Hotel Managers' Perceptions of Homeless Job Applicants

Open Access
Author:
Shockley, Alexander Edwin
Area of Honors:
Hospitality Management
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Breffni Noone, Thesis Supervisor
  • Breffni Noone, Honors Advisor
  • Anna S Mattila, Faculty Reader
Keywords:
  • hotel
  • manager
  • hotel manager
  • homeless
  • homelessness
  • job applicant
  • hire
  • stereotype
  • discrimination
  • bias
  • hiring
  • perceptions
Abstract:
One of the leading causes of homelessness is the lack of employment for individuals. The hotel industry is growing, providing employment opportunity for entry-level workers. This study used a 2 (homelessness vs. non-homelessness) × 2 (male vs. female) between-subjects experimental design to examine the stereotypes and perceptions that exist when a hotel manager considers hiring a job applicant (that identifies as homeless) for a front desk position. Using the Stereotype Content Model, the roles of warmth and competence were tested to evaluate how the stereotypes and perceptions affect the hiring manager’s assessments of the applicant and ultimately their decision to hire or not hire the individual. This study found that gender moderated the effect of homeless status on perceptions of warmth. When the job applicant was male, perceptions of warmth were lower when the individual was homeless (vs. not homeless). There was no significant difference in perceptions of warmth across homeless and non-homeless female applicants. Further, the effect of homeless status on managers’ general perceptions of the applicant, the applicant’s hirability, and the managers’ intent to hire for males (vs. females) was mediated by perceptions of warmth. When a job applicant identified as homeless and male, they were more likely to be perceived as less warm (than non-homeless males), which ultimately yielded lower managers’ general perceptions of the applicant, the applicant’s hirability, and the managers’ intent to hire.