Knowledge Sharing and Service Innovation Performance in Egyptian Hotels: The Moderating Role of Team Culture

 

Lamiaa Moustafa Mohamed

The High Institute for Tourism, Hotel Management and Restoration, Abo Keir, Alexandria, Egypt     

        

Abstract

The sharing of knowledge and team culture have been found to importantly affect the service innovation performance of employees and became an imperative approach to attract customers and increasing their satisfaction. The speedy increment in the scope of service providers within various facets of Egyptian tourism and hospitality sector has not only limited the process of innovation performance but also the commitment of the managements’ general practices to manage service innovation. Focusing on the hotel industry in Egypt, the objective of this study is to examine the influence of team culture and knowledge sharing behaviour on service innovation performance.

The current study framework included 400 front-line employees working in 5-star hotels in Egypt. The findings indicated that the relationships among knowledge sharing, team culture and service innovation performance are significant and strong. The results support team culture’s role in moderating the relationship between knowledge sharing and service innovation performance. Therefore, the most important implication depends on building healthy human relations in any organization as a corner stone for any advancement.

Keywords:  Service innovation performance; team culture; knowledge sharing; Five -star hotels; front-line employees; Egypt.

 

1.Introduction

The hospitality industry which includes the restaurant, accommodation, entertainment and transportation businesses (Brotherton, 1999; Kim & Lee ,2013; Monica-Hu, Horng & Christine-Sun, 2009) faces increasing competition. Therefore, hospitality employees need to be able to keep and attract new customers by satisfying their increasingly sophisticated demands. Customers turned out to be like never searching for new and extraordinary service (Ali & Omar, 2014). In this way, to address this new difficulty, more emphasis has been directed to "knowledge sharing" in the hospitality business, and even on the organization soft elements such as the idea of ''teamwork.''. Along these lines, we are currently observing increasingly "authoritative groups" inside the business. Thus, we are now seeing more and more “organizational teams” within the industry (Monica Hu et al., 2009; Yu, Yu-Fang & Yu-Cheh, 2013, Tajeddini, Altinay & Ratten, 2017).

However, despite the increasing research on product and service innovation, most of the focus has been on manufacturing industries (Matthing, Sanden, & Edvardsson, 2004; Monica-Hu et al., 2009; Yam, Lo, Tang & Lau, 2010; Lau, Yam & Tang, 2010; Aas, Breunig, Hydle & Pedersen, 2015). In contrast, innovation in the hospitality industry such as hotels is rarely studied (Farsani et al., 2016; Randhawa et al., 2015). Only few studies have addressed the implications of service innovation performance in the hospitality sector (Aune, 2002; Enz & Siguaw, 2003; Matear, Gray, & Garrett, 2004; Orfila-Sintes, Crespı´-Cladera, & Martı´nez-Ros, 2005; Ottenbacher, 2007; Ottenbacher, Gnoth, & Jones, 2006). Furthermore, To date, there has also been little experimental investigation of the perspective of knowledge sharing and team-culture (Hussain, Konar, & Ali , 2016 ;Kim & Lee, 2006; Wang & Yang, 2007; Karlsen & Gottschalk, 2004; Chen & Cheng, 2012; Monica Hu et al., 2009).

Although these studies have addressed different issues in different contexts, no relevant studies have been found in the Egyptian context addressing service innovation performance measurement in hotels through knowledge sharing and team-culture.

Consequently, this study will add to the existing literature and managerial practices in several ways. First, the main contribution of the present research is investigating the applicability of the Knowledge Sharing Behaviour (KSB) and teamwork within the Egyptian hotels. Second, this research introduces a positive expectancy of the knowledge sharing and teamwork on the service innovation performance of employees. The findings of the study will guide to the managers who were constantly devoting their managerial and financial resources in promoting innovation among their employees. The next sections present theoretical support to build up the hypotheses followed by research method, data analysis and results.

The current study seeks to contribute to the literature of service innovation performance in hospitality business from four aspects of purposes:

 (1)  To assess the application of the knowledge sharing in Egyptian five-star hotels;

 (2)  To assess the application of team culture in Egyptian five-star hotels;

 (3)  To test the effect of team culture on service innovation performance;  

 (4) To discover the effect of knowledge sharing on service innovation performance and

 (5) To examine the moderating role of team culture between knowledge sharing and service innovation performance.

