In-house training in hotel industry to improve the employee engagement- An Investigation on “Ritz Carlton” London

Home»In-house training in hotel industry to improve the employee engagement- An Investigation on “Ritz Carlton” London



1. Background of the study

Staff in-house training in the hotel industry is considered to be an important part of the Human resource management after observing its unimaginable benefit in the terms of customer loyalty and satisfaction. Though staff training is a smaller part of the entire HRM, but considering its impact on the entire business process nowadays it's become a subject of discussion among the academician, industry expert. In this fiercely competitive environment, Hospitality industry was undergoing a massive change where a personal ability of the individual has given immense importance in the progress of the business. Therefore various components of the human resource management are carefully selected and its impact on the changing world is noticed. The implication of globalization, technological change, and workforce diversity, labor shortage, changing skill requirement, decentralized work sites and employee involvement in the workplace are now a day are the subject of discussion. The entire business working environment and operational style could get changed due to the impact of either one or a combination of the many of these factors. That’s why it's imperative for HRM to take a control over these essential parameters for the progress and long-term sustainability (Ahmed, 2007)

1.2. Problem identification
Ali et al. (2008) mentioned that during online research some interesting point was discovered like American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) taken a survey on “learning role of employee engagement” (2008) where over 776 HR and management get involved in finding the fact of employee engagement, The result was shocking, out of that only 1/3 organization was able to support employee engagement program. Mostly rest of the organization has proven to not be serious about it. There can be many factors that affect it, however, engagement-building skills so far major challenges to the industry. It may also help to discover about supervisor/HR role in engaging people and the various ways of engaging people while at work.

1.3. Research Objective
• To evaluate the factors, those are responsible for successful in-house training.
• To measure the level of effectiveness of the training process.
• To measure the impact of the parameters on employee engagement that are used during the training process.
• To evaluate the process by which employee engagement process can be increased
1.4 Research question
• Will the gap present in the service delivery process is possible to minimise through effective training?
• How to identify the gaps present in “Ritz Carlton” Hotel?
• Will the employee engagement program through an innovative training process able to reduce the gaps?

1.5 Rational of the study
Staff training in the service sector is an essential and indispensable part of the human resource management. The importance of the staff training has long been recognised. According to Blaikie and Norman (2010, p 118), “give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. This far-sighted and understandable statement from ancient Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius now becomes a buzz word in the modern hospitality industry.” This becomes quite important to train the employee so that they can conquer in their job. To meet the ever changing demands the customer, and to maintain pace with the recent business practices the need for training is more pronounced than earlier it was (Brannen, 2002).

1.6 Brief overview
The entire research work is divided into three parts; theoretical, empirical and the conclusion part. This has further subdivided into various chapters mentioned below.
Chapter one would be introduced with the background history, objectives and research questions. Contextually the rationale of the study explore explains the basic purpose and aim of the study.
The chapter two would illustrate the earlier research works, its gaps and explanation on how these gaps would have been minimised. The definition of training, different phases, style and approaches of training and the role of strategic human resource management would be discussed. The key benefits of training and its implication in the service delivery process will be discussed in detail during the literature review portion.
The third chapter will deal with the case pertaining to the hotel mentioned above. The case study would discuss the information related to the training approached and its implication on the customer. This would deliver a brief idea about the facilities, services and training system etc.
The Fourth chapter is research methodology which would constitute the details about the research framework. Besides discussing the qualitative and quantitative analysis, the chapter would further explain the data collection method and tools used for the analysis. The validity and reliability of the data would also be discussed in brief
The chapter five and six would consist of the result and discussion part. Each objective would be satisfied and interpreted from the finding in the last part i.e. chapter 6. A separate actionable plan would also be provided on the recommendation portion.


Literature Review

2.0 Introduction
The basic and simple meaning of the Human resource means the resources that reside within the people. Burgess (2007) described that HRM is a complex concept which encompasses a host of activities which differs significantly in academic literature and practical fields.

2.1 Job Analysis
The definition of job analysis can be explained as the duties and responsibilities of the job that matches with the characteristic of the people who are basically hired for it (Buttle, 2007). Job analysis highlights the basis of all the departmental activities.
In the job analysis part HRM process mainly described the requirements of the jobs.
These clearly elaborate what is the job’s task, roles and responsibilities. Simultaneously the employee who is enrolled into the position should have adequate knowledge, skills and abilities in this particular work.

