Using focus groups as a tool to develop a hospitality work-life research study

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29 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper seeks to describe how the results of the qualitative research method of focus groups may be used as conceptual data at the onset of a research study to inform researchers regarding relevant issues for future more in-depth quantitative study. Design/methodology/approach: Seven focus group sessions with a total of 50 participants were conducted, each focus group with six to eight participants. All focus groups included the homogeneous participants of new entrants to the hospitality industry. Focus group questions were inductive and naturalistic and centered on career expectations and work-life issues. Sessions averaged 1 hour and 15 minutes and were conducted by trained graduate students. Findings: The paper suggests that long, unpredictable hours create both work-related and non-work stress. Further, there is general agreement regarding the stressors and benefits associated with working in the hospitality industry. Research limitations/implications: Limitations include the use of senior, hospitality management majors, all of whom had hospitality industry employment experience, but some of whom had fewer than 1,000 hours of such experience. Originality/value: This work illustrates how focus groups may fit into a larger research study involving the hospitality industry. This work also explores the common issue, but understudied topic of work-life balance in the hotel industry. In so doing, it provides greater understanding of the issue to researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-885
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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