 

2.  Theoretical Foundation and Hypotheses Formulation

2.1         Innovation of Hotel Business

The products of hotel enterprises can be classified into tangible goods which includes guest rooms and diverse hardware equipment, dining facilities, and interior design and decoration and intangible goods that contains services, which are further divided into material and personnel. Material services cover the contents offered by interior hardware equipment, such as accommodation services of beds and air-conditioning systems. Personnel services require the practice of service personnel, including accommodation registration, reservation, check-ins &outs, and room services (Wu, 2010). Innovativeness in the service industry embraces a wide spectrum of multiple activities that include supportive leadership, improved services and safety, new technologies, new strategy development, communication technologies interaction and a new friendly environment.

Moreover, the factors in the innovation of hotel enterprises contained (1) the star-grading system, (2) the management of hotel shareholders, including consultant firms in charge of hotel management, employment of professional managers, or renting out the hotel, (3) the organization of chained hotels, as various groups present different attributes and vertical integration levels (Orfila-Sintesa, Crespi- Cladera, & Martinez-Ros, 2005).

Since hotel  front-line staff directly deal with customers, hotels often precede innovation according to the guest requirement gathered by the staff; and new services can be delivered by considering the consumers’ perception and the collaboration of front-line staff in the design and tests (Jones, 1996).The success factors of the hotel enterprise’s   innovation have been summarizes by Ottenbacher (2007) as Service Advantage and Quality Characteristics in Service-oriented, Market Selection and Market Response in Market-oriented, Staff Commitment in Procedure oriented, and Strategic Human Resource Management, Staff Training, Empowerment, Behaviour-based Assessment, and Marketing Synergy in Organization-oriented .

 

2.2. Service Innovation Performance(SIP)

Innovation behaviour refers to individual behaviours that introduce new and beneficial ideas, problem solving in the workplace, tasks or organizations (Orfila-Sintes and Mattsson, 2009). Innovation in a hospitality organization is a multifaceted process that includes knowledge and information searching, idea generation, and the selection and application of new ideas to improve organizational performance (Ottenbacher&Gnoth,2005). Therefore, a firm whose employees have innovation behaviour would help their organization to attain greater economic benefits comparative to other competitors and also meeting customer needs and satisfaction (Scott and Bruce, 1994), which means that high quality human resources such as human capital would be an organization’s unseen asset.

Unquestionably, Innovation can have a positive influence on hotels’ sales and value (Nicolau and Santa-María, 2013) and competitive advantage (Jacob, Florido & Aguiló, 2010). In addition, hotel service innovation can have wide implications for the economy as the global hospitality industry generated more than 266 million jobs worldwide (Roth & Fishbin, 2015). Service innovation is a fundamentally or incrementally changed service concept and service delivery system to increase value creation for both internal and external customer; and requires the application of specialized competencies (i.e. knowledge and skills) and management.

Service innovation performance is gradually measured with a set of criteria to improve the competitive advantage of any organization.  Berry, Shankar, Parish, Cadwallader & Dotzel (2006) identified two distinctive service innovation approaches: (1) innovation in service delivery process (2) innovation of new service offerings that satisfy the customers’ needs. These approaches depend on employees’ knowledge sharing behaviour and team culture for achieving service innovation (Monica-Hu et al., 2009).

Based on the above, the participation of customers and employees could help in innovation performance which is advantageous to an organization’s service performance. Thus, empirical studies need to offer practical implications on effective ways to innovate service performance in hospitality sector.

 

2.3. Knowledge Sharing Behaviour(KSB)

Knowledge sharing refers to “how an organization’s employees share their work-related experience, expertise, know-how, and related information with other colleagues” (Lin, 2007). Another definition that it is a kind of personal aptitude that can improve the performance (Kim and Lee, 2006). Therefore, it could be a competitive advantage that enhances an organization’s ability to meet customers’ diverse and rapidly changing demands (Kim and Lee, 2006). However, employees often refuse to share knowledge because they worry that doing so may reduce their opportunities for promotion or because doing so requires uncompensated time and energy (Bock, Zmud, Kim& Lee, 2005). Moreover, there are other different problems because knowledge is power, employees may hoard knowledge: for example, restaurant chefs may face strong competition and start keeping ‘secret recipes’’ to themselves. Thus, stimulating employees to share their knowledge has become crucial, and organizations need to create a positive team culture that supports good relationships and active, healthy collaboration.

