Attitude towards EMSs in an international hotel: An exploratory case study

Siu Wa Eric Chan, R. Hawkins Rebecca

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

156 Citations (Scopus)


Research into environmental management systems (EMSs) began in the late 1990s with studies that focused on the driving forces, costs and benefits and nature of such systems. However, in the hotel and tourism field, very little research has been conducted on EMSs, except for a few studies on environmental management, such as the environmental protection practices and environmental performance of hotels. In recognition of this gap, this research studies the impact of an EMS on hotel employees whose working attitude directly affects the services provided to guests. To develop a richer and deeper understanding of the impact of EMSs on hotel employees, a qualitative case study was employed in which data were collected from three levels of employees - executive, supervisory and general - at an international hotel. A series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews was conducted and relevant company documents were collected for analysis.The findings reveal the EMS to have had both positive and negative impacts on hotel employees, which were triggered by several human resource factors, organisational motivations to adopt an EMS and adoption outcomes. Although EMSs can help promote a bottom-up approach to change within predominantly top-down cultures, a top-down approach to EMS implementation was found to be more suitable for a hotel with a predominantly Chinese workforce because of cultural issues. In addition, low employee involvement in the planning stage did not appear to affect employee commitment to an EMS as long as the correct organisational motivation for implementing the system was communicated to employees.This study provides a framework for hospitality researchers to conduct similar research in the future, which will help the industry to better understand the impact of EMS implementation on internal stakeholders, namely, employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-651
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Case study
  • Employees
  • EMS
  • Hotel industry
  • Perceptions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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