Managing Cultural Diversity in Peripheral Tourism Destinations: Northern Ireland Experiences

Frances Devine, Tom Baum, Adrian Devine, Niamh Hearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper explores the opportunities and challenges faced by hospitality employers in accommodating a culturally diverse workforce in Northern Ireland. Design/methodology/approach - This exploratory paper draws on information received from hospitality employers in Northern Ireland through a serious of in-depth interviews. In particular, the research centres on the question ‘what opportunities and challenges does a culturally diverse workforce create for hoteliers in Northern Ireland? Findings - This research highlights the potential of International workers as an invaluable new source of labour for the hospitality industry, provided that they are properly looked after and managed. Research limitations/implications – Future research could analyse the role of multicultural management in assuring business benefits associated with cultural diversity. Practical Implications – The research suggests the importance of a positive proactive management system and solutions for training that could be incorporated into the workplace that celebrates its employee’s cultures, that values and explores differences and that actively seeks to learn from other cultures, demonstrates tolerance, respects differences, identifies similarities and strives for inclusiveness. Training solutions are provided. Originality/value – This exploratory study is of value to hospitality practitioners, providing recommendations on how to remove barriers to the successful integration of international staff into the workplace and society whilst benefiting all staff, their organisations and the Irish tourism product.Keywords: Cultural diversity, Hospitality management, Opportunities and Challenges, International workers, Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2007

Bibliographical note

Reference text: Baum, T. (2006), Managing People in International Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, Thomson,
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, Vol. 2
Nos 3/4, pp. 93-109.
Christensen-Hughes, J. (1992), “Cultural diversity; the lesson of Toronto’s hotels”, Cornell Hotel
and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 78-87.
Department of Higher and Further Education, Training & Employment (DHFETE) (2002),
Northern Ireland Skills Monitoring Survey, DHFETE, Ulster.
Devine, F., Baum, T., Hearns, N. and Devine, A. (2006), “Cultural diversity in hospitality work:
the Northern Ireland experience”, International Journal of Human Resource Management,
(accepted for publication).
D’Netto, B. and Sohal, A. (1999), “Human resource practices and workforce diversity: an empirical
assessment”, International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 20 No. 8, pp. 530-47.
Fa´ilte Ireland (2005), Cultural Diversity Strategy and Implementation Plan, Fa´ilte Ireland, Dublin.
Gro¨schl, S. and Doherty, L. (1999), “Managing diversity in practice”, International Journal of
Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 193-8.
Gudykunst, W.B. and Kim, Y.Y. (1992), Communicating with Strangers: An Approach to
Intercultural Communication, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.
Holland, K. (2005), “Report calls for acceptance of immigration”, The Irish Times, 12 August, p. 7.
Holmquist, K. (2005), “Eastern promise”, The Irish Times, 4 April, available at:
(accessed 29 June 2005).
Jarman, N. (2004), “Migrant workers in Northern Ireland”, available at:
pdf/LMB2004_5.pdf (accessed 26 June 2005).
Kandola, R. and Fullerton, J. (1998), Diversity in Action, 2nd ed., CIPD, London.
Lee, C. and Chon, K.S. (2000), “An investigation of multicultural training practices in the
restaurant industry: the training cycle approach”, International Journal of Contemporary
Hospitality Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 126-34.
Maxwell, G., McDougall, M. and Blair, S. (2000), “Managing diversity in the hotel sector: the
emergence of a service quality opportunity”, Managing Service Quality, Vol. 10 No. 6,
pp. 367-73.
Northern Ireland Tourist Board (2004), available at: (accessed 26 November
O’Connell, S. (2005), “How to make foreign staff feel at home”, The Sunday Times, 10 March, p. 9.
cultural diversity
Downloaded by University of Ulster At 07:05 04 March 2016 (PT)
Paton, N. (2004), “Sourcing labour from Eastern Europe”, Personnel Today, 18 March, available
at: (accessed 18 March 2005).
Protheroe, J. (2005), “EU accession brings immigration issue to the fore for UK hospitality and
leisure industry”, available at: (accessed 18 March 2005).
Roosevelt Thomas, R. (1990), “Affirmative action or affirming diversity”, Harvard Business
Review, Vol. 90 No. 2, p. 110.
Saavedra, J. (2005), “Culture club”, Hotel and Catering Review, September, pp. 12-14.
Segal-Horn, S. (2000), “The search for core competencies in a service multinational, a case study
of the French hotel Novotel”, in Aharoni, Y. and Nachum, L. (Eds), Globalisation of
Services, Routledge, New York, NY, pp. 320-33.
Smyth, M. (2005), “Northern Ireland economic outlook”, Economic Outlook and Business Review,
Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 14-18.
Torrington, D. and Hall, L. (2002), Human Resource Management Practice, 9th ed., Pearson
Education, Harlow.
Williams, A. (2005), “Tourism, migration and human capital: knowledge and skills at the
intersection of flows”, paper presented to the 9th Bi-annual Meeting of the International
Academy for the Study of Tourism, Beijing.
Wood, R. (2004), “Diversity management”, in Brotherton, B. (Ed.), The International Hospitality
Industry, Ch. 4, Butterworth-Heinemann, London, pp. 93-109.


  • Cultural diversity
  • Hospitality management
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • International workers
  • Northern Ireland.


Dive into the research topics of 'Managing Cultural Diversity in Peripheral Tourism Destinations: Northern Ireland Experiences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this