There are many ways in which knowledge sharing may take place through employee–customer and employee–employee interactions in hotels. For example, employees’ direct interactions with customers by telephone and e-mail limit knowledge transmission to explicit items of information (Monica-Hu, 2009).

Apparently, Hotels can improve the quality of their service, for example, by enhancing employees’ knowledge of customers preferences and improving their service accordingly.

Furthermore, previous studies showed a need for knowledge sharing to create innovation possibilities in the hospitality industry (Al-Refaie, 2015; Goh, 2002; Chen & Cheng, 2012; Grissemann, Plank & Brunner-Sperdin, 2013 ; Hussain et al., 2016; Kim & Lee, 2006; Liu,2017; Monica-Hu,2009).

 

2.4. Team Culture

Team culture can be defined as “shared values, beliefs and practices of people in the organisation” (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001: 77). In addition, team culture may be also defined in terms of an “emergent and simplified set of rules, standards, prospects and roles that team members share” (Earley & Mosakowski, 2000; Monica-Hu et al., 2009:42), while organisation culture refers to shared assumptions, values and norms ( Zheng, Yang & McLean, 2010). Team culture thus provides a basis for smoothing team interaction and performance (Earley & Mosakowski).

An innovative team has a strong team culture because shared member expectations ease the innovative performance both of individuals and of the team. Successful implementation of new services depends on a person’s or team’s having a smart thought and building -up that idea beyond its initial state (Chen& Cheng ,2012, Liu ,2017; López-Fernández, Serrano-Bedia & Gómez-López , 2011) .

 

2.5 Team Culture and Service Innovation Performance

Trough an association with knowledge sharing-culture, individuals would share thoughts and bits of knowledge since they consider it as normal, as opposed to something they are obliged to do. The literature suggesting that service innovation can be upgraded through sharing of knowledge among colleagues (Lopez Fernandez et al., 2011) . Moreover, Stacey (2001) affirmed that when workers offer such knowledge, there is awesome capability of growing new thoughts and service innovation that could be of an incentive to the business. Former studies (Chen & Cheng, 2012; Earley & Mosakowski, 2000; Kim & Lee, 2013; López-Fernández et al., 2011) reported the connection between KSB, teamwork and the improvement of service performance. Within the literature, it has become clear that human networks are one crucial vehicle for sharing knowledge. Nevertheless, it should also be noted that organisations cannot expect employees to share their ideas and insights simply because it is the right thing to do, but should appeal to something deeper like linking knowledge sharing to the core values of the organisation. This is because teams are increasingly responsible for organisation’s service innovations (Monica-Hu et al., 2009).

Team culture creates a strategic commitment of the team members to improve teamwork with a better communication and motivate others which results in better service innovation performance (Chen, Kirkman, Kanfer, Allen & Rosen, 2007; Gaziulusoy, 2015; Goh, 2002; Monica-Hu et al., 2009). This study linked the team culture to the service innovation performance and proposed that team culture is positively related to service innovation performance of hotel employees. Therefore, the following hypothesis is propositioned.

Hypothesis 1: Team work is positively related to service innovation performance of the hotel employees.

 

2.6. Knowledge Sharing Behaviour and Service Innovation Performance

knowledge management can be summarized as the process of (1) knowledge gaining (collecting and identifying useful information), (2) organizing knowledge (enabling employees to regain organizational knowledge), (3) knowledge leverage (i.e., exploiting and usefully applying knowledge), (4) knowledge sharing (i.e., circulating knowledge through the whole organization), and (5) organizational memory (i.e., storing the knowledge in the repository) (Rowley, 2000). Specifically, knowledge sharing is a prerequisite for innovation (Kim & Lee, 2010), organizational learning (Senge, 2006) and the development of capabilities and best practices (Kim and Lee, 2010). Basically, Knowledge sharing occurs when an individual is willing both to learn (i.e., knowledge collecting) and assist (i.e., knowledge donating) others in developing new capabilities (Bock and Kim, 2002). Knowledge sharing is thus “the process where individuals mutually exchange their knowledge and jointly create new knowledge” (Van den Hooff & De Ridder, 2004). It could be concluded that knowledge sharing is a competitive advantage as through it, the organization could improve its creativity, innovation and productivity to ultimately boost the profits (Wang and Noe, 2010). The literature revealed that sharing of knowledge through teams have showed that well-developed “team processes” do result in better coordinated and higher team performance (Bank & Millward, 2000; Monica Hu, Horng  & Sun ,2009).Therefore, this study assumes the positive relationship between knowledge sharing and service innovation performance of hotel employees. Accordingly, the researcher proposes Hypothesis 2.

