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Research in Brief Service Quality and Human Resource Practices: a Theme Park Case Study

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Research in Brief Service quality and human resource practices: a theme park case study

Jeffrey Hickman Guest Service Manager, The Disney Company, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA Karl J. Mayer Assistant Professor, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


Human resource utilization, Theme parks, Employee communications, Service quality

In services management, the linkage between employee performance and the delivery of high quality services has been well documented in the services marketing and hospitality literature (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000; Mohr and Bitner, 1995; Bettencourt and Gwinner, 1996). This article reviews the human resource practices that have been adopted at a major theme park in order to maximize the delivery of superior guest services. Using a case study approach, the article describes how employee strategies at the Florida Theme Park (a disguised version of the park's actual name) lead to the attainment of exceptional service quality. The Florida Theme Park (FTP), which is located in central Florida, is a large, multi-purpose facility that features water parks, resort hotels, an entertainment district, and a sports complex. The FTP employs tens of thousands of people in a variety of positions. FTP's human resource department must develop recruiting strategies and reward and recognition programs that maintain high morale and promote teamwork, particularly for its customer-contact employees. The human resources strategy wheel (HRSW) (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000) provides a framework for how this is accomplished. The HRSW consists of four major strategies: 1 hire the right people; 2 develop people to deliver service quality; 3 provide needed support systems; and 4 retain the best people. The remainder of this article discusses how FTP employs each of the four…...

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