1.1 Background of the study
In pursuit of better employee performance and customer satisfaction, organizations are looking for and investing in strategies to enhance output. Heterogeneity being a key characteristic of services, service firms are determined to optimize their employees’ output in order to ensure that their customers are always contented as a result of consuming quality delivered services (James and Mona, 2011). Service firms are thus implementing Quality Control (QC) in their operations so as to ensure that their employees always perform their tasks right the first time and that their customers’ expectations are always met or exceeded after consumption of the firm’s products or services.
Quality control techniques, their capabilities and limitations should never by themselves dictate the employees’ performance. It is by weaving these quality control techniques into the fabric of the employees operations that a company can bring the most value from its employee performance as observed by Aquilano and Chase (1991). A service firm that therefore integrates quality control systems directly into its employees’ operations stands the best chance to optimize its employee goals, and thus increase customer satisfaction. Therefore, the best model for better employee performance is to fully integrate all its quality control systems and its employees operations into one set of intimately linked processes.
With customers in the service market being not only cautious with the quality of products and services they consume, but also in the manner in which the latter is delivered, and them being also key participants in the delivery system of the service, organizations are forced to implement quality control techniques in their operations in order to assist and ensure that their employees perform their respective tasks the right way the first time. Quality control thus assists and ensures that the employees are able to meet or exceed their customers’ expectations of the service or product by delivering the services or products effectively, that is in the quality expected by the customers (Aquilano and Chase, 1991).
1.1.1 Quality Control
Quality control is a procedure or set of procedures intended to ensure that a manufactured products or performed service adheres to a defined set of quality criteria or meets the
- 1 -
requirements of the customer (Oakland, 1986). According to Evans and Lindsay (2002), quality control is a management system for initiating and coordinating quality development, quality maintenance and quality improvement in various departments of design and manufacturing, for achieving the twin objectives of economical production and customer satisfaction.
In pursuit of efficiency in operational performance by organizations in terms of reduction of the total cost of quality, organizations recognize the need to implement quality control in their operations especially at the point of manufacture or operation, and not only at the final product or service stage. Organizations have it right to apply cost-effective control techniques to ensure that all goods and services are generated correctly the first time. The logic is not to ask whether the job has been done correctly, instead the prudent question to always ask first is: can we do the job correctly? (Oakland, 1986).
With increased competition and consumer awareness of quality, organizations are implementing quality control techniques in their operations to ensure that they perform their operations, production and delivery of their goods or services, correctly the first time. Examples of quality control techniques that can be implemented by organizations to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of its operations in terms of providing products and services that are dependable, satisfactory and economical, ensuring economic production of products and delivery of services of uniform quality acceptable to the customer, and preventing the occurrence of defect products or service, include; Quality at the source, Inspection, Statistical Quality Control (SQC), Quality Circle, and Total Quality Management (TQM) (Barnes, 2008).
1.1.2 Employee Performance
Effective performance management is designed to enhance performance, identify performance requirements, provide feedback relevant to those requirements and assist with career development (Ainsworth, Smith and Millership, 2008). The idea is that performance management is best served by developing a system that is interactive and capable of resolving performance related issues. Organizations make investments in their human capital to improve performance and target higher niches in the market through delivery of high quality services (Appelbaum, Bailey and Berg, 2000).Employee performance affects the overall performance of an organization and its bottom-line (Purcell and Hutchison 2007).
- 2 -
Employee performance is influenced by motivation. Armstrong (2009) points out that motivation is concerned with the strength and direction of behavior and the factors that influence people to behave in certain ways. Buchner (2007) points to control theory as a basis for critically assessing performance feedback provided through performance management. Stearns and Aldag (1987) define feedback as information that is received about activities in the organization. The information about activities is fed back to key decision makers who then use it to correct situations in the organization. On-going feedback and support are considered an absolute necessity though the extent to which it takes place is questionable (Coens and Jenkins, 2000). The annual appraisal remains the dominant mechanism whereby objectives are set and feedback is provided (Armstrong, 2009). In situations where performance is less than expected a reappraisal will allow employees to see how their performance is reviewed and what is required to engender improved performance (Williams, 2002).
1.1.3. Hospitality industry
Hospitality is the relationship process, presentation, formality and procedure experienced between a visitor/ customer/ guest and a host. It specifically includes the reception and entertainment of those who require or invited to experience an organization's service. Taking all this into account is in order so as to provide excellent customer service. The way in which different cultures and subcultures expect to be treated in terms of the hospitality offered wavers greatly and it is important that hospitality is measured in terms of what the customer expects as opposed to what the employees themselves expect (HYPERLINK www.blurtit.com, accessed on July 21, 2014).
