Return to Article Details US Leadership in Scholarship and Higher Education – the Implications for Hospitality Management Educators

US Leadership in Scholarship and Higher Education – the Implications for Hospitality Management Educators

Ronnie Yeh, Ph.D.
Hospitality Management, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences,
California State University, Long Beach

Teresa Chen, Ph.D.
Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
California State University, Long Beach


Research activities were always the primary focus and time allocation factor for scholars to achieve their scholarship credentials and tenure promotions (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Rice, 1996).  Teaching and extended service are also essential activities for students and communities and must be advocated as one of the scholarship standards for educators to follow and emulate. While the general public focuses more on undergraduate education, educators should spend more time on their teaching and applied scholarship instead of paying most attention to research activities (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997).

Collaboration between senior and junior faculty members has been the major problem in scholarship assessment and accomplishment.  Junior and senior faculty members tend to have different perspectives and interests in their scholarship goals. Disparity of goals often creates tension and conflict as to what scholarly work should be.

One of the driving priorities attracting graduate students to an academic career is autonomy.  However, the notion of professional autonomy has been passed too far and misappropriated. Therefore, developing a collaborative organization will require reassessing the relationship between autonomy and responsibility in the faculty career (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Rice, 1996).

Because the educational goal of leadership development has been given little attention in higher education, the findings of this study are to reveal some characteristics and qualities of contemporary hospitality scholarship leaders (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).  The findings will provide significant implications to hospitality faculty members regarding the scholarship trends that can lead them to be successful in their future scholarly careers.

The views presented in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the University.


Leadership has existed in a variety of forms since primitive times. Today, leadership has become a hot issue for many scholars and organization managers. In the mean time, leadership has also turned into a controversial topic simply because no individual can provide one precise and standard definition for leadership.  Leadership has been considered as a broad, abstract, and ambiguous concept for most people (Wren, 1995).

Management is a difficult concept to define, although many people have tried.

DuBrin (1997) defined management as ”The process of using organizational resources to achieve organizational objectives through the functions of planning, organizing and staffing, leading, and controlling” (p.2).

A manager is the one who carries out management tasks, such as planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The general idea of “manager” is a person who is in charge of a number of people and a specific task that needs to be done within a certain period of time. Managers may or may not do actual work themselves, but they will provide essential supervision to ensure the task is accomplished by their subordinates as planned and expected.

Leading people is different from managing people because leaders are people oriented and managers are task oriented.  Leaders inspire and motivate people as well as plan, organize, lead, and control people and tasks (Callaway, 1999; Exley, 2000).

Before discussing the notion of leadership, the relationship and differentiation between leadership and management should be reviewed in order to give a clearer picture of leadership. Do you agree that leadership is to management as mind is to brain? Is leadership part of management or is the scope and aspect of a leader above management? There are so many definitions and answers available, but no individual can claim the authenticity of his/her definition. Most people believe that leadership and management coexist, regardless of whether one has more effect and influence on the other. There is also another argument that may never be resolved. Is a leader made to be, or simply born?  

A professor at Harvard Business School initiated a definition of leadership versus management. That is, people deliver management skills and knowledge to their groups or organizations that will also be obligatory to carry out the role of leadership at the present time and the future environment. Wren (1995) stated, “The classic business school definition of management was ‘planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.’  The distinction between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ were blurred, and they were often used interchangeably” (p.461). In other words, a manager manages things, and a leader leads people.

Review of literature

Leadership in General. The following literature review embraces several important qualities and characteristics that a transformational leader should possess.  Transformational leaders will utilize their personal and their followers’ knowledge, abilities, and skills, more importantly find out their common interests, to accomplish their commitments and goals.  They are self-discipline and self-knowledge, social responsibility and ethics, character, commitment, initiative, decision-making and problem solving, focus, and diversity and globalization.

The qualities of an effective manager and leader are crucial.  Several features of managers and leaders include:

  1. Has good understanding of knowledge and skills required by his immediate subordinates.
  2. Emphasizes task-oriented and people-oriented roles.
  3. Builds a communication channel to exchange different opinions and recommendations from subordinates.
  4. Attempts to understand subordinates needs and thinking.
  5. Shows respect to exchanged opinions and will change his/her decision if necessary.
  6. Has ability to foresee problems and resolve them before problems affect on organization.
  7. Accepts the punishment when making an incorrect decision (Hecht, 1980).