 

Hypothesis 2. knowledge sharing positively relates to service innovation performance of hotel employees.

Slight previous studies dealt with the moderating influence of team culture (Chen et al., 2007, Monica-Hu et al. 2009). For new product development teams, a moderate occurrence of communication was best for creativity. This allows team members to share their ideas, while still maintaining a degree of the ‘private space’ that is also necessary to creativity results. (Leenders, van Engelen & Kratzer ,2003)

Therefore, this study supposed that the influence of the individual KSB and SIP of team units is moderated by the team culture through the strong effect on KSB. The author expects that the relationship between KSB and SIP is moderated by team culture in five-star hotels in Egypt.  Thus, the researcher put forward the following hypothesis:

 

Hypothesis 3. Team culture moderates the relationship between the knowledge sharing and service innovation performance of hotel employees

Based on the abovementioned, this study proposes three hypotheses (see Fig. 1):

3.Research Methodology

This study conducted a questionnaire form to collect data from employees of five-star hotels in Egypt, which located in Cairo and Alexandria Cities. Five-star hotels were chosen because those hotels  contained a high number of hotel employees ; considered to be  city center category; provide important insight for studies of hotels’ human resource (HR) management and reflect the phenomena of hospitality industry development ,  offer an extensive services, invest in people by considering the vital role of internal customers in providing customer excellence service; consider the skilled workforce as the greatest asset ;they have the ability to apply modern management approaches and  trends and also they are more interested in service innovation.

The target population for this study was limited to front-line employees working in five-star hotels in Egypt. Front-line employees were chosen due to their performing in daily contact with guests during guest–employee encounters for delivering services, they are most visible to guests and play a key role in providing excellent and innovative service.

Moreover, Cairo and Alexandria were chosen as they host numerous Egyptian tourist attractions, they are the most civilized downtown areas with the largest number of five-star hotels and have the same socio-economic background.

The data was collected from different sources:  employees and their supervisors. Human resource managers in 42 five-star hotels were thus contacted in order to ascertain their willingness for the study participation. The HR managers of 33 hotels agreed to participate and provide lists of their front-employees. The questionnaire was distributed during regular working shifts in each hotel.

Based on the data delivered by the hotel managements, the total number of front-line employees was 5600. A simple random sample was used for the participants as the population is homogeneous, with everyone having the same probability of being selected. A sample of) 560 (individuals with a percentage of (10) is acceptable (Gay & Diehl, 1992).

A total of (400) questionnaires were retrieved from the employees, after excluding the invalid ones, yielding a response rate of (71.4%). Then, the questionnaires given to employees included items for knowledge sharing behaviour, team culture and innovation service performance.

The questionnaire battery-operated included respondents’ profile, knowledge sharing Behaviour (KSB), team culture, and service innovation performance (SIP) items. The questionnaire items were derived from previous studies. KSB items were drawn from the studies of Monica-Hu et al., 2009; Hussain, et al.,2016, Walz & Niehoff, 2000) in which a total of 11 KSB item measures were employed. The 16 items of team culture were taken from the studies of Monica-Hu et al., 2009; Hussain, et al.,2016; Stashevsky & Koslowsky, 2006). The third measurement scale items related to service innovation performance used 11 attributes that was showed by the previous researchers (Monica-Hu et al., 2009; Hussain, et al.,2016).

Statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS/version 20) software.  Arthematic mean, standard deviation, multi variant analysis was done to improve the hypothesis, spearman correlation coefficient test was used the level of significant was 0.05. All items were operationalized by using a 5-point Likert scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree.

