Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Cihan Cobanoglu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Liliana Rodríguez-Campos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patrick J. Moreo, Ph.D.


Hospitality Education, Leadership Competency, Financial Analysis Competency, Human Resource Management Competency, Communication Competency, Operational Knowledge Competency


The purpose of this study was to identify the competencies important for success in the hospitality industry, based on the perceptions of hospitality faculty, professionals, and students. To identify the competencies, the research employed the following steps: initial survey development, input from a focus group panel of experts, review by validation panel of experts on revised survey, pilot study of process for final survey and data collection using the revised questionnaire. The study targeted hospitality students who were enrolled in a 4-year undergraduate degree program, faculty who taught in a 4-year hospitality under-graduate or graduate program, and hospitality professionals who worked in the industry. The final survey used the online platform MTURK, which is an online platform. Five competency subheadings with 5-8 competencies included the areas of Leadership, Financial Analysis, Communications, Human Resource Management (HRM), and Operational Knowledge. Competency means, differences by personnel categories (hospitality faculty, professionals, & students), and differences by individual variables (gender, years of experiences, level of schooling, and area of responsibility) were investigated. HRM had the highest competency ratings. Service orientation under Leadership was rated as the highest competency in the entire survey. Based on personnel categories, only the leadership statements about adapting to change and finding innovative ways to work were found to be significantly different between the faculty and professionals. Differences occurred between the responses by gender, years of experience, and level of schooling. The competency subheadings Leadership, Communications, and Human Resource Management were perceived to be most important for success by hospitality personnel. Each of these competencies included interpersonal interaction and soft skills. The variables years of experience, gender, area of responsibility, and personnel had significant differences based on the levels within each variable. Only level of schooling showed no difference in responses by the participants. Faculty and professionals need to have an open conversation about what each feels important for students to learn. This could be conducted through round table discussions where both professionals and faculty are in attendance. Communication skills between males and females should be prioritized since gender differences were significant throughout most of the Communication subheading competencies.