If a leader’s leadership style does not match with subordinates’ interests and needs, the jobs will not be done as told by that leader. The term leadership style refers to “Your pattern of interacting with your subordinates-how you direct and control the work of others, how you get them to produce the goods and services for which you are responsible to the quality standard required. It includes not only your manner of giving instructions but the methods and techniques you use to motivate your workers and to assure that your instructions are carried out” (Miller, Porter, & Drummond, 1998, p. 31).

Self-Discipline and Self-Knowledge. Exley (2000) strongly endorsed her argument: excellent leaders are made, not born, and frequently self-made.  The idea is that, as a leader in a growing business, one has an opportunity to develop both managerial and leadership skills and abilities simultaneously.  For self-knowledge, this quality means being aware of beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to seek change and transformation. More importantly, this quality should also possess an awareness of the particular talents and strengths, together with the personal limitations, that one brings to the leadership effort (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).

Social Responsibility and Ethics. Management and leadership in today’s society must deal with a legal-ethical dilemma. Is legal practice in business equivalent to ethical behavior? In the past, employees were only interested in “what” to do and “how” to accomplish their jobs, but never made an inquiry such as “why” should we do it this way or is this the best way. Previously, profit was the primary mission and goal in business. Now management in present society is also required to think and cover more aspects, one of them is ethical issue in workplaces.  One of the most unique theories in moral-oriented decision-making management is the idea of Social Responsibility (DuBrin, 1997; Hall, 1992).

Goll (1992) demonstrated a definition for Social Responsibility that offered four perspectives:

  • Economic responsibility of business is to supply goods and services at a fair price that satisfies both consumers and owners.
  • Legal responsibility is another priority in management that organization must conform to business laws and meet society’s expectations while implementing business.
  • Ethical responsibility is what management should be concerned with although the law does not articulate it.
  • Discretionary responsibility is the corporate value that management will have to face a moral or profitable decision when the situation is neither expected by law nor by society.
  • Furthermore, Hall (1992) identified five principles for managers to test themselves before making a decision. These five useful test methods are as follows:
  • Is the decision made based on legal practice?
  • Is the decision fair for anyone?
  • Does the decision hurt anyone?
  • Have I been honest with those affected?
  • Can I live with my decision?
  • The following were more fundamental obstacles that hindered companies in the development of their business ethics in the past:
  • Lack of moral character of leaders. This usually became the most significant determinant of company’s ethical performance.
  • Corporate management culture and process with profit-oriented characteristics would have an impact on its ethical decision-making.
  • Organizational management and leadership did not strongly articulate ethical policies and clearly communicate ethical statements and codes.
  • Communications between leaders and employees were not consistent in terms of ethical management and decision-making (Longnecker, 1985).

Character. A leader must develop personal character and competence.  In the context of any group leadership activity, a leader must have the knowledge, skill, and technical expertise developed for successful completion of the transformation effort (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).  The organizational leadership style will generate many external factors that will affect employee behaviors. These factors can be extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, punishments, corporate culture, management processes and procedures, and other environmental conditions. Normally, if a leadership wants to implement its organizational business decision conduct from the bottom to top, employees should possess decision-making rights and responsibilities. To facilitate this, a decentralized management structure is usually used and the level of empowerment workers have over those ethical decisions need to be clearly defined by organizations (Elloy, 1997).  Leaders are not necessarily those who merely hold formal “leadership” positions; on the contrary, all people are potential leaders regardless their former positions (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).

Leaders are people-oriented and leaders usually also play managers’ roles.  Therefore, leadership style outweighs management style. Leaders are more concerned with employees’ needs and satisfactions because their high quality performance is one of the most important elements for a successful business today. An appropriate leadership style and an effective leader will definitely enhance a company’s growth and profit by considering employees’ well-being, dignity, and self-actualization. Leadership has a tremendous impact in the entire organizational environment and culture because leadership style influences management style and employee performance.

Commitment. This quality requires that a leader’s actions be consistent with one’s most deeply felt values and beliefs.  A leader should also have passion, intensity, and persistence. This quality could be the most critical aspect in building trust within the leadership group (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).  Moreover, “Caring for people” has been defined as a new and true way of looking at leadership in a business setting. This “caring for people” can be interpreted as business ethics. By taking care of people, a company will always be a growing and profitable business both internally and externally in the long run. The explanation is illustrated as follows: when we refer to “people,” it actually means both customers (the external factor) and employees (the internal factor). The new way to do business is to take care of employees and customers.  Employees and customers are faculty members and students in scholarship, respectively (Winner, 2000; Bianco, 2000).

