swiss schools produced 179 usable questionnaires and the Scottish school, 98. Thus data were obtained from students from many different nationalities, and effects due to differences in organisational culture or teaching methods were controlled. Findings - Significant relationships were found between the SP components and the Chinese value dimensions. The Hofstede cultural dimensions showed anomalous results. The biggest differences within the sample were those between the Scottish and Swiss sites, and most of these were concerned with SP components rather than value dimensions. European, rather than Asian respondents were responsible for most of these differences, but there were some significant cultural differences between individuals of different nationalities. Research limitations/implications - Students were used as subjects, and this may have influenced the results. Observed differences in service predisposition seemed more dependent on personal values, although there was some cultural element. The locations and nature of the internships may also have influenced the results. Practical implications - This study has increased understanding of how culture affects service attitudes, how training affects service predisposition, and hence how staff teams could be managed and recruited. Originality/value - Effects of culture on customers' service perceptions have been widely studied, but there has been little research into the impact of culture on service delivery or front-line staff. This study helps to fill this gap.