International hotel management internships: an interpretive phenomenological analysis of student experience

Gannon, Gregory Thomas (2018). International hotel management internships: an interpretive phenomenological analysis of student experience. University of Birmingham. D.B.A.

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This research applied a phenomenological approach to investigate the experience of final year undergraduate students who had undertaken 48 week paid management internships within the luxury hotel sector outside of the United Kingdom. There is an emerging research base in respect to students' responses to work integrated learning and co-operative work experience and this study has added to the limited qualitative evidence that exists on students' experience of extended international internships within the hotel sector. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 25 final year undergraduate students in a single British university. The interviews elicited information about how students made sense of their overseas work experience at a point when they were preparing to leave university and enter fulltime employment. Four superordinate themes emerged after the cross-analysis of individual participant's experience. Findings support previous studies into co-operative management education in identifying personal growth and confidence as important phenomena experienced by participants. Furthermore, participants indicated a sense of heightened human capital in the form of cosmopolitan human capital and expressed strong self-belief in their own employability as a consequence of their experience. This increased sense of employability remained true despite intention to work overseas again or to remain within the hotel sector. Original to this research are the phenomena of adversity and resilience coupled with the emergence of sub-themes clustering around positive psychological development that emerged through analysis of participants' internship experience. This study puts forward a theoretical model of international internships and positive psychological capital and contributes to practice in internship and employability mentoring and policy decision making regarding the internationalisation and employability agendas in higher education.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > D.B.A.)
Award Type: Doctorates > D.B.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management


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