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Hospitality Essay

8746 words - 35 pages

Co-op Education


Research Report

AsiaPacific Journal of Cooperative Education

ca edu tor

stu den t

Assessing the Contribution of Internship in Developing Australian Tourism and Hospitality Students’ Management Competencies
Maree Walo
School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157 Lismore, NSW, Australia Received 24 September 2001; accepted 8 October 2001

This study assessed students’ perceptions of their level of management competence, before and after the internship component of their degree programme. A self-assessment instrument utilising the management competencies within the Competing Values Framework (Quinn, Faerman, ...view middle of the document...

Benefits of Internship It is well documented that internship can realise many benefits for all three stakeholders. For employers, internship provides access to a pool of workers who are usually enthusiastic and dedicated to the industry and who bring fresh ideas to the workplace. It also provides them the opportunity to screen potential employees without making long term commitments and to have direct involvement in training the industries’ future managers (Ju, Emenheiser, Clayton & Reynolds, 1998/99; Pauze, Johnson, & Miller,

1989; Petrillose & Montgomery, 1998). For education providers, internship can strengthen links with industry. This can enhance collaborative research opportunities, raise the institution’s profile and establish long term working relationships between industry and the institution to optimise future graduate employment opportunities (Bell & Schmidt, 1996; Walo, 1999). For students, internship provides opportunities to practice what they have learnt in the classroom, gain a greater understanding of the industries’ requirements, test career choices and develop important hands-on workplace skills (Barron, 1999; Barron & Maxwell, 1993; Casado, 1991; Emenheiser, Clayton, & Tas, 1997; Petrillose & Montgomery, 1998). It is further argued that internship contributes to developing students’ management competencies (Knight, 1984; LeBruto & Murray, 1994; Mariampolski, Spears, & Vaden, 1980; Tas, 1988). Students through internship can reportedly develop competence in several generic areas of management, including leadership, human resources, oral and written communication, interpersonal communication, problem solving, teamwork, planning and decision-making (Bell & Schmidt, 1996; LeBruto & Murray, 1994; McMullin, 1998; Tas, 1988). However, there is limited empirical evidence to support these claims. Tas, a pioneer in

Correspondence to: Maree Walo, email:


Walo – Assessing the Contribution of Internship in Developing Australian Tourism and Hospitality Students’ Management Competencies

management competency research within the hospitality industry, identified the need for research to determine whether graduate manager trainees actually demonstrate the competencies required by managers within the industry (1988, p. 43). The importance of empirical research to provide evidence that students develop management competencies during internship was highlighted by Branton et al. (1991) (in McDowell & Comerford, 1996). It is argued that these issues need to be addressed and it is important that the management competencies of students and new graduates be quantified and measured in some way. Assessing Students Management Competencies Cooperative education research is limited by the absence of effective measures of students’ perceptions of their placements (Waryszak, Morda, & Kapsalakis, 1999). It is argued that the same applies to measuring students’ management competencies. While there appears to be significant...

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