According to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS 2012), the hospitality industry is classified as part of the larger service-providing industry and is divided into two sectors: food and accommodation services and arts and entertainment. The hotel and restaurant industries are included within the food and accommodation sector. People who work at an amusement park are included within the arts and entertainment sector. Within the food and accommodation sector, there are two sub-sectors: accommodation and food services and drinking places. Establishments such as hotels, which provide customers with lodging, and places that prepare meals, snacks or beverages for immediate consumption are considered hospitality establishments. Job descriptions within the food and beverage hospitality industry include hotel,
- 3 -
1.1.4. The Hospitality industry in Kenya
The Kenyan hospitality industry evolved at the coast due to Arab traders and the railway line construction workers. Their presence necessitated the building of the first catering establishment at the coast which was known as the Grand Hotel of Mombasa built at the present site of Manor Hotel (Kamau and Waudo, 2012). After the country fell under the British colonization, there was need to access Uganda and the railway was constructed leading to more catering units being established along the railway line for the workers. By 1960, some hotels such as Norfolk had reached international five stars rating. Later in 1975, hospitality training was also started at Kenya Utalli College but as Mayaka (2005) reports, had a limited capacity. To supply the growing demand, there was proliferation of private and public universities and colleges which had a varied curriculum (Waudo, 2012).
Kenya has 485 licensed hotels of international standards to choose from. Kenya hotels present the most diverse range of accommodation to suit every taste. Class, elegance, ambiance and quality service are the major distinguishing factors of Kenya‘s hotels and game lodges (Kenya Space, 2008).
Kenya hotels are graded in accordance with the star classifications system. They range from the small town hotels to the five star town and beach hotels. The criteria for classification are complex but include the size and fittings in bedrooms, the extent of services, the quality of food, the available recreational facilities and the hotel's location (HYPERLINK www.safariweb.com, accessed on July 21, 2014).The Hotels & Restaurants Authority (HRA) under the Ministry of Tourism is charged with the responsibility of classification. This classification brings about categories such as 5 star, 4 star, 3 star approved with continuous control on the quality of services offered. Hotels can also be classified on the basis of nature which brings about categories such as heritage hotels, beach resort hotels, wild resort hotels, government approved hotels, residential hotels, and commercial hotels (Ng’ang’a, 2013).
The InterContinental Hotel Group began on 4th April 1946 when Pan American World Airways launched their international hotel brand: InterContinental Hotels with the first opening in Belém, Brazil (HYPERLINK www.ihg.com, accessed on July 21, 2014)
The InterContinental Nairobi is managed by the InterContinental Hotel and Resorts, a brand of the InterContinental Hotel Group. It began in 1969 when the main building was opened, which contained 210 rooms, followed by an extension of 222 rooms in 1978. The InterContinental Nairobi is rated as a five-star hotel that currently boasts of 380 guest rooms, 62 club rooms, 17 luxury suites, 9 meeting rooms, 3 restaurants and 3 bars. It was first refurbished in 1995, covering the initial 210 rooms with most recent refurbishment happening in 2007 which covered 151 rooms (Intercontinental hotel - Nairobi, Company Profile, accessed on July 21, 2014).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Quality control costs a lot of money for the service industries as well as the government. Studies by Kellog et al (1997) have shown that service quality control has been receiving much attention because of its positive relationship to costs. It is therefore imperative to understand the context of quality in the hospitality industry and what its indicators are within individual organizations.
The challenges associated with implementing quality control are significant as the key to service quality is to meet or exceed consumer expectations. One problem with measuring customers’ satisfaction is that there may often be discrepancies between the consumer’s viewpoints and the provider’s understandings of what constitutes quality service (Pariseau and McDaniel, 1997). Any differences between consumer viewpoints and the organization’s perception of consumer viewpoints on quality are important to identify and determine the level and quality of the service provided (Douglas and Connor, 2003).
Previously scholars have tried to look at the link between quality management practices and organizational performance. Feng, Terziovski and Samson (2008) in their paper on the relationship of ISO 9001:2000 quality system certification with operational and business performance, examined manufacturing and service companies in Australia and New Zealand. The reports’ central finding was that ISO 9001 certification has a positive and significant effect on operational performance, but a weak effect on business performance. The latter point lead the
- 5 -
report to conclude that ISO 9000 certification by itself does not lead to improvement in business performance, a commonly held view, but there are such a variety of factors on company performance. Waldman (1994) looked at the contributions of total quality management to a theory of work performance and found that the system was viewed as affecting performance by indirectly enhancing aspects of the person interacting with the person in terms of person/system fit, and constraining performance at lower hierarchical levels and in jobs lacking autonomy. He thus recommended that both person and system factors must be considered simultaneously when modeling the determinants of performance.
Locally, Sokoro (2012) researched on the factors that influence employee performance in Kenya Wildlife Services. He found that that both organization and individual factors affect the overall effectiveness of employee performance. The three biggest factors were organizational structure, an enabling work environment and incentives.
Quality Control is implemented by management and needs a solid organizational structure to support it. Previous studies have not focused on quality control methods and employee performance in the hospitality industry. This study therefore seeks to find out how quality control methods impacts on employees performance within the hospitality industry in Kenya.
1.3 Research Objectives
The general objective of this study is to find out the impact of quality control on employees performance while the specific objectives of this study are:
1.4. Value of the Study
This paper contributes towards building of literature on the relationship of quality control implementation and employees’ performance especially on how to utilize QC techniques towards