“Limiting envy is crucial not just to the success of the employee in his or her career, but it’s crucial to the success of the hotel itself,” said O’Neill. “The success of a hotel lies in how it treats its guests.”
In the study of front-line hotel employees — desk staff, food and beverage workers, housekeepers — workers who have poor relationships with their bosses were more likely to envy co-workers with better relationships with supervisors, said John O’Neill, associate professor, School of Hospitality Management, Penn State. The study showed that the envious workers also were less likely to help co-workers or to volunteer for additional duties. The researchers report their findings in the current issue of International Journal of Hospitality Management.
“People who are less envious often go above and beyond their normal job duties to do things like cover for an employee who has gone home to help a sick family member,” said O’Neill. “Conversely workers who are more envious are less willing to perform these additional duties.”
Front-line employees are typically hourly employees who interact directly with guests. Since these employees have personal contact with guests, people staying at hotels become the unintended victims of on-the-job envy, according to O’Neill, who worked with Soo Kim, assistant professor, management and information systems, Montclair State University, and Hyun-Min Cho, tourism policy research division, Culture Contents Center, Republic of Korea.
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