The last few decades have been characterised by a radical change in management perceptions about the importance of the work force in achievement of strategic objectives of business organisations.
Management experts agree that in situations where competitors have similar financial resources and organisational infrastructures, competitive edge can be achieved only through well trained and intensely motivated employee forces.
The hotel industry has grown remarkably in the last two decades. With the industry expanding exponentially, capacity builds ups in business and tourism centres have created enormous competition in all its segments. Whilst hotel managers strive to provide good physical facilities to their clients, it is widely accepted that excellence in service quality is best achieved through the efforts of employees to meet customer needs.
Motivating employees is thus seen to be a critical task of hotel managers. The dissertation project aims to examine the importance of motivating employees in the hotel industry for the achievement of competitive advantage and the best possible ways and means of doing so.
The last few decades, especially the period that commenced from the 1970s, have been characterised by radical changes in management perceptions about the importance of the work force in achieving the strategic objectives of business organisations. 
Whilst traditional management theory treated workers, along with capital, land and machinery, as just one of the four important inputs of business enterprises, current management thought and practice, influenced on one hand by the opinions of experts like Drucker, Porter, Maslow and McGregor, and on the other by dramatically altered business conditions, perceive employees to be critical to organisational success and growth. 
Contemporary developments like globalisation, economic liberalisation, the deconstruction of trade and physical barriers, technological advances, the spread of the internet, instantaneous communication technology, cheaper travel costs and the emergence of China and India as economic power houses have made the world intensely competitive and diminished the superiority of Western business organisations.  Management experts agree that in economic scenarios where competitors have the same sort of financial resources and organisational infrastructures, competitive edge is mainly achieved through well trained and intensely motivated employee forces. 
The hotel industry has grown remarkably in the last two decades. Globalisation along with greater discretionary incomes in the populations of advanced and developing countries, cheaper travel, open borders and the opening of numerous business and tourists destinations have led to substantial increases in business travel and domestic and international tourism and created enormous opportunities for hotels.
Aims and Objectives
With the hotel industry expanding exponentially, capacity builds ups in business and tourism centres have created enormous competition in all sectors of the hotel industry.  Being service oriented in nature, hotels work towards achievement of service quality and improvement of customer satisfaction for achievement of competitive advantage. 
Whilst hotel ownerships strive to provide good physical facilities to their clients, it is widely accepted that excellence in service quality is best achieved through the efforts of employees to meet customer needs  Motivating employees is thus seen to be a critical task of hotel managements. 
This proposal aims to investigate the contribution of employees in achievement of profitability and competitive advantage in the hotel industry, the importance of motivation in improving employee performance, and the role of managers in motivating employees to improve their performance and commitment.
Its objectives are elaborated as follows:
To examine the ways and means in which employees can add to the service quality, efficiency, profitability and competitive advantage of the hotel industry.
To examine the impact of motivation on the performance of hotel employees.
To examine and assess the various ways of motivating employees.
To examine the roles of managers in motivating hotel employees.
2. Literature Review
Human resource management theory has changed radically over the past few decades. Whilst traditional HR theory was influenced and shaped by scientific management principles embodied in the approaches of Henry Ford and Fredrick Taylor for improvement of worker productivity, the post Second World War period saw the emergence of behavioural experts and psychologists like Maslow, McGregor, Herzberg and Vroom, who discarded Fordist and Taylorist principles and emphasised that worker performance could be much better enhanced by meeting the various needs of workers, training and developing them and empowering them to do their work to the best of their ability. 
Experts like Maslow and Herzberg stress that worker motivation is critical to worker performance and organisational managements need to motivate members of their work force in carefully thought out, well planned and deliberately implemented ways. Maslowââ‚¬â„¢s theory of needs, McGregorââ‚¬â„¢s exposition of theory X and theory Y, Herzbergââ‚¬â„¢s detailing of hygiene and motivating factors, and Vroomââ‚¬â„¢s work on motivating employees deal with the various needs of workers and how they can best be motivated by organisational managements. 
Extant HR theory also places great stress on the need of managers to know methods of motivation and use them appropriately in the work place.  The evolution of human resources as a management discipline has been characterised by numerous academic and research work on the best possible methods of motivating employees. 
Employees are seen as key inputs in the hotel industry and most well known hotel chains like The Marriot, The Mandarin Orient and The Ritz Carlton are known to have very carefully thought out and well implemented employee performance improvement programmes.  Motivation plays a key role in such programmes and is a key responsibility of hotel managers. 
The Ritz Carlton, the only two time winner of the famous Malcolm Baldridge awards for quality, is known to have an excellent employee training, development and motivation programme.  Employees at the Ritz Carlton are motivated through a complex system of policies and procedures that deal with remuneration, training, involvement, responsibility allocation, employee respect and empowerment. 
Employee motivation and the responsibilities of managers in motivating employees are key areas of focus in hotel management theory. 
3. Research Methodology
The aims and objectives of the project, along with the information obtained during the course of review of available literature, lead to the following research hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1: Employees are critical for the achievement of service quality, profitability and competitive advantage in the hotel industry
Hypothesis 2: Employee motivation leads to improvement in employee performance
Hypothesis 3: Managers can motivate hotel employees in various ways.
The choice and adoption of appropriate research methods for projects are essentially decided by the nature of the project and the resources available with the researcher.  With there being two basic methods of social research, namely the quantitative and qualitative approaches, the choice of an appropriate method for this assignment will be shaped by the research hypotheses elaborated above. 
The research hypotheses essentially deal with issues and questions that are how, why and what in nature, and are thus best tackled by use of interpretative qualitative methods, rather than through analysis of the results of number based quantitative surveys. 
Information for the project will be obtained from primary and secondary sources.  Primary information sources are those that provide information directly from people and organisations who form the subject of research, whereas secondary information is obtained from sources created by people, (e.g. authors, researchers, or media publications), who are unconnected with the research subject. 
It is proposed to use both primary and secondary sources for this research project.  Whilst substantial information from secondary sources on human resource management, motivational theory, service quality, managerial responsibility and the responsibilities and methods of managers for motivating employees is available in the public domain, primary information can be obtained through study of hotel websites and interviews of people associated with the research subject.  With the hospitality industry now a globally important industry, a number of academic publications and research studies are available on different aspects of hotel management.  The study of such sources will enable the researcher to obtain accurate and extensive information on the subject under study. 
The methodology entails the collection of primary and secondary data from the sources elaborated earlier, the qualitative interpretation of obtained information, and its detailed analysis for the purpose of examining the validity of the hypothesis. 
Care will be taken to ensure that all ethical requirements regarding the conduct of research projects are followed, especially with regard to protection of the rights and confidentiality of primary respondents. Adequate care will be taken to ensure that appropriate credit is given to all information sources. 
Constraints and Limitations
The study will be limited by the amount of primary and secondary information accessed by the researcher, as well as the amount of cooperation provided by the primary respondents from the hotel industry.
It is envisaged that obtaining appointments with hotel managers may be a difficult task and could delay the gathering of information and data. The researcher plans to start taking appointments with managers in the hotel industry at the earliest in order to maintain the research schedule.
The research is expected to take six months to complete. The timeline of the project is provided below.
Determining of Secondary Information Sources
Study of Secondary Information Sources
Determination of Primary Information Sources
Study of Primary Information Sources
Fixing of Appointments with Primary Respondents
Conducting of Interviews
Collation of Secondary Information
Compilation of Literature Review
Compilation of Primary Information
Collation of Data
Data Analysis and Interpretation
Preparation of Rough Draft of Dissertation
Discussion with Tutor
Preparation of Final Dissertation