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An investigation of entrepreneurial motivation and business growth : boutique hotels in Northern Thailand.

Chernbumroong, Sainatee (2015) An investigation of entrepreneurial motivation and business growth : boutique hotels in Northern Thailand. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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In the past few years, Thailand has faced many negative situations such as natural disasters and political disturbances, which have had serious impacts on all parts of the nation including its economic progress. In Northern Thailand, the role of the hospitality and tourism sector is claimed to be particularly significant as an industry which has protected the Northern region from severe economic disaster. Recently, however, the number of boutique hotels in Northern Thailand has shown very rapid growth but the motivations behind creating and operating these businesses has never been fully investigated. Understanding the entrepreneurial motivation behind these businesses can be of benefit not only to the region, but also to the nation and to the study of entrepreneurship as a whole. Previous research has contributed to our knowledge of entrepreneurial motivation but it has shown many differences and identified many varied types of entrepreneurial motivation and there has been no clear agreement on which entrepreneurial motivation applies in any specific context. The majority of the research has been quantitative, which has provided only a partial explanation of the issue. Entrepreneurs in different contexts and different industrial settings would appear to be motivated by different things e.g. entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry have been seen to be motivated by lifestyle concerns. Importantly in previous research these lifestyle entrepreneurs have been believed to reject business growth. Research in the hospitality and tourism field has also been dominated by a Western context and the majority of the research has employed surveys of various types. Therefore, the research reported in this thesis has been established with three clear objectives. The first is to identify and gain an insight into the motivation of entrepreneurs operating boutique hotels in Northern Thailand. Although entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism field have previously been seen to reject business growth, this research has moved away from this presumption. Hence, the second objective is to investigate how entrepreneurs in this specific context view business growth and to identify and gain an insight into the nature of business growth in boutique hotels in Northern Thailand. While the majority of the previous research has generated explanations based only on the views of customers and managers, the third objective is to compile and synthesise detailed information about boutique hotel from the views of the entrepreneurs themselves. To provide a detailed insight into entrepreneurial motivation, business growth and boutique hotels, this research was conducted using a qualitative method. The researcher carried out in-depth interviews in a total of thirty two hotels, talking to twenty-nine owners/entrepreneurs and five managers. The interviews were transcribed in full by the researcher and thematic analysis was employed for the data analysis. The findings can be separated into three parts. First, the research on entrepreneurial motivations revealed four significant themes. These were the influence of the family, the encouragement of friends, the attractiveness of the destination and the type of business. Importantly, the findings indicated that the entrepreneurs were driven largely by non-profit motivations. Second, the research on business growth revealed that, rather than avoiding business growth, the majority of these entrepreneurs had already grown their businesses or had plans to grow their business in the near future. The entrepreneurs focused on growth strategies which were concerned with increasing the number of rooms, establishing new hotels or other new businesses, adding facilities and activities to their existing operations, changing the style of the hotel and more generally improving the service they provided. The reasons behind the growth can be divided into five areas of which four were non-profit based. Business growth was generated largely to satisfy the entrepreneurs’ personal desires. These entrepreneurs enjoyed the hotel context. They were still influenced by their family but business growth was seen to bring them personal satisfaction and happiness, rather than economic reward. Third, the research highlighted the owners’ perspective of the definition and characteristics of a boutique hotel. For them boutique hotels have individualized design characteristics because each owner has inserted his/her own ideas into the design and decoration of their hotel. Boutique hotels are likely to have historical connections and are closely linked to the traditions and culture of Thailand. Indeed they are seen to play an important role in maintaining the traditional culture of the region. Boutique hotels benefit from a relatively small number of rooms, although the number of rooms should not be seen as a key determinant used to define them. Finally the service in boutique hotel is largely delivered by employees but there is a strong concern expressed by the owners and their managers about maintaining positive relationships with their employees. The findings of this research have revealed the key importance of social conditions in the understanding of entrepreneurship. They have shown that it cannot be explained simply through the rational and principally economically motivated behaviour of entrepreneurs. It is crucial that the context in which the entrepreneurship exists is considered to be of significant importance in investigating the issues. Consideration of the context and significantly the social context provides a clearer explanation of entrepreneurial motivation. Furthermore, the research has discovered that, in this context, hospitality and tourism entrepreneurs who are predominantly motivated by lifestyle issues, do not per se reject business growth. Given the scarcity of studies on entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism context, this research provides evidence from a broader perspective. Perhaps the key message is that knowledge in this field can be best advanced if researchers attempt to gain an insight into the broader social context within which the entrepreneur is situated (Thomas et al., 2011).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Date : 31 July 2015
Funders : Chiangmai University
Contributors :
Thesis supervisorLockwood,
Thesis supervisorSkokic,
Depositing User : Sainatee Chernbumroong
Date Deposited : 11 Aug 2015 11:13
Last Modified : 11 Aug 2015 11:13

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