Elizabeth Ho, Prada Singapore, under the supervision of Steven L. McShane, The University of Western Australia
The Regency Grand Hotel is a five-star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. The hotel was established fifteen years ago by a local consortium of investors and has been operated by a Thai general manager throughout this time. The hotel is one of Bangkok's most prestigious hotels, and its 700 employees enjoyed the prestige of being associated with the hotel. The hotel provided good welfare benefits, above-market-rate salary and job security. In addition, a good year-end bonus amounting to four months' salary was rewarded to employees regardless of the hotel's overall performance during the year.
Recently, the Regency was sold to a large American hotel chain that was very keen to expand its operations into Thailand. When the acquisition was announced, the general manager decided to take early retirement when the hotel changed ownership. The American hotel chain kept all of the Regency employees, although a few were transferred to other positions. John Becker, an American with ten years of management experience with the hotel chain, was appointed as the new general manager of the Regency Grand Hotel. Becker was selected as the new general manager because of his previous successes in integrating newly acquired hotels in the United States. In most of the previous acquisitions, Becker took over operations with poor profitability and low morale.
Becker is a strong believer in empowerment. He expects employees to go beyond guidelines and standards to consider guest needs on a case-by-case basis. That is, employees must be guest-oriented at all times to provide excellent customer service. From his US experience, Becker has found that empowerment increases employee motivation, performance and job satisfaction, all of which contribute to the hotel's profitability and customer service ratings. Soon after becoming...