Problems of Monetary Rewards in Tourist Organizations: Rent-A-Car Sectors in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Problems of Monetary Rewards in Tourist Organizations: Rent-A-Car Sectors in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Maximiliano Emanuel Korstanje (University of Palermo, Argentina)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4330-6.ch005


Over years, management and marketing have been influential and useful to organize the working condition in modern corporations in tourism fields. The classical literature suggests that motivated workers enhance their commitment to the goal of the corporation. In this process, the assistance of managers is vital to achieve the success. In doing so, the program of incentive (monetary awards) gives to workers a reason to internalize management decisions. This not only is not truth, but also, we have found in this case-study opposite evidence. The capital somehow disorganizes the human relations and harmony in service organizations. Of course outcomes of this review should not be extrapolated to other unit of analysis; this is valid only for this organization.
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In recent years, specialized literature stresses the needs of implementing efficient methods to motivate workers and desk-staff. Studies published in these fields indicate that psychological motivation occupies a central position in the enhancement of production. Of course, the industry of tourism seems not to be an exemption. The customer´s satisfaction plays a leading role in the configuration of a commercial campaign oriented to gain and retain loyalties. For this reason, tourist companies devote considerable resources and time to keep their desk-staff motivated. In many cases, desk-staff is pressed or subject to countless deprivations such as low-salaries, excessive working hours and distress (Ross, 2006; Deery & Jago 2009). Not surprisingly, some voices have alerted on the negative consequences of monetary rewards when they are not combined with non-monetary rewards (Lafont & Tirole 1991).

The present chapter explores the contradictions and limitations monetary rewards in tourist organizations with strong foci in rent-a-car services, a particular sub-sector of the tourism industry which remains unchecked. The chapter focuses on two auto-ethnographies conducted in a well-known rent-a-car company geographically located in Buenos Aires city, Argentina. Because of confidentiality, real names of interviewees, as well as the company, will not be revealed. Ethnography was the correct method selected in this research because of two main motives. On one hand, motivation is a complex phenomenon which is associated with fear and retaliation, above all when managers realize the desk staff's discontent. On another, desk-staff often lies to protect their interests or are unfamiliar with their inner-life.

We start from the original premise that corporations often adopt monetary rewards to incentives their personnel but in so doing, they trigger a climate of extreme competition, greed and fear which directly or not affects the organization. At a closer look, management history shows workers and capital-owners´ relationships have varied on time and culture, but the inter-class conflict remains stable in the time. Originally, those policies oriented to enhance economic production were centered on a paternalist viewpoint and culture, which paved the ways for the rise of quantitative methods and instruments to control and measure –rather than understanding the worker. In a post-Fordist world, the philosophy of measuring, which is encrypted in tourism management, speaks us of the needs of optimizing labor relations to improve efficiency. In this process, sociology and psychology were of paramount importance for capital-owners to understand the workforce (Davis 2006).

Having said this, I want to remark the auto-ethnography was conducted during 2004 and 2008. In so doing, the role of ethnographer was covert. We gathered substantial evidence which described the complexity of human behavior, above all in a climate of competence and conflict. The fear of retaliation or labor sanctions by the side of managers was the common-thread argument in interviewees. We headed the research with basis on a snow-ball method and interviews were finely tape-recorded and verbatim transcribed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Tourism Management: IT consists in a net of techniques and disciplines oriented to keep the tourist system functioning.

Monetary Rewards: A system of motivation oriented to pay workers money in basis of their level of production or performances.

Rent-A-Car: Subindustry within service and tourist sector that offers the renting of cars to clients and drivers.

Labor Relations: This refers to an academic field that often studies different inter-personal relations in working conditions.

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