 

4. Findings and Discussion

4.1 Demographic Profile of Respondents

Table (1) depicts the demographic information for the (400) front-line employees. It is revealed that (62.5%) of respondents were males, (42.5%) of respondents were between 25 and 34 years old, (27.5%) were 35-44 years old,(45.75%) of respondents were university college graduates, (25.25%) were technical institute graduates, It could be noted that many respondents had a technical college education ,.This finding is supported by the study of López-Fernández et al. (2011) that there is a lack of qualified personnel working in the hospitality sector. A percentage of 70 were non-hospitality and tourism major, (31.25%) had 1-3 years of experience in the field of tourism and hospitality, (27.5%) had 3-5 years.

        Table 1. Demographic information of respondents

N= 400 respondents

Frequency

 

Percent

Gender

Male

250

 

62.5

Female

150

 

37.5

Age

Less than 25 years

60

 

15

25 – 34

170

 

42.5

35 – 44

110

 

27.5

45 – 54

35

 

8.75

55 or older

25

 

6.25

Education

Masters / Doctorate

18

 

4.5

University College

183

 

45.75

Technical institute

101

 

25.25

High school or less

85

 

21.25

Other

13

 

3.25

Major

Hospitality and Tourism major

120

 

30

Non-hospitality and tourism major

280

 

70

Years of experience in the field

Less than 1 year

55

 

13.75

1 – 3 years

125

 

31.25

3 – 5 years

110

 

27.5

5 – 7 years

45

 

11.25

Above 7 years

65

 

16.25

As for the descriptive statistics of this study's constructs, table (2) shows the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for each construct, corrected item-total correlation, mean values and standard deviations

Table (2) Descriptive statistics of the study’s constructs

Constructs

Mean

Std. dev.

Corrected item-total correlation

Cronbach’s alpha

Knowledge Sharing Behaviour(KSB)

4.27

0.311

 

 

KSB1 I am pleased to learn and share knowledge among different teams

4.38

0.313

0.368

KSB2 I believe that members should help each other through teamwork to foster knowledge sharing

4.17

0.298

0.401

KSB3 In a team setting, I would share knowledge with colleagues who had assisted me in the past

4.31

0.359

0.368

KSB4 I want to become a person with professional knowledge in the eyes of my colleagues

4.37

0.336

0.441

KSB5 I believe that knowledge sharing among teams can help establish my image as an expert

4.01

0.342

0.439

KSB6 I respect others’ impression that I am willing to assist people

4.41

0.339

0.387

KSB7 Helping my team address work problems would make me feel happy and satisfied

4.35

0.335

0.311

KSB8 I enjoy exchanging knowledge and I don’t ask for anything in return

4.29

0.330

0.374

KSB9 I am willing to use my spare time to help other team members

3.64

0.280

0.368

KSB10 I am willing to help other team members

4.36

0.511

0.455

KSB11 I would personally help other team members regardless of asking for my help

3.87

0.298

0.397

Reliability Statistics, Cronbach's Alpha = .765, No. of Items = 11, N=400

Scale: 1(strongly disagree); 2(agree); 3(neutral); 4(agree); 5(strongly agree)

 

Team Culture(TC)

4.10

0.315

 

0.858

TC1 My team supports knowledge and technical information sharing

4.31

0.359

0.601

TC2 My direct supervisor supports knowledge and technical information sharing

3.98

0.306

0.600

TC3 My unit supervisor supports knowledge and technical information sharing

3.98

0.284

0.411

TC4 My department supervisor supports knowledge and technical information sharing

4.13

0.295

0.316

TC5 In my organization, there is always someone to address work problems

3.99

0.285

0.627

TC6 This hotel coordinates teamwork through formal rules and procedures

4.1

0.315

0.522

TC7 This hotel coordinates teamwork through pre-designed work plans and processes

3.91

0.326

0.698

TC8 This hotel coordinates teamwork through leaders or their assistants

3.89

0.465

0.602

TC9 This hotel assigns coordinators to coordinate teamwork

4.26

0.421

0.714

TC10 This hotel coordinates work by directly communicating with knowledgeable team members

4.05

0.462

0.611

TC11 This hotel’s members hold regular meetings to coordinate teamwork

3.98

0.401

0.582

TC12 This hotel’s members meet freely to discuss the coordination of teamwork

3.89

0.278

0.671

TC13 During our spare time, team members of this hotel socialize and hold various social activities