2.2 Strategic human resource management
SHRM explains how to form, execute different HR policies and practices. This process allows developing a certain level of competencies and behavioral change within the employee to fulfill the organisational objective.
The key aspect of SHRM in the hospitality industry is it connects organisational strategy with the HRM for exploring the employee skills through training. This is done in such a manner so that employee can explore and maximize their potential to increase the productivity and organisational performance. This helps the organisation to face the market competition and achieve its goal and long term objective.

2.2.1 Aim for strategic HRM
The basic objective or purpose of the SHRM inside hospitality industry is to ensure that the culture, style of operation and structure of the organisation should be in balance with the quality, commitment, motivation of the employees. This mechanism assists in achieving the organisational goal in near future. SHRM relates the human resource management in such a manner so that it can fulfill the organizational objective. This process guides and trains how to adjust the human resource management to achieve the individual and organizational objectives. For example downsizing, Reallocation of staff for training, selection of training approaches etc. are the key components which develop employees in order to maintain their abilities in the business competitions. Besides proper in-house training process, SHRM also includes rewarding and motivation process according to the performance of the employees.

2.2.2. Staff training and its importance
Training is the process that provides an employee to update and acquire new skills and knowledge which is required for operation and set out by the management. In more simple terms training can be defined as the activity that changes the behaviour of the people. So the changing and complex environment of the business in the hospitality industry invokes the need of training to meet the customer demand and satisfaction (Bowen and Shoemaker, 2008).

2.3 Staff training in hotel industry
The brand of a particular hotel largely depends on how their customer is recommending it to others. The quality, skills and competency of the employee serve the customer largely govern by it. The entire brand exercise depends on how the staff is being trained and how the training makes some significant change in their performance in terms of knowledge and ideas. This much-needed information helps employees to motivate and inspire to understand the importance of their job. The role and impact of training are considered to be an essential instrument while implementing the HRM practice and policies. The successful hotel allows the staff training as an important part of the brand building exercise process (Boshoff and Allen, 2000).

2.4 The importance of staff training
Staff training is considered to be as important as any serious strategic issue in the hospitality industry. This is considered to be an essential part of the HRM policy to motivate and increase the productivity of the staff. Due to the development of technologies and the business environment, employees are now a day’s need to be more skilled and qualified. Employees of the organisation would out of the track if they are not updated with the recent knowledge and skill. An organized company always should have a staff training program for competitive advantage.
Another biggest advantage of the staff training it helps to remain united. An enterprise also seeks after the training from an experienced that has adequate knowledge and skills in the respective field. The appropriate training process helps to develop a harmonious work environment within the employees where the employees are passionately driven to accomplish their task. Happy and satisfied employee triggers brand loyalty among the consumers. Such on job training includes various aspects principles of works, professional knowledge and skill set which improves the service delivery skills among the employees.
Sometimes it has been seen that lack of training or poor training facilities leads to employee turnover. Moreover this sometimes dissatisfied the customer and brand image of the company due to inadequate service delivery process. Even a good service design fails to satisfy the consumer to inadequate service delivery and communication gap (Body and Limayem, 2004).

2.5 Staff training benefits
Staff training always enhances the capabilities of the employee and strength the competitive advantage. Sometimes the benefit of training develops the personal behaviour, characteristics and abilities of an individual as an employee. This indirectly helps to retain the brand image as the consumer gets a quality service from its employee.

2.6 Employee benefits
Good quality in-house training helps the employee to achieve job satisfaction and recognition. During such on job training process employee will be discussed the job profile; what to do, how to do and how to make the customer happy in the hospitality industry. The basic roles and responsibilities of the job are described in details to them. This makes the process easy and initiate interest in them. Appropriate training encourages self-development and confidence within the employee. After a systematic training schedule, the employee comes to know and understand what kind of information they can gather from the training program. These entire processes make them more confident in their earlier and new jobs (Bennett, 2006).

2.7 The personal goals of the employee
The successful in-house training not only helps an employee to gain professional knowledge and skills during the training, further it broadens the choices the carrier target. This further helps them to understand various other positions, their roles and responsibilities in the organization. The possibility of transfer, promotion, even demotion or termination also gets clear to them from their performance during the on the job training.

2.8 How to become an effective problem solver in housekeeping
On a job in-house training always helps employees to acquire new skills and techniques. This further helps to solve the problem and complaints quickly. This makes the employee be more productive in the workplace. An employee of the organization gets more familiar with the task, roles and responsibilities which later help to improve the productivity (Bhote, 2006).