Initiative. It is believed that leadership is a process that is ultimately concerned with fostering change or a process where there is movement (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).  Leaders manage their employees by exchanging their passion and mission in order to develop these employees’ momentum and capabilities; consequently, business profits and market shares will also be expanded. A manager and leader always has intentions to understand the backgrounds of employees (people-oriented) and the job contents of employees within the business (task-oriented). The above theory infers that a powerful leader must possess some good managerial skills as well (Exley, 2000).

Decision-making/Problem Solving. One of the most challenging tasks in business for managers, leaders, and even entry-level employees is to make decisions. Regardless of whether the decisions are considered appropriate or not, they are always difficult. Whenever a decision needs to be made, timing is crucial and should be taken into account. A perfect decision can also be considered useless information, especially if this decision is long overdue (Seglin, 2000).

Cook, Hunsaker, and Coffey (1997) defined that decision-making must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be specific. The decision should be measurable, and the decision must be attainable in terms of sufficient time, resources, and expertise.
  • Ethical. “Decision criteria should conform to what is considered morally right by society. Criteria should be legal, fair, and observant of human rights.  Organizations need to establish a commonly agreed on set of ethical standards to guide decisions when individuals are confronted with conflicting obligations, cost-benefit trade-offs, and competing value choice” (p. 396).
  • Decisions will not be feasible and profitable if they are not acceptable by the involved parties.

Focus. A leader should always focus on one major task at a time and accomplish it before moving to another task.  It will be confusing for people to follow if a leader has too many missions that need to be accomplished simultaneously (Kellogg Foundation, 2000; Rice, 1996).   In other words, if you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Diversity/Globalization. The concept of “diversity” has been known for a long time but there is no prescribed definition accepted among scholars. Most people possess a basic understanding of what diversity is, but few can precisely define it. For instance, the typical example used to describe diversity is the American population. The American population is made of a wide variety of ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and nationalities. People can even extend this thought further to international relationships (Harley & Allard, 1995). For example, the original doctrine of Total Quality Control (TQC) was introduced to Japan by an American scholar- Dr. Deming. Taplin (1995) defined TQC as “A sophisticated theory of how to improve production at all levels. This included how to re-organize human resources so that people, the greatest resource, use their time to the greatest effect” (p.50). Consequently, Japan applied this knowledge to industries and the results were significantly successful (Harley & Allard, 1995).

Diversity should be made aware of and encouraged to scholars for initiating collaborative and interdisciplinary teaming as well as extended service domestically and internationally.  According to the results of a public opinion poll reported recently by the American Council on Education (ACE), overall public, student and faculty support for international education remains strong in the September 11 aftermath.  The findings of this study provide vital implications for college and university leaders as they promote international learning on their campuses. More importantly, the existence of widespread public support for international education should encourage campuses to forge ahead in bringing global perspectives to their students (American Council on Education, 2002).

At present, the workforce is made up of large numbers of minorities and women. Therefore, understanding business diversity facts is fairly helpful for leaders and managers to be successful in the long term. As stated in The Leader’s Companion “In contrast, managing diversity means that the organization realizes that difference can add value in terms of new perspective, creativity, and better understanding of customers and markets” (Harvey & Allard, 1995, p. 40).

It is essential for multinational companies’ leaders to realize and anticipate multicultural work environment.  Due to global businesses growing rapidly, the study of multicultural workplace and business ethics in multinational companies (MNCs) is definitely worthwhile for scholars and organization managers and leaders in all countries. There are three themes identified regarding the business ethics of MNCs:

  • “1.   The potential harm that can result when a multinational company (MNC) does business in a less developed country.
  • How one should act when faced with norms that differ from one’s own.
  • What role individual companies and business associations should play in ensuring the ethical conduct of business”(Bain, 1997, p.124).

Leadership in Scholarship and Higher Education

By presenting the following statements, the trends and new leadership styles in scholarship and higher education can be revealed and learned by higher education scholars and administrators.

Even though the United States is generally considered as having the most developed postsecondary education system in the world, there is substantial evidence that the quality of leadership in the U. S. has been eroding in recent years.  Most importantly, higher education plays a central role in shaping the quality of leadership in modern American society. American colleges and universities not only educate each new generation of leaders in government, business, science, and other advanced professions, but are also responsible for setting the curriculum standards and training the personnel who will educate the entire citizenry at the precollegiate level (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).

