Cornell Quarterly Article of the Year Addresses Successful Employee Hiring

Feb 01, 2012

Contact: Jane Henion, 607.255.9780,

Cornell Quarterly Article of the Year Addresses Successful Employee Hiring

Ithaca, NY, February 1, 2012 – An article that addresses the long-time hospitality industry debate over hiring employees based on personality or on ability has been named the 2011 article of the year for the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, based on a vote by the members of the CQ's editorial board. A long-standing employment policy by many hospitality firms is to "hire pleasant people," as long-ago hotel operator E.M. Statler put it. Although personality has long been a chief criterion for hiring hospitality employees, intelligence (or ability) has been cited as a key factor in employees' success. 

The winning article was announced in the February 2012 issue of CQ, which is now available from Sage Publishers, by arrangement with the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research.

The article that examines this hiring debate, "What Matters Most? The Perceived Importance of Ability and Personality for Hiring Decisions," by Michael J. Tews, Kathryn Stafford, and J. Bruce Tracey, was published in the May 2011 issue of CQ. Tews is an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University; Stafford, is an associate professor at Ohio State University, and Tracey, is an associate professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. He was named editor of the CQ after this article was accepted, and he had no role in determining the winning article.

The authors surveyed 104 restaurant managers to find out whether personality or mental ability weighed more heavily in their hiring decisions. Even though mental ability is a stronger predictor of success, the managers favored personality attributes. Top on their list were agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. Mental ability was fourth. Given the importance of mental ability to employee success, the authors suggest that hotel and restaurant firms urge their managers to place a stronger emphasis on mental ability as a hiring criterion.

The runner-up for article of the year, "Impact of Terrorism on Hospitality Stocks and the Role of Investor Sentiment," by Charles Chang and Ying Ying Zeng, was also published in the May 2011 CQ. At the time of publication, Chang was an assistant professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, from which Zeng holds a master's degree. She is now with Prudential Real Estate.

They examined several hundred terrorist events that affected Americans around the globe. Based on their analysis of the subsequent performance of hospitality stocks, they found that hospitality stocks outperform the market after an incident of terrorism, although there is an initial negative outcome. Chang and Zeng concluded that investor sentiment plays a substantial role in stock returns.

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 77 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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