2.9 Management benefit from training
Evaluating the employee is one of the important parts of the successful training process. The manager needs to identify the employee who is a quick learner and the ability to acquire better skills and knowledge. A unique method needs to be applied so that different methods of training can be chosen. Effective training helps managers to make the subordinates understand certain principles, standards policies and procedures etc. Aids which training manager is delivering at the time of training and sustainability made a difference in the long term. Even in-house training facilities help management to understand who deserves promotion transfer and demotion etc. The right job for the right person at the right time to make the service delivery process even smoother and cohesive. Effective Training perfectly does the same thing which suits the employee knowledge and potential.

2.10 Organisational benefit
The effective training leads to the profitability for the organization. The service profit chain completely depends on the growth in productivity and better training process. This ensures not only profit and customer loyalty but at the same time guarantee brand image in the long run. As the training improves the skills and knowledge level of every individual, therefore, the chances of an unwanted accident gets reduced. So indirectly training facilitates to reduce the scope of the accident inside the organization. Bennett (2006) pointed out that the biggest advantage of training process describes how it reduces unwanted waste and employee turnover. Every hotel needs to develop new technologies to stay competitive in the market. The staff of the hotel becomes loyal, effective in terms of quality service delivery at the time of service encounters. Any kind of unwanted wastage and damages can be managed if the training is appropriately delivered.

2.11 The different type of Training process
The overall training process can be subdivided into the following parts.

• Assessing the training needs
• Evaluating Planning
• Planning the training process
• Carrying out the training




                                                  Figure 1 Training Cycle

Source : Bejou, D., Ennuw, C. And Palmer, A., 2009, p 170)

Ref to the fig -1 the entire training cycle starts with the needs assessment. The need for training always occurs if there is gap exist between the employees’ expected performance with the actual. Training can be of various types according to the need or requirements of the situation. This process makes the new employees familiar with the work environment and task etc. For example fulfilling the organizational objective, performance assessment, job analysis etc. are the important part which HRM is looking at.
The second step in the training cycle encompasses how a manager is planning the training program. This planning part is further subdivided into deciding training objectives, designing training programs, selecting training methods. Training goals, training method, duration, program structure, location and selection of trainees etc. Normally the practical problem faced by the employee is discussed in this phase.
Baumeister (2006) explained that there are different kinds of purposes behind training, few are organised to help the new employee so that they can get familiar with the hotel practices, and few also organised to improve their personal and professional skills.
• Apprentice training:
Few basic skills are necessary for the new employee while they are within the organisation. This is a kind of induction program which helps the new employee to develop a relationship among the peers, subordinates and management. This assists an employee to set up the right attitude for the job.
• Training involves certification
This kind of training test is entirely meant to motivate the employee in their job. At the end of the training program, special certificate is handover to those who has successfully completed the training process. The entire test is organised on the basis of practical and theoretical test.
• Simulation training
This training process is organized with a purpose to improve the effectiveness of the workforce by simulation.This helps to monitor and develop the methods of the work which an employee follow in their workplace. The departmental head plays an important as well significant role here by imparting the proper training skills.
• On-the-job training
On the job training is organized to improve the professional quality (e.g. Behavioral skills, problem handling ability, rules and principles of the organization etc.) are taught to the newcomers during such training process. This training process aims to develop an employee on how to manage the things in a quickest and efficient manner.
• Language training
These processes allow an employee to develop his communication skills. There are many customers comes in the hotel from the diversified cultural background. For appropriate communication, the employee needs a strong hold over the language where they communicate with their premium customer.

2.12 Staff training on an international perspective
As opined by Barsky (2010, p 30), “In common practice the business always used to take place at the international level in most of the hotels in London. Therefore, the staff training needs to be internationalized to satisfy the diversified need of the customer. Cross-cultural training needs to be taken into consideration while planning and designing the training.” During the international staff training “the training for learning” is quite necessary. During the international HRM, staff training takes place with various methods, attending courses and lectures in different school and the training centers. As the culture is a serious issue that need to be taken care very seriously to avoid any kind of cultural misunderstandings or conflicts. Role play, simulation, meetings, presentation etc need to be organised with the foreign employees to understand the situation better.


                                                                    Chapter -3

Case study

3.0 Introduction

The original Ritz-Carlton hotel exactly was built in Boston and Massachusetts in the year may 1927. The vision they able create among the consumer the organisation is the ultimate embodiment of royal atmosphere and treatment $15 per night. Gradually they have entered into the other area like New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Out of all their hotels, only Holes placed in Boston went for massive depression
Anderson (2005) explained that the hotel “Ritz Carlton “was an innovator and revolutionized the hospitality industry by creating a different kind of luxury setting in the USA. The hotel provided lighter fabric, private bath facility for the guest, thorough washing, apron uniforms black tie for the waiters, morning tea for the Maitre d’ and morning suits for the others. The hotel ambience was conducive; maintained a formal professional experience throughout the corridor and every room. Culinary skills of the cooks present in the hotel had been just a simply outstanding taste of the guest used to evaluate and the food was delivered in the best possible manner. A separate inner lobby was delivered to the guest to share their intimate personalized experience with each other.

