Is the Hospitality and Tourism Curriculum Effective in Teaching Personal Social Responsibility?

Robert Douglas McKercher, Murray Mackenzie, Bruce Prideaux, Sharon Pang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This study assesses how well hospitality and tourism programs instill a sense of personal social responsibility among their students. Climate change is used as a representative example of a global environmental issue to measure attitudes of students who have taken subjects such as ethics, sustainability, social responsibility, impacts, sustainable planning, and environmental studies with students who have not taken subjects of this nature. The article compares the views of a sample of 2,436 students in 21 economies. The results reveal that the student cohort that took subjects on ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility were no more likely to express stronger environmental attitudes or change their environmental behaviors than the cohort that had not taken subjects of this nature. Surprisingly, counterintuitive results were revealed, whereby students who had taken subjects that incorporated aspects of personal social responsibility exhibited no greater tendency to accept personal responsibility. Instead, both groups were equally likely to transfer blame to an ethereal “other.” The study concludes by suggesting that a major rethink of sustainability and social consciousness raising subjects is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-462
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • climate change
  • curriculum
  • curriculum design
  • ethics
  • personal responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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