Italian and British Cultures and Management Styles Essay

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Excerpt from Essay :

Italian and British Cultures and Management Styles in Tourism: Q. Hotel

A Critical Analysis of Italian and British Cultures and Management Styles in Tourism:

Q Hotel

Italy is a country in a stage of transition. It is no longer a predominantly agrarian society nor yet a fully industrialized economy. It is also a land of striking contrasts, with no unified social or economic patterns. As a society, Italy is centuries old; as a modern sovereign state it was born but yesterday. The very nature of the political unification process probably accounts for some of the disunity. It was not a broad-based movement but occurred predominantly under the auspices of one family, the Savoys, who succeeded in expanding their influence and political rule throughout the country (Rosenzweig & Nohria, 1994). The masses participated only vicariously through national figures and agitators, such as Garibaldi, Mazzini, and Cattaneo, whose dreams of a republican democracy based on wide popular support and local autonomy were largely frustrated. This political disunity, evidenced by the lack of identification between individual citizens and the state, explains in part the emphasis upon the absolute loyalty to family groups and permeates all aspects of Italian life.

I. Identification of Problems

Fair treatment at work: Equal opportunities and anti-discrimination law

Sex and race

Within Europe only Britain deals with race discrimination in a similar way to sex discrimination for persons seeking employment and those in employment. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975(sex and marital status) and the Race Relations Act 1976 (race, color, nationality, ethnic and national origin) are designed to prevent three types of discrimination - direct, indirect and victimization, which can include harassment. 8 Customers are within the scope of sex discrimination law because it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on sex grounds in the provision of goods, facilities or services as part of a business, such as service in a restaurant or the letting of rooms. If race (or sex) is a genuine occupational qualification, then an employer can lawfully discriminate in favor of a person from a particular racial group (Welsh, et al. 1993). If an employer refuses to train a woman simply because she is a married, that is directly discriminatory. The imposition of an age requirement for a post might be indirectly discriminatory where the effect is that a significantly smaller proportion of men, women or married persons are able to comply with it compared to persons of the opposite sex or single persons. Both Acts cover selection, promotion, transfer, training and other benefits, but pay and pensions are within scope of equal pay legislation. Two separate bodies, the EOC and the CRE, exercise specific responsibilities for this legislation (Prahalad & Doz, 1987).

There is no maximum limit on the amount of compensation that employment tribunals may award to a successful claimant. Although only a very small proportion of total cases reach tribunal (most are settled or disposed of by other means or withdrawn), in 2000/1 compensation of £3.75 million was awarded in sex discrimination cases. The highest award was £1,414,620 and the median award £5,000 (Wagner, 2006). However the number of claims dropped sharply from 17,200 to 10,092, and those that are made are becoming increasingly complex. Victims of race discrimination fare less well, with total compensation standing at £0.75 million, the highest award £66,086 and the median award £5,263 (Rokeach, 2003).

In critique of the effectiveness of extant British anti-discrimination law, Rokeach (2003) notes that the emphasis is to desist from doing negative things. There is no legal requirement to do anything positive to promote equality such as workforce monitoring or attempting to increase the proportion of under-represented groups in the workplace. Positive discrimination such as preferential hiring quotas is unlawful. Adler, (2006) also argues that HRM concepts and policies perpetuate rather than challenge gender inequality (Prahalad & Doz, 1987). The reality of work intensification, increased surveillance and managerial control, and the shifting of risk to employees revealed in more critical empirical reviews of HRM have a disproportionate effect on women and other disadvantaged groups. In pursuit of flexibility, cost-cutting 'hard' HRM has utilized and underpinned existing sex segregation, with the core being defined partly by reference to masculine attributes. Perceptions of women's (lower) commitment also shape the core-periphery, determining who is hired, trained and developed. Assessment in selection, appraisal and reward needs to be understood in terms of power-based relations.

Sexual harassment

Harassment is unwanted behavior of a sexual nature including physical, verbal and non-verbal behavior. In the U.S. The company is responsible for a manager's persistent harassment (Rokeach, 2003). The issue of what constitutes a hostile environment has proved difficult to define and sexual harassment need not be so severe as to cause psychological damage. Employers cannot seek a judgment to dismiss charges unless they have a properly implemented policy (Adler & Jelinek, 1986). Where there is no policy, employers will be liable for the hostile environment created by supervisors (Adams, 1991).

Harassment is a pervasive and frequent occurrence (Adams, 1991). Managers and customers can be the perpetrators of sexual harassment ((Wagner, 2006). It mainly affects women, reflecting the gendered division of work and existing power differentials (Adler, 2006). Customer harassment is one of the least rewarding aspects of the interpersonal relationship, and is exacerbated where service staff are Italy has a stronger legal framework supporting women, but job opportunities are limited and favorable maternity rights appear to be damaging women's employment prospects. Women returners are considered out of touch, and they are offered chambermaids' jobs. Family-friendly policies are unknown, even to large hotel groups. The pay gap is smaller because all sectors are regulated by legally binding collective agreements. Some employers pay above the minimum in cash to avoid higher tax and social insurance costs (Youndt, et al. 1996).

In the UK increased opportunities are in numerically flexible jobs which are vulnerable to economic fluctuations. As in Italy, restaurant and bar jobs are contingently gendered, as employers seek cheap labor of either sex (Wagner, 2006). Women are largely excluded from kitchen work, but not from night work, the reverse of what is observed in Italy. Company economic performance is the most important factor in setting pay. There is greater awareness of gender issues and sometimes they are encouraged to sell sexuality or to flirt (Adkins, 1995; Gilbert et al., 1998). The more authentic the performance, the more difficult it is for the customer to recognize there is no promise of associated consequences, which may be exacerbated by alcohol (Worsfold and McCann, 2000). Individual employee re/action may make things worse, as most managerial harassment comes from an immediate superior or more senior manager. The extent of harassment is likely to be under-reported, unless there is a strong policy and effective channels for challenging such behavior that by-pass superiors. Consequently individuals sustain stress and poor working relationships, and may quit.

Tipping Culture

UK

Staff keep cash tips, either individually or on a pooled basis, and do not pay tax on them, unless they are declared. Staff working in pubs, bars and restaurants are more likely to benefit from tips than hotel staff. Staff are not entitled to receive tips or a service charge that are added to a credit card in addition to the NMW, although employers can use these payments to top up pay to the level of the NMW. This situation was finally confirmed by a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in 2002. Where tips are paid into a tronc, the tronc master shares them among employees who are taxed on them (Weimer, 2008).

Italy

Restaurants may add 10-15 per cent to meals but customers are normally expected to add 10 per cent. Credit card tips are passed on to waiting staff.

II. Solution Proposal: Management Style, Structure, Cultural Awareness and Reporting Methods.

In Italy, high-level managers and professional staffs are regulated by different laws, have separate unions and collective bargaining, and have had divergent histories. For these reasons, the issues relevant for the two groups will be treated separately. It is important, to note that the Italian term is more restrictive than the American one and includes only higher levels in each of the traditional management functions such as advertising, sales, financial analysis, and personnel. Employees such as professionals and technicians, who in the United States would be considered management, are defined here as cadres. In Italy, managers have been treated differently from other employees. This division was based on the actual job functions performed within the firm and was reinforced by legislation. However, particularly in the last decade, such differences have been blurred by transformations in the context of jobs, the size and structure of firms, and class and group identifications in Italian society. Differences in legislation remain, however.

Managers, who were once part of a small and elite group, have lost their previous status and prestige while gaining in numbers. Regarding their power, in the public industrial sector they lack autonomy because of unavoidable political interference, and in the private sector…

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