Underestimating Turnover: A Cross Sectional Study in the Danish Hotel Industry

Per John Johansson & Troels Damgaard Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In an industry where personal contacts and relations are key aspects of the service offering retaining staff and thus the experience is of utmost importance to maintaining stability. Hence, it can be perceived as quite devastating that the Hotel industry seems to have such an issue retaining its staff. Because of this overarching issue with high turnover and low retention level, the question at hand is what impact does such turnover have on the service quality of the hotel? To approach this question a cross-sectional study was created aimed at investigating the perceptions towards employee turnover and retention in the Danish Hotel industry. This allowed the study to produce a contemporary picture of the perceptions, taking the current situation of Covid-19 into account. Two sets of data were gathered, one qualitative set from interviews with Hotel managers and one quantitative set derived from a survey sent out to front-line employees from the entire country including the hotels we had interviewed the managers from. To generate a theoretical understanding streams of literature from service management, hotel management, marketing, and management were utilized. Furthermore, for the scope of the theoretical framework, the Service Profit Chain (Heskett et al. 1994; Heskett, Sasser & Wheeler, 2008; Hogreve et al. 2017) and Service Climate (Hong et al. 2013; Schneider, White, and Paul, 1998; He, Wenli & Lai, 2011) was chosen as these constructs are concerned with expanding the importance of the employees in regard to the service quality. The findings showed that the managers acknowledge the existence of employee turnover in the Danish hotel industry but did not perceive it to be a significant challenge. This was due to better working conditions through contractual agreements, flat organizational structures, and cultural values. The perception by the managers that employee turnover was not a significant challenge in the Danish hotel industry was contradicting the quantitative findings from the front-line employees. Here, the findings showed that only 7% did not find employee turnover as a factor in the Danish hotel industry. Thus, our findings indicated that employee turnover can be considered as being partly an underestimated factor. This was furthermore backed as our findings showed that turnover is acknowledged to have a negative impact on the service quality and employee engagement can have a positive effect on employee retention thus impacting the service quality.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages119
SupervisorsErik Braun