A study of waiters' occupational identity and its effect on staff turnover within the context of Michelin-starred restaurants in London

Jerez, Maria (2019) A study of waiters' occupational identity and its effect on staff turnover within the context of Michelin-starred restaurants in London. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This study aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between waiters’ occupational identity and its antecedents. The consequences of occupational identity on work engagement and employee turnover are explored.

The development of occupational identity includes progressing, transforming, conserving, emphasising or evaluating existing identities; consequently, instead of considering the formation of identity as a simple procedure of accepting a work position, occupational identity is an interactive and problematic procedure. Occupational identity is not a rigid construct but is constantly shaped by engagement with the values of companies and occupational life. Traditionally, research has concentrated on the merely operational aspect of workers’ jobs. In contrast, this research aims to concentrate on waiters’ sense of self and their identity in the workplace. Additionally, limited studies have focused on the relationship between occupational identity, its antecedents and consequences.

This study applies a mixed-methodology, with predominion of quantitative approach, which is reinforced by understandings from an exploratory process which includes in-depth interiews and focus groups discussions. The conceptual model was created from the existing literature and qualitative study. In the second phase, the same conceptual model was adopted to assess waiters’ perceptions in the context of Michelin-starred restaurnats in London. A sample of 398 participants permitted multivariate analysis of data to be undertaken. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed, Cronbach-alpha and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were also performed to guarantee that the scales developed and adapted were strong in terms of reliability and validity. Structural equation modelling (SEM) allowed the hypotheses between constructs to be scrutinised. The model established a good fit to the data, good convergent, discriminant and nomological validity and reliability.

Founded on the statistical outcomes and the qualitative study (in-depth interviews and focus groups and the related literature), this study has found that, apart from employer branding, other antecedent factors, such as passion and authenticity, influence favourably the occupational identity of waiters. Additionally, the relationship between occupational identity and the consequences were assessed; the outcomes of the hypotheses checking established that occupational identity has a better effect on work engagement and turnover. Furthermore, the relationship between occupational identity, work engagement and turnover was confirmed. However, an unforeseen result was that the relationship between extroversion, education, interference and stereotype toward occupation identity were not significant. Overall, this thesis concludes that presenting occupational identity is a complex phenomenon.

This study is one of the pioneers in systematic research which has operationalised and conceptualised the meaning of occupational identity, its antecedents and its consequences. This evaluation is estimated to be valuable in progressing existing understanding by providing theoretic consideration to the literature. The level of measurement and conceptualisation of the theory generalisation and testing theory as a principal influence of this thesis was to present a comprehensive overview of the perspectives of waiters on their occupational identity. Additionally, it is expected that this research will provide a significant contribution to the managerial knowledge and consideration of the policy-makers and employers about the holistic correlation between a positive occupational identity, its antecedents and its principal consequences. A well-defined perception of the magnitudes of the principal meanings would assist employers to contemplate occupational identities which are more likely to develop a favourable occupational identity and consequently to reduce employee turnover.

This thesis has developed knowledge and understanding of the formation of occupational identity and its antecedents and consequences, although the outcomes are not without some limitations in the approach of sampling, analysis, and measurement. Recommendations are provided to stimulate further research to expand the innovative investigations of this study on occupational identity, its antecedents and consequences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Theses
Item ID: 27955
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 08:19
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 20:06
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/27955

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