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An Integrated Research Review of Ethics Articles in Hospitality Journals 1990 to 2000

Christine Jaszay, Ph.D. Associate Professor Director of the Marion W. Isbell Endowment for Hospitality Ethics

Northern Arizona University May 20,200l


The purpose of this paper is to review and assess the hospitality literature on ethics to result in a synthesis of the material. At the onset, it was assumed that there were many articles on the topic of ethics in the various hospitality journals over the past ten years. The researcher was interested in determining a summary view, which could serve as a basis for future applied research and practical application of the results. Method The Lodging, Restaurant, and Tourism Index out of Purdue University was used as the only source of hospitality journals. Articles were found under the key word heading of “Business Ethics”’ and were collected and read from the years 1990 through 2000. Thirty-three hospitality journals contained a total of 117 articles on ethics over the ten-year time period. Once all the articles were read and analyzed, the qualitative methodology of allowing the topic areas to emerge from the data was utilized, and nine topic areas were delineated. The topic areas were rearranged in an order that represented a sequential flow of the topics. Relationships between topic areas and journal titles and publication dates were looked at for evidence of obvious trends and/or interest continuity. The articles in each topic area were rearranged until a reasonable order and outline emerged. The researcher was not looking for any particular results or findings, satisfied with simply accepting and organizing the writings of others with the expectation that conclusions could eventually be drawn from the processing and synthesizing of the materials. Description of the Data Figure 1 lists the topic areas and the total number of articles for each topic area. Figure 2 provides a visual overview of the total number of articles written in each journal, their publishing dates, and topics. Figure 3 shows the total number of hospitality journal articles on ethics each year for the ten-year period. Three of the four journals with the most articles on ethics were Successful Meetings, Meeting News, and Meetings & Conventions. The ethical behavior of meeting planners and the inherent ethical dilemmas they face are prime concerns of the meeting planning industry with 32 of 117 articles (27%) devoted to ethics in meeting planning. . Twenty-nine of the 32 articles fell in the first three topic areas which have to do with identifying unethical behavior and taking individual personal action to make ethical decisions. While more ethics articles appeared in the hospitality journals between 1990 and 1994 than from 1994 to 2000, the differences were small, there weren’t enough articles, and the time period wasn’t long enough to draw valid conclusions (see Figure 3). Figure 2 is of interest in terms of who did what when, but trends or conclusions are not readily apparent. Unlike the articles on ethics in hotels or restaurants, the articles on tourism ethics did not fit in any of the other content areas (see Figure 1). The tourism articles were like the tree in “hammer, saw, screwdriver, tree” - important but not directly related. Review of the Tonics Each of the nine topic areas were thoroughly reviewed so that anyone wishing to know what has gone on in the hospitality journals in terms of ethics in the last ten years could read this one article in lieu of all 117 articles. Unethical Actions (Topic 1)

Twenty-seven of the 117 articles (23%) fell in the “Unethical Actions” category. Of the 27 articles in Topic One, 17 (63%) were from the journals of the meetings industry (Successful Meetings, Meetings & Conventions, and Meeting News). Planning the meetings and conventions which contributed an estimated $56 billion to the U.S. economy in 1991 is extremely time consuming, expensive, and...
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