Research Article

Happiness at work: a phenomenological study of the experiences of hospitality industry employees


Abstract

Though happiness might be an interesting factor to consider in the discussion on retaining employees, only a limited number of studies on happiness of hospitality employees has been done. This master’s thesis study, rooted in the tradition of the interpretative phenomenological analysis, unpacks the connection of work experiences and feelings of happiness of five hospitality employees aged between 20 and 30. In-depth interviews revealed that happiness is found in moments of external recognition of professional achievements, while contributing to the company’s performance or to guest experiences. We see that these moments reinforce a high-performance attitude that, however, could also create a form of addiction. We recommend integrating appreciative feedback of staff achievements on a regular base during operations. Furthermore, we suggest staff coaching with the aim to develop self-awareness and self-acknowledgement.

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