In general, most of the scholarship activities are surrounded and influenced by tenure promotion especially for junior faculty members.  “Academic freedom and job security” is considered as the primary achievement for most of the junior faculty members. Therefore, junior faculty members have the tendency to fulfill their own institution’s scholarship system and culture to be able to survive (Chesser, 1994; Rice, 1996).

In the mid-1950s, American education moved into a period of heady affluence and incredible growth.  Financial resources and opportunities were available as never before.

The awarding of early tenure was often a way deans enticed new faculty recruits or retained local stars. The tenure process was seldom the torturous, punishing gantlet junior faculty members perceive it to be today (Rice, 1996).

Of the current issues in American higher education, none generates greater public concern than the mismatch between faculty priorities and the fundamentalpurposes of our institutions.  

American higher education is focusing on faculty: productivity, tenure, and the preoccupation with research and publication.  

Higher education is regarded by all too many as a private benefit, not a public good.  

In terms of faculty, academic freedom and especially tenure make less and less sense to the general public.

 As American higher education moved into the 1990s, serious attention began to be paid to the faculty role and to what the faculty were rewarded for doing.  

Some recount with pleasure that excellence in teaching is not only expected, it is beginning to be recognized and rewarded. But the research and publication agendas retain their dominance (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Rice, 1996).

What does it mean to be a scholar in a changing democracy? Columbia sociologist C. Wright Mills was always asking.  For Mills, “scholarship is a choice of how to live, as well as a choice of a career.”

A major strength of American higher education is its institutional diversity.  Today’s American higher education has succeeded in establishing a rich mosaic of colleges and universities addressing a wide range of educational needs (Mills, 1959).

The prevailing conception of what constitutes a valued academic career begins with a Ph.D. and leads to a tenure-track appointment, achieving tenure in a prescribed time, and advancing on a short, three-rung ladder from assistant to associate to full professor, all turning in large part on one’s research performance.  Many faculty members take other paths, and there are wide variations, but research is the legitimate and honored career pattern (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997).

The ideal redefined scholarship should be similar to the following statement.  A multidimensional academic career that will be more resilient and self-renewing for faculty, while also enabling American colleges and Universities to meet the changing education needs of American students and the knowledge requirements of a society committed to being democratic.  The education needs are changing because higher education is to respond to the expanding claims of national service; to merge its activities with industry as never before; to adapt to and rechannel new intellectual currents. In other words, the redefined scholarship would like to see careers that are more resilient and self-renewing for individual faculty, but ones that are also aligned with the central missions of each college or university (Schon, 1995).

In contemporary scholarship assessment, research should not be the only focus in the scholarly work of faculty.  Scholars should be engaging in the advancing of knowledge in a field, integrating knowledge through the structuring of a curriculum, transforming knowledge through the challenging intellectual work involved in teaching and facilitating learning, or applying knowledge to a compelling problem in the community.  However, faculty should be encouraged to conduct research and publication under even traditional norms because the original purpose is to motivate faculty to keep intellectually alive and curious, which is continuously learning (Seldin, 1993).

The new scholarship would place a high priority on an integrated academic culture and connected learning, while also valuing applied learning and the usefulness of knowledge in addressing the issues and problems confronting the larger society.  Meanwhile, the Association of American Colleges & Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools have done an effective work on preparing future faculty by developing model programs to better prepare graduate students interested in an academic career.  It is relatively important to begin reforming the graduate education of future faculty to achieve the redefined scholarship (Rice, 1996). Additionally, “When students see themselves as both learners and teachers, they take more responsibility for their own learning and help create more favorable learning environments for each other” (Kellogg Foundation, 2000, p. 19).

There is one issue that higher education educators and administrators need to put effort to before new scholarship can be redefined.  Collaboration between senior and junior faculty members has been the major problem in scholarship assessment and accomplishment. Junior and senior faculty members tend to have different perspectives and interests in their scholarship goals.  Disparity of goals often creates tension and conflict as to what scholarship should be (Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Rice, 1996). It is suggested that practically all of the modern authorities on leadership, regardless of whether they focus on the corporate world or the nonprofit sector, now advocate a collaborative approach to leadership, as opposed to one based on power and authority (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).

