Cultural Diversity in Hospitality Work: the Northern Ireland Experience

Frances Devine, Tom Baum, Adrian Devine, Niamh Hearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


International workers are a growing category of employees in the hospitality industry of Northern Ireland (NI). The retention and skills shortages of the industry are significant factors in facilitating this increase. Thus, international workers could be an invaluable new source of labour for the hospitality industry, provided that they are properly looked after and managed. However, little is known about the number of people moving to Northern Ireland to take up work in the hospitality industry. This paper sets out to answer some of the “unknowns” - including nationality, demographic characteristics, educational, employment and economic background. The paper draws on data collected through a survey of migrant workers in nine hotels in Northern Ireland and focus groups with migrant employees in all of the survey establishments. Issues of social integration within the workforce and the wider community as well as the future that migrant workers see for themselves are discussed from a human resource perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-349
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Reference text: 1. Anon. 2005. Welcome Workshop for Overseas Workers. Hotel and Catering Review, May: 12
2. Baum, T. 2006. Managing People in International Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, London: Thomson.
3. Baum, T. and Devine, F. 2005. Skills and the Service Sector: The Case of Hotel Front Office Employment in Northern Ireland. : 14–15. June, Portrush
4. Baum, T. and Odgers, P. 2001. Benchmarking Best Practice in Hotel Front Office: The Western European Experience. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism, 2(3/4): 93–109. [Taylor & Francis Online]
5. Christensen-Hughes, J. 1992. Cultural Diversity: The Lesson of Toronto's Hotels. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 33(2): 78–87.
6. D'Netto, B. and Sohal, A. 1999. Human Resource Practices and Workforce Diversity: An Empirical Assessment. International Journal of Manpower, 20(8): 530–47. [CrossRef], [Web of Science ®]
7. Dawn. 2004. Managing Diversity in the Workplace Handbook, Focusing on the Employment of Migrant Workers, Dublin: Chambers of Commerce of Ireland.
8. Dooley, C. 2005. Filipino on 1 Euro an Hour in Ferry Row. The Irish Times, 25: 7
9. Fáilte Ireland. 2005. Cultural Diversity Strategy and Implementation Plan, Dublin: Fáilte Ireland.
10. Foley, A. and Fahy, J. 2004. Incongruity between Expression and Experience: The Role of Imagery in Supporting the Positioning of a Tourism Destination Brand. Journal of Brand Management, 11(3): 209–17. [CrossRef]
11. Glynn, E. and Bradfield, P. (2005) ‘Ethnic Drive In Ballymena’. Newsletter, 18 June, online at: [accessed 23 June 2005].
12. Hickey, S. 2005. Filipino “1 Euro-an-hour” Worker on Ship Until Pay Row Resolved. Sunday Independent, 27: 3
13. Holmquist, K. (2005) ‘Eastern Promise’. The Irish Times 4 April online at: [accessed 29 June 2005].
14. Jarman, N. (2004) ‘Migrant Workers in Northern Ireland’. online at: [accessed 26 June 2005].
15. McManus, R. 2005. “Identity Crisis? Heritage Construction, Tourism and Place Marketing in Ireland”. In Ireland's Heritages. Critical Perspectives on Memory and Identity, Edited by: McCarthy, M. 235–50. Aldershot: Ashgate.
16. Northern Ireland New Earnings Survey (2003) Employment – NI Labour Force Survey 2004.
17. Northern Ireland Skills Monitoring Survey (2002) Department of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment, DHFETE.
18. Northern Ireland Tourist Board (2004) [accessed 26 November 2004].
19. Odgers, P. and Baum, T. 2001. Bechmarking of Best Practice in Hotel Front Office, Dublin: CERT.
20. Paton, N. 2004. Sourcing Labour from Eastern Europe. Personnel Today, 18 March 2005, online at: [accessed 18 March 2005]
21. Protheroe, J. (2005) ‘EU Accession Brings Immigration Issue to the Fore for UK Hospitality and Leisure Industry’. HR Landwell UK, online at: [accessed 18 March 2005]
22. Roberts, Z. 2002. Work Permit System Reformed. People Management, 10 January: 11
23. Shaw, J. and Barrett-Power, E. 1998. The Effects of Diversity on Small Work Group Processes and Performance. Human Relations, 51(10): 1307–25. [Web of Science ®], [CSA]
24. Segal-Horn, S. 2000. “The Search for Core Competencies in a Service Multinational, A Case Study of the French Hotel Novotel”. In Globalisation of Services, Edited by: Aharoni, Y. and Nachum, L. 320–33. New York: Routledge.
25. Smyth, M. 2005. Northern Ireland Economic Outlook. Economic Outlook and Business Review, 20(2): 14–18.
26. Vilhanski, O. and Puffer, S. 1993. Management Education and Employee Moscow McDonalds. European Management Journal, 11(1): 102–7.
27. Williams, A. (2005) ‘Tourism, Migration and Human Capital: Knowledge and Skills at the Intersection of Flows’, Paper to the 9th Bi-annual Meeting of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, Beijing.


  • International workers
  • multiculturalism
  • cultural diversity
  • hospitality
  • migration
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Northern Ireland.


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural Diversity in Hospitality Work: the Northern Ireland Experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this