Perceptions of customer service orientation, training, and employee engagement in Jamaica’s hospitality sector

Karen R. Johnson, Sunyoung Park, Kenneth R. Bartlett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between service orientation, customer service training and employee engagement of firms in the hospitality sector of the tourism industry. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 231 responses from 13 large all-inclusive hotels in Jamaica are analyzed by using structural equation modeling. Findings: Overall, service orientation positively affected customer service training and employee engagement. In addition, customer service training positively affected employee engagement. Furthermore, the results indicate that customer service training mediates the relationship between service orientation and employee engagement. Research limitations/implications: This study builds on the conceptual literature of engagement and adds to the limited empirical studies to date to highlight the importance of service-oriented culture and training activities on employee engagement. Practical implications: The findings of the study generate an increased understanding of the importance of an engaged workforce and of specific customer service training practices that can foster engagement. This study also highlights that managers should be supportive of training and development activities within a broader context that considers specific desired workplace performance from employees. Originality/value: The knowledge gap related to many frequently used organizational practices reported as having an impact on engagement is addressed. Addressing this problem extends existing literature and provides an evidence base for human resource managers and professionals in service organizations, specifically in hospitality firms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-209
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Training and Development
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 7 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Customer service training
  • Employee engagement
  • Hospitality industry
  • Service leadership
  • Service orientation
  • Service system practices


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