Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/254
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Work process knowledge in Scottish visitor attractions
Authors: Marr, Shuna A
Supervisor(s): Boreham, Nicholas Charles
Canning, Roy
Keywords: Work Process Knowledge
Visitor Attractions
Scottish
Vocational Education
Industry
Tourism
Tourist
Work
Knowledge
Scotland
Customer
Service
Multi-functional
Team working
Communication
Flexibility
Case Study
Social Constructivism
Job Rotation
Systems
Information
Seasonality
Attitude
Culture
Key informant interviews
Shadowing
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Work process knowledge (WPK) is a concept for systems-level knowledge of the workplace and has been shown to be most important in organisations requiring multi-functional working. Most of the previous body of knowledge on WPK has focussed mainly on manufacturing industries; there has been less investigation of WPK in the service sector and none in the visitor attraction (VA) industry, an important employer in Scotland. The VA industry is extremely dynamic and many businesses are rapidly moving towards multi-functional team working, driven by an urgent need to develop quality, customer-focussed strategies to survive in an over-supplied and very competitive market. This study identifies the nature of WPK in Scottish VAs, what relationship WPK has to customer service, how WPK in this service sector differs from selected published studies in manufacturing and other service sector contexts and what factors affect the development of WPK in VAs. Following recruitment of a number of VAs using an online questionnaire and subsequent site visits, six sites were selected for case study, on the basis that they demonstrated most evidence of multi-functional working and staff with developed WPK. The research design was comparative case studies of the work processes and knowledge within these six VAs, based on a social constructivist framework, using the methods of key informant interviews and shadowing. Although these six sites represent a cross-spread of attractions in terms of types, location and size, they nonetheless show strong similarities in their basic business structure. The data show that WPK is an essential element of workers’ roles and a vital requirement in providing good customer service. Although VA managers do not use the term ‘work process knowledge’, they nonetheless recognise the importance of having staff with a wider view of their business and are actively encouraging its rapid development. Multi-functionality and job rotation are main ways of developing WPK but sites also use key workers with job roles that help develop high levels of WPK, who are then used as a staff resource. The main factor contributing to the development of WPK is communication, especially of systems-level information. Cultural information-sharing is an essential pre-condition for the development of WPK in this context. Other determining factors are flexibility, employee biographies, seasonality issues, how weddings and functions are handled on-site and the size and complexity of the site. WPK is the foundation on which good customer service is based and elements of it deliver customer service. It is the closely integrated nature of the employee-customer relationship that has such a profound effect on WPK development in this service sector industry and is essentially what differentiates it from previously published studies. The identification of the customer as a hitherto unrecognised key driver of WPK is the most important contribution to knowledge made by this work.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/254
Affiliation: School of Education

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