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Chen, LC 2010, 'Multi-skilling in the hotel industry in Taiwan', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright LC Chen 2010


Multi-skilling for front-line managers in hotels in Taiwan is the main focus of this thesis. The literature suggests that multi-skilling addresses two industrial problems in Taiwan; the shortage of qualified workers and the high turnover rate of staff in the 5-star hotel industry. Both factors have negatively impacted on the productivity and performance of 5-star hotels in Taiwan, as a high level of service delivery cannot be sustained by inexperienced staff in accordance with a service profit chain model (Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 1994). In addition, as multi-skilling enhances an employee’s knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), this has an effect on attitude and the attitude of an employee determines the output of service performance in relation to tasks assigned (Tesone, 2008; Wilton, 2008). Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to examine whether multi-skilling exists and the beneficial factors of multi-skilling for 5-star hotels in Taiwan.

The scope of this thesis is delimited to the quantitative approach. A conceptual model of multi-skilling has been established based on the literature and developed into eight research hypotheses for this study. The first research hypothesis explores whether or not training for multi-skilling has occurred in the hotel industry in Taiwan, as there is little or no evidence of multi-skilling knowledge within the Taiwanese hotel context. The other seven research hypotheses attempt to examine the effectiveness of the beneficial factors of multi-skilling, namely organisational productivity, service quality, retention, job satisfaction, remuneration, promotion and organisational efficiency.

The scale of hotels is delimited to 5-star hotels in Taiwan, and the level of employees is delimited to front-line managers, such as supervisors and assistant managers who work across front office, restaurant and housekeeping departments. In addition, the geographic location is also delimited to the areas of metropolitan cities in the north and south in Taiwan. A mail questionnaire survey was used.

The findings have identified that 5-star hotels in Taiwan have adopted multi-skilling plan for their front-line managers. The findings have also identified some significant similarities and differences between the responses from all three departments. More importantly, though, the findings have identified that multi-skilling can help 5-star hotels in Taiwan to improve labour productivity and service quality, and mitigate the problems associated with high staff turnover.

Labour flexibility via multi-skilling, along with a positive employment relationship is suggested to provide a stable and qualified multi-skilled workforce for 5-star hotels in Taiwan in order to cope with these two industrial problems. It has been found that multi-skilling can increase labour flexibility by moving staff from one post to another without any difficulty. In addition, a high level of service delivery can be maintained by the promotion of a positive employment relationship. Based on the findings, a set of guidelines regarding the benefits of multi-skilling of front-line managers is suggested for the benefit of 5-star hotels in Taiwan. Finally, the varying needs of diverse generations are addressed according to the responses of the front-line managers from all three departments.