3.1 Specialty of the hotel
O’Neill (2006) described that this hotel has certain unique features in terms of the guest reception. In the front desk, there is a presence of pretty welcome sweets. This creates a unique lasting impression for the guest. The hotel staff expression was (DTS) - delighted to service is so appealing that makes a Renaissance in the hospitality industry in the UK. The morning call in this hotel is also better and certain special features. Unlike other hotels it gives a wake-up call, the morning call here discussed the details about by telling about the local weather, local news. The room service keeps them different while they serve anything to the customer on an immediate basis. A basket is provided along with the product which makes the consumer happy. In the bar, the hotel has made special arrangement for the guest; who can use any specific gambling tool or can decide any preferred cocktail for him. The customer who is present in the large banquet and conference room is offered a small golden pineapple batch which is used as an identity proof. This helps the customer to call any specific individual by name.

Fig-2 Ritz-Carlton Hotel and UK

3.2 The Training System
The “Ritz Carlton” has various kinds of training facilities .On the job training constitute 15 minutes training in each department, which is discussing the different topic and schedule for each day. This training includes the cleaning table procedure, beverage knowledge, and greeting customers etc. As in the “Manilla white house” diversified range of customers used to come in different time of the year, so the staff need to get a proper training on the English communication skills. English training is organized once in a week. This encompasses speaking reading and written test and practical classes. Simultaneously role play is also organized as a part of the training program. The training program also constitutes for the leader and top and middle-level managers. The different kind of training based on organizational policy and strategy is delivered to them. The hotel has total 8 level of training which they considered as the “passport to success”. The total training module is subdivided into the 8 parts. The first level –level-1 the employee gets to know about the fundamentals of the hospitality industry understanding the organizational service spirit and culture etc. From the level 2, the entire employee’s knowledge about the hospitality industry will be tested. In fact a very common example of the level 2 where the employee knowledge about the safety aspect is tested on repeated occasions by placing them in different real life situation. As the length of the work grows the level of the training gradually grows to the next hierarchy position. In a periodic interval, all the earlier training level is reviewed or revised to remain updated with the changing customer demand. For example level, 5 delivers the idea about the room service and the basic standards maintained in the food or beverage services in rooms. A lengthy stay in the hotel allows an employee to undergo various kinds of training program. The passport to successfully complete all the level demonstrates the ability of the candidate in the hotel industry. This is a continuous process which helps to improve the ability and quality of the individual in a continuous manner (Anderson and Mittal, 2008).
3.3 Ritz-Carlton and the “Gold Standards” of Service Quality
The foundation of the hotel Ritz-Carlton is set of its gold standard. They operationalized different process and procedures and encompass the values and philosophies that include Credo, Motto, three steps service, service values and employee promise.

Research methodology

4.1 Overview
Research methodology can be defined as the set of procedures, rules and postulates that employed by a particular discipline.This focus on building a particular framework that is relevant and meaningful to conduct an inquiry in a particular field (Blaikie and Norman, 2009).
The chapter of this study itself provides a through quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis (i.e. The case study) in the hotel industry. The researcher had chosen the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as a case example which leads to the methods of data collection for the research conducted. Further, these triangulation methods were designed to measure with each method’s strengths and weaknesses. This chapter concludes with a discussion on data analysis and the reliability and validity issues with the data collection process (Bloor et al., 2006).

4.2 Research methods
The empirical analysis of the thesis has undergone through a quantitative as well as a qualitative analysis. Quantitative research is organised by taking the response from the respondent. Simultaneously qualitative interview was organised through focus group discussion and personal interview from the assistant human resource manager, training manager and supervisor etc.

4.3 Quantitative Research
Bryman (2009) mentioned that the quantitative research is organised to familiarize with the problem or the concept that perhaps need to be studied through the generation of hypothesis. The data would be collected from a large number of respondent with the help of a questionnaire and would be structured and tabulated in the excel sheet. The data is planned to collect from different food and beverage department staffs and feedback is structured and analysed by using spss 17 tool. George and Weimerskirch (2004) pointed out that this method helps to justify the clear and scientific view of the respondents about the role of training in building brand loyalty among the consumer.

