Study of Excellence in Customer Service Named 2010 Best Article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

Jan 17, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Study of Excellence in Customer Service Named 2010 Best Article in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly 

Ithaca, NY, January 17, 2011 – An article that challenges the conventional wisdom on service excellence has been named the Article of the Year for Volume 51 of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. The article "What Matters More? Contrasting the Effects of Job Satisfaction and Service Climate on Hotel Food and Beverage Managers' Job Performance," by Sean A. Way, Michael C. Sturman, and Carola Raab, was chosen by a vote of the members of CQ's editorial board. The article was published in the August 2010 CQ. Way and Sturman are on the faculty of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, and Raab is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. With Volume 51, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly observed its fiftieth year of publication. CQ is published by Sage Publications on behalf of the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research.

Based on a survey of 525 food and beverage managers in 40 Asian hotels, the study found that the key factor driving guest service was workplace climate, which involves employees' understanding of the hotel's expectations for customer service and how the hotel will reward and support the employees. The study found that a strong workplace climate meant strong customer service. As for employee satisfaction, that too is partly driven by the clear expectations of a favorable workplace climate.

Concluded the authors: "If you want to improve job performance behaviors in the hospitality industry, managers would be best served by ensuring that the organization's members accurately perceive the practices, procedures, and behaviors that are rewarded, supported, and expected of them with regard to customer service and customer service quality." Way discusses this research in a podcast available at

The vote this year the closest ever, with only a slim margin separating the winner and two honorable mentions, both of which also received considerable support from the editorial board:

"What Makes It So Great? An Analysis of Human Resources Practices among Fortune's Best Companies to Work For," by Timothy R. Hinkin and J. Bruce Tracey (May 2010), and "Restaurant Profitability Management: The Evolution of Restaurant Revenue Management," by Gary M. Thompson (May 2010).

Hinkin and Tracey, who are on the School of Hotel Administration faculty, noted that just four hospitality firms are on the Fortune list of best companies to work for (namely, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton Hotels, Starbucks, and Marriott International). In an effort to assist all hospitality firms to become best-practice employers, they examined the human resources practices of companies that have operational characteristics most similar to hospitality firms (notably, continous operation and many low-paid positions). Similar firms included health-care systems and grocery purveyors. You can hear Hinkin and Tracey discuss this research on a CHR podcast,

Thompson, also a professor at Cornell, analyzed the development of restaurant revenue management, as chronicled in the pages of the Cornell Quarterly. Most critically, his article presented a new, decision-based framework for restaurant profitability, which expands on earlier revenue-focused approaches.

The Center for Hospitality Research appreciates the contributions of the many authors who contributed invited articles that both examined the status of industry issues and framed future questions. Thank you also to the colleagues who submitted articles, to the reviewers who provided wise counsel on those articles, and to our editorial board members for their support and direction.

About the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

The primary objective of the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly is to publish articles that provide timely and actionable prescriptions for hospitality management practice. The articles we publish are based on important industry challenges that are examined using rigorous methods of inquiry. The content addresses a broad range of topics that are relevant to hospitality, travel, and tourism contexts. 

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell 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 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

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