3.52

0.280

0.704

TC14 Each member of this team contributes equally to our hotel’s service innovation

3.74

0.267

0.811

TC15 This service team possesses a fine spirit

4.30

0.358

0.506

TC16 Members of this team have a strong sense of participation

3.97

0.284

0.512

Reliability Statistics, Cronbach's Alpha = .858, No. of Items = 16, N=400

Scale: 1(strongly disagree); 2(agree); 3(neutral); 4(agree); 5(strongly agree)

 

Service Innovation Performance (SIP)

4.04

0.311

 

0.806

SIP1 At work, I seek new service techniques and methods

3.91

0.326

0.640

SIP2 At work, I sometimes come up with innovative and creative notions

3.74

0.288

0.522

SIP3 At work, I sometimes propose my creative ideas and try to convince others

4.10

0.315

0.638

SIP4 At work, I try to secure the funding and resources needed to implement innovations

4.03

0.398

0.465

SIP5 At work, I provide a suitable plan and workable process for developing new ideas

3.38

0.256

0.621

SIP6 Overall, I consider myself a creative member of my team

4.11

0.511

0.522

SIP7 This hotel provides a suitable environment for developing new services

4.23

0.68

0.452

SIP8 All departments and units interact well to develop new businesses

3.77

0.314

0.442

SIP9 When developing and executing new service projects, managers and front-line service personal collaborate closely

3.92

0.411

0.389

SIP10 This hotel will offer incentives or promotions to members involved in the development of new businesses upon the success of their project

4.1

0.315

0.621

SIP11 This hotel will dedicate some resources to developing new services

4.10

0.343

0.529

Reliability Statistics, Cronbach's Alpha = .806, No. of Items = 11, N=400

Scale: 1(strongly disagree); 2(agree); 3(neutral); 4(agree); 5(strongly agree)

 

 

The three constructs (Knowledge sharing behaviour ,team culture and service innovation performance ) were reliable exceeding 0.75 of Cronbach’s alpha (Hair, Black, Babin &  Anderson 2010)  and corrected item-total correlations reflect the construct validity of items where values exceed 0.30 (Netemeyer , Bearden and Sharma 2003). As for mean values respondents tend to agree on all constructs with a value of 4 (agree) or very close, and data normality assumption was not violated with standard deviation values within target limit.

The first aim of this study was to assess the practicing of knowledge sharing in Egyptian five-star hotels, the study revealed that Egyptian front-line employees in such hotels extensively practiced the knowledge sharing with a total mean score of (4.27). The KS variables showed a high Cronbach Alpha of 0.765, showing internal consistency of these items to explain knowledge sharing behaviour. This is not surprising as most of the five-star hotels are chain managed and they accomplish most of functions on a central basis where they act as a unit among hundreds of units around world. Furthermore, the particular size of an organization determines their readiness for KS behaviour as supported by Morsy &El Demerdash (2017).

 Add to this, knowledge need to be shared to innovate and meet the growing needs of customers nowadays (Chen & Cheng, 2012; Liu ,2017; Monica-Hu et al., 2009; Molose and Ezeuduji ,2015 and Zheng et al., 2010).

Regarding the second aim of the study, respondents highly experienced team culture within their hotels with a total mean score of (4.10). The highest mean score related to “My team supports knowledge and technical information sharing", with a mean score of (4.31). It is assumed that organization culture has a crucial role in this domain. While the least mean score of “During our spare time, team members of this hotel socialize and hold various social activities ". This result urges the need of Egyptian hotel organizations to consider encouraging a relaxed atmosphere through group social activities such as birthday celebrations, sport days, recognition parties and celebrate work anniversaries.  This human side is very important as individuals experience higher morale when employers appreciate them as people first and employees second. As for employees spend more time with co-workers than they do with family, a supportive community will go a long way to fostering happiness.

