Applying Big Data with Fuzzy DEMATEL to Discover the Critical Factors for Employee Engagement in Developing Sustainability for the Hospitality Industry under Uncertainty

Applying Big Data with Fuzzy DEMATEL to Discover the Critical Factors for Employee Engagement in Developing Sustainability for the Hospitality Industry under Uncertainty

Kuo-Jui Wu (Dalian University of Technology, China), Li Cui (Dalian University of Technology, China), Ming-Lang Tseng (Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan), Jiayao Hu (The University of Nottingham, UK) and Pham Minh Huy (Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 36
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0956-1.ch012
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The hospitality industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. The growth of this industry has been accompanied by issues of sustainability development. Employees expect firms to have the ability to address their negative impacts on the environment and society. However, firms are generally unable to reach such expectations due to an inability to acquire feedback from employees, which leads to employee dissatisfaction. In addition, there has been a lack in the theoretical linkage between employee engagement and sustainability development. Thus, this study determines the critical factors of employee engagement based on big data (using social media and quantitative and qualitative data) and integrates such data by using decision-making tests and laboratory evaluation methods to identify these interrelationships. The findings reveal that sustainability development can be enhanced through aggressive employee engagement, which also can generate a positive influence on economic performance. A detailed discussion is also presented.
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The hospitality industry is one of the top service industries, and it provides the highest annual employment (15%) (Martínez et al., 2013). The hospitality industry generates employment and economic growth for local communities. However, to satisfy its expanding growth needs, the industry has had several negative impacts on the environment and society, including environmental degradation, unsatisfied customers, unstable and seasonal employment, and non-compliance with fundamental labor standards (Agarwal, 2002). Therefore, firms in the hospitality industry should take more responsibility with regard to social and environmental issues and minimize their negative impacts on sustainable development (Martínez et al., 2013). Social media has become an essential channel for employees to spread information about firm performance and sustainability development (Wu et al., 2016). Therefore, firms are expected to take more responsibility concerning such feedback and make the appropriate reflections to prevent negative impacts (O’Shaughnessy et al., 2007; Park & Ghauri, 2015). If firms ignore employee feedback, they may encounter problems with job satisfaction and employee engagement, which will result in lower productivity and decreased service quality (Bhattacharya et al., 2008).

In the literature, employee engagement refers to a situation in which employees feel satisfied in their work: if employees are satisfied, they will invest more effort and become more loyal to a firm (Schaufeli et al., 2002). Two triggers can lead to effective employee engagement: job satisfaction and job commitment (Schneider et al., 2005; Shuck & Wollard, 2009). These triggers occur only when employees consider their firm to be a worthwhile place to work and are proud of it (Alfalla-Luque et al., 2012). Once firms use such triggers, employees would voluntarily give greater effort and would prefer to cooperate in performing their job automatically, thus increasing the probability that the firm will attain better economic performance (Richman, 2006; Jung et al., 2010; Kuo, 2013). Similarly, the engagement of employees is a great motivation for firms to become concerned with the environment and social initiatives (O'Shaughnessy et al., 2007). Park and Ghauri (2015) indicated that employees are the primary actors who actively encourage firms to take action in environmental protections and social issues in the development of sustainability. Hence, employee engagement is a critical element for firms to improve sustainability (Richman, 2006; Karatepe, 2013; Thompson & Mathys, 2013).

Some studies have indicated that efforts by firms to develop sustainability helps raise job satisfaction and encourage employee engagement (Turker, 2009; Kim et al., 2010; Rego et al., 2010; Lee et al., 2012). Several studies have suggested that the practices of firms in protecting the environment increase employee awareness and make their work meaningful, which can also boost employee engagement (Rodrigo & Arenas, 2008; Ellemers et al., 2011). However, Farooq et al. (2014) argued that employees differ in their level of response to different types of initiatives. Although environmental initiatives are important to achieve sustainability for firms, employees pay attention to the economic benefits and social initiatives that can improve their welfare, rather than focus on environmental issues (Farooq et al., 2013; Farooq et al., 2014). Accordingly, Ferreira and de Oliveira (2014) emphasized that employees barely respond when firms engage in social initiatives that do not directly reflect their interests. Given that there is a gap in the literature with regard to the relationship between sustainability and employees, a study is needed to provide a theoretical basis to strengthen our understanding of the satisfaction and engagement of employees. Hence, two questions are proposed to clarify the gap in this area of research:

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