In summary, even the general public perceives that tenure is seen as particularly problematic, even a source of resentment.  Nevertheless, tenure is a very crucial incentive to stay in academia for most of the junior faculty. Junior faculty also express that in the present employment climate, tenure is so stressful and political and it is discouraging some highly qualified individuals from pursuing an academic career (Rice, 1996).  In addition to the importance of tenure to the faculty, the reconsidered leadership development within the American higher education system are: (a) to encourage faculty, students, administrators, and other staff to change and transform institutions so that they can more effectively improve student learning and development, generate new knowledge, and serve the community, and (b) to empower students to become agents of positive social change in the lagers society.  That is, leaders are not necessarily those who merely hold formal “leadership” positions; on the contrary, all people are potential leaders regardless their former positions (Kellogg Foundation, 2000).

Recommendations to hospitality educators

Tenure and Promotion in Hospitality Higher Education

This section discusses the contemporary higher education in hospitality programs with regard to matching faculty goals and institutional goals as well as hiring hospitality faculty by erudition or experience.  It gives insights as to how faculty members allocate their time for their scholarship credentials, which are research, teaching, service, and other services.

An increased emphasis on research and other shifts in institutions’ priorities create incongruence between institutional expectations of faculty performance and the faculty’s actual performance.

Authority-congruence is defined as the faculty member’s goals and performance are within the limits established by the institution.  On the other hand, authority-incongruence is usually occurring late in a faculty member’s career, the faculty member’s goals have diverged from those of the institution.  At this point the model posits two possible outcomes, revitalization or exit (Chesser, 1994).

There are four actual time allocations and institution’s policy activity areas considered the norm for faculty members:

  • Research
  • Teaching
  • Service
  • Other: private business, consulting, public service, and personal missions.

Chesser (1994) found that 56 out of 98 respondents fell into the ‘incongruence’ category.  Of the four activity areas, the greater difference between actual faculty time allocation and institutional policy was in the area of research.  In addition, the correlation indicated that long-tenured individual spend less time in research than theinstitution expects. Moreover, the likelihood of incongruence increased with the length of time the faculty member had beentenured and with the length of time in the current position.  The study results supported a conclusion that institutions tend to underestimate the amount of time necessary for faculty members to perform their expected service activities: departmental, college, institutional, and professional.  Most faculty members believed that service activities are either more personal rewarding or more important to favorable reviews for promotion, tenure, and salary than is apparent in the stated institutional time-allocation policy. However, many academicians and institutions considered quality research as an excellent legacy for a faculty member to leave (Chesser, 1994; Glassick, Huber, & Maeroff, 1997; Rice, 1996).

In terms of the trend of hiring hospitality faculty members, the size and composition of hospitality faculties have changed considerably over the years.  

Today’s courses are primarily run by academically trained professors (Ph.D. holders) who invite individual guest lectures by industry practitioners and managers.  The credentials required of faculty members have changed a focus on knowledge of hands-on techniques to one of management and conceptual knowledge.

Research has also gone beyond a hands-on focus to a more scholarly approach using social sciencesurvey methodology and statistical testing.  However, it was suggested that doctorate degree is important, almost essential in most areas, but at least some amount of hospitality experience is also valued (Lefever & Withiam, 1995).

Lefever and Withiam (1995) found that newly hired faculty members had:

  • 3.4 years of teaching experience.
  • Two or three publications in referred journals.
  • 3.8 years of hospitality experience.

In terms of research support, the mean dollar amount of funded researchreported for the 97 newly hired faculty members was $9,400.  This figure indicated to us a fairly strong emphasis on research among these new hires. This study suggested that research is a key to the future of hospitality education, which may be reconsidered and reassessed in the new scholarship standards and credentials.

In conclusion, the goal of hospitality educators must be to develop and present the materials students need to be effective participantsin the hospitality industry.

Regardless of the credentials, hospitality-program deans and directors must seek out the instructors who can accomplish that job (Lefever & Withiam, 1995).

Further research

Many people argued that scholarship needs to be reassessed and redefined in order to fulfill contemporary scholars’ and public audiences’ needs.  Higher education leaders and administrators need to be aware of this trend so that they can provide a correct and effective guidance for both junior and senior faculty members.  Hospitality educators should be interviewed to help identify the characteristics and qualities of contemporary hospitality leaders. The findings will serve as a communicator and indicator to hospitality educators as to what scholarship characteristics and credentials should be possessed and what trends to be expected in order to become a successful hospitality scholar.


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