 In addition, “Each member of this team contributes equally to our hotel’s service innovation” rated a moderate mean score of (3.74). This finding could be justified as team members needs to feel a sense of ownership in its success or failure. This could be promoted when managers adopt some practices such as:   communicate openly and honestly about the service innovation needed; avoid holding back information about expected difficulties or any other aspect of the task; give them the freedom to experiment with different solutions and give them a chance to display their talents and ideas

Items in the team culture showed a very high Cronbach Alpha of 0.858., showing internal consistency of these items to explain team culture. Knowledge sharing will not be possible if there is no quality relationship among team members (Hussain et al., 2012; Renzl, 2008).

With regard to service innovation performance, hotel employees perceived a total mean score of (M=4.04) The attribute of “This hotel provides a suitable environment for developing new services", perceived a high mean score of (4.23). This could reflect the efforts paid by different hotels to create a competitive advantage and enlarging markets especially after the negative shock on the Egyptian hotel industry since 2011. Meanwhile, the item statement of “At work, I provide a suitable plan and workable process for developing new ideas” perceived the least mean score of (3.38).

This raises a demand for fostering a culture that makes hotel management encourage front-line employees to communicate any new service idea and follow it up with their supervisors to implement new ideas (Chen & Cheng,2012; Monica-Hu et al., 2012; Molose and Ezeuduji,2015; Tajeddini et al., 2017). This could be indorsed through broadening people’s experiences to spark ideas. Encourage people to look at how other businesses do things, even those in other sectors, and consider how they can be adapted or improved.

Items in SIP dimension were exposed to reliability statistics and showed a high Cronbach Alpha of 0.806, showing internal consistency of these items to explain SIP.

 

4.2. Hypothesis Testing

Regarding the correlation between the study variables, it depicted from table (3) that team culture has a positive relation on service innovation performance (r= 0.589), which supports hypothesis 1. It was also found that knowledge sharing behaviour is positively correlated (r =0.682) with service innovation performance; thus hypothesis 2 is also maintained.

Table (3): Correlation between knowledge sharing, team culture and service innovation performance.

Independent Variables

Service innovation

Knowledge sharing

r

p

r

p

Knowledge sharing

0.682

0.001*

 

 

Team culture

0.589

0.001*

0.608

0.001*

 

Table 4 contains the results of the hypothesized relationships. Linear regression model was used to measure the relationship between team culture and service innovation performance of employees(H1), to test the relation between knowledge sharing and service innovation performance (H2) and to test the moderating role of team culture between the knowledge sharing and service innovation performance (H3).

Table (4) Linear regression model for the hypotheses of the study

Model

Variables

B

Std. Error

t

Sig.

R2

Hypothesis

1

(Constant)

2.182

.514

5.105

.0001*

0.325

H1 supported

Team culture

.1256

.164

5.06

.0001*

2

(Constant)

4.01

.625

5.113

.0001*

0.307

H2

supported

knowledge sharing

.107

.234

2.528

.021*

3

(Constant)

2.352

.611

3.892

.0001*

0.615

H3 supported

Team culture

knowledge sharing

.608

.612

.152

.142

3.258

2.36

.0001*

.001*

1. Dependent Variable: Service innovation performance

Hypothesis 1: Team work is positively related to service innovation performance of the hotel employees.

This hypothesis is developed to determine whether team culture could have a progressive effect on service innovation performance of employees. To test the hypothesis, linear regression model, beta values, R2 were used to measure the relation and effect of team culture on the service innovation. Table 4 showed that team culture practices in Egyptian hotels has a positive effect on the innovation performance of service. (β=.1256 and p<0.01). Therefore, this first hypothesis is supported, and the third objective of the current study is attained. This result reflects the famous proverb “of “TEAM =Together Everyone Achieve More”. It is important to take advantage of all the skills and expertise of individuals working in the organization, not individually but collectively, to coordinate these skills and capacities to enhance the organization's ability to meet the challenges and customers’ need and ultimately innovative service.

Similar results were obtained by Hussain et al. (2015); Kim &Lee (2013); Monica Hu et al. (2009) in their different studies about the relationship between team culture and service innovation performance.

 

Hypothesis 2.  knowledge sharing positively relates to service innovation performance of hotel employees.

