Cornell Study Highlights Competencies for Club Leaders

May 28, 2015

Contact: Carol Zhe, 607.254.4504,

Cornell Study Highlights Competencies for Club Leaders

Ithaca, NY, May 28, 2015 - In a study published by the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR), two researchers have developed the first comprehensive competency model for club leaders. A survey of 596 club managers highlighted the importance of communication and leading by example, among the other competencies identified in this model. The study, "A Competency Model for Club Leaders," by Kate Walsh and Jason P. Koenigsfeld, is available at no charge from the CHR. Walsh is an associate professor of management at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and Koenigsfeld is senior vice president of professional development for the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA). Survey respondents were CMAA members.

"Our analysis found five sets of leadership competencies, based on the club managers' responses," said Walsh. "These competencies are particularly important for hospitality firms like clubs where leaders work with relatively low-skilled employees to deliver a service experience to a long-term, repeating clientele. The five competency factors that we identified are teamwork, connecting with staff members and clients, strategic thinking, effective communication, and working with and through people."

Walsh and Koenigsfeld also compared perceptions of leaders against those of line-level managers regarding which competencies are most essential. This analysis found that leaders differ from their managerial staff in their view of the particular importance of communication and leading by example.

Clubs are not the only hospitality enterprise with loyal, long-term customers, but more than any other hospitality business club members become strongly identified with the enterprise. For the best service outcome, the researchers found that club leaders must engage with those members, understand their needs, and use that understanding to shape the service experience. Beyond that, knowing the key competencies for club leaders can provide insights for leaders in other hospitality sectors.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial, and operating practices. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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