4.4 Qualitative Research
As opined by Campbell and Fiskel (2009, p 106), “qualitative research helps to form a subjective view of the respondent. In the case of exploratory and descriptive design, this also assists management to take the important decision about the organisation strategy.” Instead of “why” this focuses on “how” Many occasion questionnaires fail to address the true subjective view of the respondents. In the hospitality industry the brand image and loyalty substantially controlled by the in-house training agenda. Sometimes this is quite difficult to explain over few multiple choice questions. Considering this researcher had planned that he would organise a through an in-depth interview and if time permits then a focus group discussion to get a collective view of the respondent.

4.5 Data Collection process
All the employees who are working in the food and beverage department and engage in housekeeping are in corporate inside the sample during the data collection process. A questionnaire with multiple option and open-ended are prepared to collect the response during the survey process. The qualitative research is designed by collecting the information from the interview. The questions on mentioned in the questionnaire would be divided into two major parts. Part-1 would be consist of the basic information based on the demographic profile of the respondent. Information based on Age, gender, previous education, and experience etc. would be considered in the first part the second part would illustrate their feeling about the training process and its possible impact on the brand loyalty (Caracelli, 2007).

4.5.1 Questionnaire and interview style
The researcher had already planned to design the interview question format before the proceeding. The entire questions are divided into three groups. The first section would base on the background information of the respondent ( age, sex, experience etc.). The second section consists of the purpose and goal of the training in the hotel.This would discuss whether at all it is possible to generate customer brand loyalty through such training programs. The third sections will expose certain queries about the scope of improvements in the existing training process.

The interview section would be planned to organise either through face to face or telephonic conversation from the manager involve in the HRM, training and housekeeping department.

4.5.2 Language would be used during the interview
Though the questionnaire and interview format is prepared in English, but research will also keep the option open for translation the questionnaire in another language for convenience.

4.6 Place and timing of the data collection
The data would be collected from the hotel staff mainly engage in the food and beverage department , researcher had also a plan to organise a focus group discussion among the manager of the respective to collect a subjective view. The researcher has planned to collect the entire primary data from 10.11.2013 to 25.011.2013

4.7 Sample design

4.7.1 Sample size
The total sample size planned for the research is 70 staff members for survey and 5 managers for interview /focus group discussion. Initially researcher had planned for 60 respondents but usually it had been seen that during the interview process (especially once it’s taken over a telephone) the response rate gone to as low as 20%.Keeping in mind researcher had decided to keep the sample size 70. Almost (10 -15)% irregular response would have expected from sample n any common scenario.

4.7.2 Type of data
The research is mainly based on both the primary and secondary data, The primary data which is planned to be collected from the respondent will cross-sectional in nature. The cross-sectional data would help to identify the deviation across the response as they would be considered in the same time frame. The secondary data or information which is collected during the case study will be longitudinal in nature.

4.7.3 Sampling method
Chowdhury and Anwarullah (2005) pointed out that sampling is a kind of statistical instrument which is utilized for Probability sampling (stratified) design would be used during the study.

4.8 Validity and Reliability analysis
Reliability of any analysis can be considered ideal provided if it is consistent for measurement. According to Creswell (2003), “any measurement is subjected to reliable provided the result or outcome will not change in case the experiment is repeated twice.” This can be estimated with the help of chron bach alpha test (>0.7).The validity of the result signifies the accuracy.The research would undergo a validity test to check if the process is accurately applied or the result is correctly interpreted during analysis (Denzin, 2007).

4.10 Ethical considerations
Then there are few important ethical areas would be considered while conducting such research. Initially taking the consent of the participant is quite important. Consent involves the procedure by which an individual may choose whether or not to participate in a study. This is the responsibility of the researcher to involve the respondent by taking his/her consent in this study. The information was planned to deliver in such a manner so that the respondent could get the right substance. The researcher had planned to deter him from any kind of investigation that could make a potential harm to participants. Amstrong et al. (2009) pointed out that the approach would involve the comparison of the potential benefits. If the cost /benefits ratio of the information collected from the source is outweighing the potential benefits then such process would be strongly discouraged. All kinds of ethical issues would have been considered the research data collected from various sources during the study of the research would be used for academic purpose only and not for any kind of commercial use. All the participants considered in the due course will not be forced to participate. The researcher is hereby ensuring that the confidentiality of all the data will be maintained (Bakers, 2011).

4.11 Timescale – Gantt chart




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Posted by: Partha Sarathi Sarkar. in General | Date: 04/02/2016

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