An exploration of employee engagement and employee commitment in the London hotel sector
: the perspectives of migrant housekeeping workers and their managers

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research focuses on the workers employed in the hotel housekeeping sector in London, with the aim to understand the workers’ experiences of and perceptions towards work and the factors that shape their decisions to stay and commit to the organisation or leave. This research also captures the management’s side of the story. Even though hospitality is one of the largest industries in the UK economy with an alarmingly high staff turnover rate, there is a scarcity of research that investigates the turnover intention among hotel housekeeping workers in recent years. This research topic addresses this gap in the literature.

The research adopts a pragmatic approach, by combining qualitative and quantitative methods, and applying non-probability, convenience sampling technique to collect data form 57 hotels. Quantitative data collected from 106 migrant housekeeping workers through survey questionnaires are analysed to identify factors that positively or negatively influence workers’ turnover intention. Statistical test results revealed that factors that negatively affect turnover intentions are mainly the intrinsic job attributes, such as good manager-worker relationship, work appreciation and work enjoyment. Therefore, the intrinsic job attributes were found to outweigh the extrinsic ones in contributing positively to the formation of employee engagement and commitment to the organisation. The demographic variables found to positively contribute to turnover intentions are job position and time spent in the UK.

Qualitative data collected by interviewing 53 housekeeping managers are analysed to understand the manager’s role in the employment relationship at two levels: the relationship that the managers maintain with their staff at the micro or departmental-level and the Human Resource Management practices that they implement at the macro or organisational-level.
The data revealed that the majority of the managers maintain superior quality work relationships with their staff; however, their perceptions about engagement and commitment provided mixed and inconsistent results. Data confirmed the application of hard HRM practices in the hotel housekeeping context disregarding workers’ basic psychological needs, thus, negatively impacting the development of work engagement and commitment to the organisation, and positively promoting staff turnover.

The findings derived from this mixed-methods research are significant because they addressed the gap in the literature by providing a holistic understanding of hotel housekeeping workers’ interpretation of work and management. This can be expedient for management to understand workers’ perceptions in terms of their priorities, which directly influence their level of engagement and commitment and indirectly affect turnover intentions.
Date of AwardSept 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorEugenia Markova (Supervisor) & Surbhi Sehgal (Supervisor)

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