Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Susan W. Arendt


Many individuals have worked in the hospitality industry such as serving in a restaurant or housekeeping in a hotel. Individuals have different motives for applying for a hospitality job, and those motives may lead them to perceive the hospitality job differently and behave differently in the hospitality work environment. This study explored employees' work motives based on McClelland's theory of needs, and investigated the effect of work motives on work behaviors (e.g., organizational citizenship behaviors) and attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction and organizational commitment). The study employed a mixed methods approach. First, in-depth individual interviews were conducted with 11 employees from different hospitality segments to explore hospitality employees' work motives. Four themes emerged from analyses of these interviews: job itself, need for achievement, need for affiliation, and need for power. Based on these four themes, a work motive measurement scale was developed. This scale, along with other scales adopted from the literature, was used to develop a paper questionnaire. Data were collected from 388 current and former employees (65.7% response rate) from various hospitality segments (e.g., foodservice and lodging). Data analysis showed that employee work motives have a strong influence on job satisfaction (â= .50, p < .001) and on the presence of organizational citizenship behaviors (â= .43, p < .001). Moreover, job satisfaction strongly and positively influenced organizational commitment (â= .83, p < .001) and organizational commitment positively influence organizational citizenship behavior (â= .28, p < .001). This study provides important evidence of the value of investigating applicants' motives for applying for a job because work motives are strongly related to their work behaviors and attitudes. Interview questions designed to elicit information about individuals' motives for applying for a hospitality job should be included when developing or designing selection and hiring processes. By understanding applicants' work motives, employers can better assess whether applicants are a good fit for the unique characteristics of hospitality jobs and culture, and whether positive job performance can be expected from them.


Copyright Owner

Yu-Shan Liu



File Format


File Size

227 pages