This hypothesis is developed to determine whether sharing the knowledge could have a progressive effect on the service innovation performances. As shown in table 4, knowledge sharing behaviour in Egyptian hotels has a positive impact on innovation performance of service. (β=.107 and p<0.01). Therefore, this hypothesis is supported, and the fourth objective of the current study is attained. This finding emphasizes that sharing of knowledge is a focal point through which the organizations’ advancement and efficiency can be achieved. Similar results were obtained by Chen & Cheng (2012); Ho & Chang (2013) ; Molose & Ezeuduji (2015) who reported that knowledge sharing as one of the key success factor in  the organization service innovation.

 

Hypothesis 3. Team culture moderates the relationship between knowledge sharing and service innovation performance of hotel employees.

As shown in table 4, the moderating role of team culture was significant in the relationship between KS–SIP through its effect on KS (β= .608 and p<0.01). Therefore, hypothesis 3 is supported and the fifth objective is attained.

Not surprisingly, the KS–SIP connection cannot be built unless there is a team culture among work groups in hotels and any other organizations. Contemporary human resource management reached the conclusion that building healthy human relations in any organization is the corner stone for any advancement. Past studies of Kim & Lee (2013); Monica-Hu et al. (2009) reinforced the norm of team culture moderating importance.

The direction and strength of the relationship between variables of study is illustrated in figure 2. It indicated also the results of the hypothesis test.

Fig. 2. Hypotheses testing.

 

5.Conclusion and Implications

This study is the first to investigate the issue of SIP as perceived by front-line employees in Egyptian five-star hotels by testing the relationships between knowledge sharing behaviour, team culture and service innovation performance. These relationships were tested in the context of Egyptian hotel industry sector and it has been found to be positively significant with each other. Findings indicated that Egyptian hotel managers need to foster stronger team members’ relationship through social activities bearing in mind that building healthy human relations in any organization is the corner stone for any advancement. and celebrate work anniversaries.  This human side is very important as individuals experience higher morale when employers appreciate them as people first and employees second. As for employees spend more time with co-workers than they do with family, a supportive community will go a long way to fostering happiness.

The moderate perception of “Each member of this team contributes equally to our hotel’s service innovation” could help managers to adopt some practices such as:  communicate openly and honestly about the service innovation needed; avoid holding back information about expected difficulties or any other aspect of the task; give them the freedom to experiment with different solutions and give them a chance to display their talents and ideas.

 The findings of this study can also help managers to raises a demand for encouraging front-line employees to communicate any new service idea and follow it up through broadening people’s experiences to spark ideas. Encourage people to look at how other businesses do things, even those in other sectors, and consider how they can be adapted or improved.

This study therefore suggests that to enhance SIP in the Egyptian hospitality sector, strong team culture need to be maintained to encourage KS among colleagues and ultimately achieve SIP.

Based on the study findings, when a good relationship exists within a team this helps encourage the willingness of its members to share their experiences, knowledge and new ideas at work, particularly among front-line employees, furthermore, when these employees openly share their knowledge, the entire hotel becomes more powerful.

With the industry depression after 2011 revolution in mind, it is necessary for managers to stimulate communicating, as well as, completing new service ideas and follow it up. This encouragement can be supported by a good relationship existing within a team, resulting in increased readiness of team members to share their practises and new ideas at work with other members, especially their bosses.

It is suggested for hotel management to adopt certain practices to foster team culture such as building team relationship outside offices to discuss the work issues in a more casual setting; ensure clear communication; foster a creative atmosphere; build cohesion and ensure the fairness among the subordinates.

 knowledge sharing can also be promoted through promoting conditions for an open exchange of ideas and information, by creating time and space for exchanging stories and expertise, and by supporting innovative thinking; setting a clearly communicated norms and standards for sharing knowledge to diminish the unease related to the ambiguity about insecurity and to supports good relationships and active, healthy collaboration.

 

6. Limitations and Directions for Future Research

Firstly, this study focused on Alexandria and Cairo cities, for the reason of being the most civilized downtown areas along with the largest number of five-star hotels, further research is recommended for other Egyptian cities to obtain more generalized data.

Secondly, five-star hotel employees only were chosen as a study sample, which might seem to raise the issue of generalizability. Further research is recommended to test this same hypothesized model within other hotel categories.

Thirdly, Future research can also focus on back of house employees for exploring the relationship between the knowledge sharing, team culture and service innovation performance.

Lastly, other approaches could be used to collect data such as behavioural observation and interviews in further follow-up studies.

 

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